Category Archives: Vintner’s Veer

Happy National Wine and Cheese Day! Four Hertelendy Vineyards wines are juxtaposed behind four Saxelby Cheesemonger's cheeses for the perfect pairing.

Life is Gouda with Saxelby Cheesemongers

To Brie or Not to Brie

The first time dining at Thomas Keller’s famous Napa Valley 3-Star Michelin rated restaurant, The French Laundry, was a culinary experience like no other. I was nervous as this was my first 3-Star Michelin restaurant, and I didn’t know what to expect. I had only heard stories built upon hearsay and reputation, and when I sat down and the service began, I finally felt comfortable enough to loosen my tie a bit and enjoy the ride. The reputation certainly held up: the dishes were delectable, the service impeccable, and the entire journey was decadent. I loved it, but I had unanswered questions—one of them being where they got their fantastic butter from. It was rich and creamy (yet light in texture) with full flavor characteristics I had never encountered before. I inquired and asked many people for this information to no avail. Finally I got the gold nugget of information I had been searching for: Animal Farm’s butter produced by Diane St. Clair from Orwell, Vermont! “Cream from her Jersey cows is cultured with buttermilk from the farm, then churned by hand into a deep yellow, at which point St. Clair kneads it by hand to work the fats…Animal Farm now produces 100 pounds of butter a week, ten months of the year, and other than an allotment diverted to a local co-op, the butter is not served or sold anywhere else. Saxelby Cheesemongers, which sells Animal Farm’s buttermilk by the jug, gets the farm’s only butter surplus…”

I’m no Michelin-rated chef, but I can certainly hold my own in the kitchen. I take pride in my cooking, and although I may not be using advanced liquid nitrogen techniques, I strongly value freshness with my ingredients. I find that having the best, freshest ingredients can be a game-changer from making an average dish to an extraordinary dish. Thus, over the years, I have dubbed myself as an “ingredientologist.” I seek out the best ingredients I can find from Yamaroku’s 4 year old fermented soy sauce, to Sicilian olive oil, to San Marzano tomatoes, to hard-to-find salts, etc. I discovered Saxelby Cheesemongers several years ago, and have been buying their butter for quite some time now. I regard this butter as a key staple in my “ingredientologist” repertoire. People may ask, “is this butter really worth paying four times more than you would at the grocery store for a generic unsalted butter?” In short: absolutely!


The Perfect Pairing
When I learned that National Wine & Cheese Day was going to be today, I thought what better way to celebrate this day than with Saxelby Cheesemongers, NYC’s first all-American cheese shop! I reached out to Anne Saxelby, and to my elated surprise, she agreed to a collaboration. We discussed what Saxelby cheeses might pair off best with specific Hertelendy wines from the 2015 vintage, and after deliberating, we agreed upon the lineup and samples were sent to each other for a Zoom meeting. We had a little too much fun doing this collaboration as our 30-60 minute Zoom meeting easily turned into 1.5 hours. We condensed the best 34 mins HERE:

This was the first time really focusing on Anne’s cheeses (outside of The French Laundry), and I must say, some of them really caught me off guard as to how good they were. I knew they were going to be good, but I didn’t realize that my wines would enhance the cheeses like they did and vice versa. It was an educational experience where I felt we both balanced each other out; we weren’t experts in the other person’s field, but we certainly shared an interest and an appreciation and wanted to learn more.


The first pairing we chose was Saxelby’s Kunik with Hertelendy’s Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay. Kunik was a buttery, crème-fraiche/brie style triple crème goat/cow blend. It packed a punch and stood up well to Hertelendy’s bold 19-month barrel aged Chardonnay with the fresh Jersey cream from the Adirondack Mountains. This was the crowd-pleaser where everyone I shared this with couldn’t stop talking about it. Match made in heaven? Hell yeah!

We then paired our Cabernet Sauvignon with Saxelby’s Calderwood – an exclusive firm raw cow’s milk cheese that is an Alpine-style cheese with nutty, toasty, and tropical fruit flavor notes—it was another perfect pairing (although, I also thoroughly enjoyed pairing the Chardonnay with the Calderwood as well). This cheese intrigued me as it was hay-ripened from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont, and the hay rind unleashed the primitive nature within my DNA similar to what a campfire can do on a cold evening. At first bite, it may seem simple, but by the third or fourth bite, the flavors grow on you with a layer of clean sophistication. 

We then got around to the Signature Mountain Blend pairing with Saxelby’s Wischago, a Manchego-style cheese from Hidden Springs Creamery in Westby, Wisconsin (Wisconsin + Manchego = “Wischago”). This Wischago was a unique sheep’s milk cheese that was firm, nutty, and also had some hints of minerals and fermented fruit. At the time, the Signature Mountain Blend was tasting spicier than normal (like a dark cherry liqueur/spice box bomb), and that brought out more of the nuttier flavors out of the cheese. Unlike a Spanish Manchego, this Wischago had a uniqueness to it all with more minerality than you’d find in Spain.

Last, but not least, we paired off the bold Audēre Red Blend with Saxelby’s Hooligan, a very pungent smelling cheese that is a bit reminiscent of Alsatian Munster – fruity, nutty, petrol-y, odoriferous cheese that is supple, creamy, and redolent of wine and fermented fruit. This cheese is not for the faint of heart, and neither is the bold Audēre wine pairing. If you’re willing to indulge in risk, this is the pairing for you! Audēre ya!

Life is Gouda

I learned that there’s no Robert Parker in the cheese industry, and if there were some sort of gatekeeper, you might find more cheesemakers hunting down specific high butterfat Jersey cow productions to blend with their Ayrshire productions (or something like that) to produce cheese blends that are out of the box. Now wouldn’t that be something? Being a winemaker, that’s where my mind went, and I planted that seed in our Zoom meeting (as if running a business isn’t enough on her plate)…one can only hope. Anne’s already a pioneer as seen with her exclusive Calderwood cheese and bringing back ancient cheesemaking practices (that I can assure you are working very well), so we shall see.

Life is all about great food, wine, and company, and with our collaboration, I got all of the above. It was a real honor and pleasure working with Anne Saxelby, and even though our industries are quite different from one another, our final products coalesced harmoniously together. From coast to coast, our collaboration brought the best wine and cheese pairings imaginable, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds. It doesn’t get any cheddar than this, so Carpe Diem and cheese the day!

Happy National Wine and Cheese Day! Four Hertelendy Vineyards wines are juxtaposed behind four Saxelby Cheesemonger's cheeses for the perfect pairing.Happy National Wine & Cheese Day!


Robert Parker’s 40th Year Anniversary Matter of Taste Events=💯+ points

As I’m still coming back down to Earth two weeks after the legendary NYC Robert Parker Matter of Taste event, I find myself experiencing exhilaration and a sense of validation for pursuing my life dream of winemaking. Make no mistake, people still struggle pronouncing my last name, and in the grand scheme of things I’m still the new kid on the block. However, after participating in the recent Matter of Taste events, I have a renewed excitement for winemaking––and I’d like to share with you how that whole story unfolded.

A month ago, I was invited to participate in Robert Parker’s Matter of Taste event in London, then two weeks later was invited to participate in the same event in NYC (which required a 95 or above rating by The Wine Advocate to attend). I’m not just honored to have participated, but also feel rejuvenated with self-assurance as though returning from a meditation retreat with Gandhi.

I finally got to meet, not just a wine god, but THE wine god: Robert Parker himself. He is someone I’ve admired and idolized over the years, and had fantasized about what I would say if I ever had the chance to meet him. However, once in his presence, I was only able to say about 20% of what I had intended. I was filled with nerves and excitement, and when our conversation was over, it left me wanting more like a well-made wine. I expressed my gratitude for his ratings and reviews over the years (which took up 75% of the time I had with him). My time with him was very limited, and I could tell he wanted to talk to others behind me that he knew well from years’ worth of history. I thought it would be special if he were to sign the last review he ever gave me, so I brought the Wine Advocate Issue #228 with me. Like a nervous teenage boy about to ask a girl on a date, I asked him with a smirk, “Mr. Robert…would you like to sign my yearbook?” He took my pen, and said, “Yes, of course.”

It was such an honor and privilege to meet him and be a part of such an exquisite event. There I was pouring next to Harlan Estates, and also in the company of wine legends like Château Mouton Rothschild, Trotenoy, Sassicaia, Pingus, Tor, Bevan, Chappellet, Realm, Melka, etc. The best wineries in the world were all under one roof (too many to list––the full lineup can be found HERE) and there I was sharing Hertelendy Vineyards. Every wine I tasted was off the charts, and it was a grand opportunity not just to taste wines from top producers, but also to discover new wineries like En Garde (fantastic Napa Valley wines produced by Csaba Szakál, another Hungarian winemaker) and Domaine Sigalas (a Greek winery from Santorini). I told my parents that I finally made it to the major leagues, being in the company of iconic figures in the wine industry. 

After the Grand Walkabout Tasting event, I went to an extraordinary BYOB dinner featuring Robert Parker where I was elbow-to-elbow with the winemakers whom I’d respected even before my wine career began. At this dinner, I tasted a 1968 Louis Martini Barbera to a 2010 Hundred Acre to several vintages of Schrader. You can imagine my awe meeting Carol Schrader herself, and then after I congratulated her on the sale of her winery she thanked me and replied, “You’re the future.” What an honor to be recognized by one of Napa’s elite. The rest of the night I kept asking my wife to pinch me…I couldn’t believe it was real!

And I can’t express the sensation of just being there. The cliché “kid in a candy store” didn’t do the experience justice…it was more like an unreal dream scaling Mt. Olympus to converse and hang out with the gods. Perhaps this is what the Academy Awards are like when you’re an aspiring actor who gets nominated for the first time; and it wasn’t just my conversations that I had with the Wine Advocate team, or talking to other winemakers and winery owners with whom I have the utmost respect for, or serendipitously running into Philippe Melka on the NYC subway, or tasting liquid art that blew my mind. It also wasn’t because it was Robert Parker’s last public appearance. No, it was the accumulation of it all, which culminated into a once-in-a-lifetime memorably magical event which I will forever cherish.

It’s upon reflection of this event and interactions with the giants of wines that I’m even more renewed in my dedication to the style of Hertelendy Vineyards and the dream I had when I was a young 20-something in my parents’ basement ankle-deep in a vat full of grapes. I knew I wanted to create a luxury brand that my family would be proud of and put the Hertelendy name on the map. After this epic weekend, I feel that Hertelendy Vineyards is on its way. 

Gaggan, But Not Forgotten

I usually only write about wine related topics, but a week ago my mind was absolutely blown away with a 17-course meal that was so divine, I’m still lost in euphoria. My palate was equally mesmerized as it is with the finest of wines, and to put it quite simply, IT. WAS. THE. BEST. MEAL. OF. MY. LIFE! The experience was so revolutionary and mind-bendingly complex, it reminded me of my first “Aha moment” with wine (which I elaborated on HERE). As I’ve gotten older, it’s harder to wow me like the old days. One might say I’ve sadly become more jaded over the years, so when something like this occurs with either food or wine, you need to recognize why this occurred and how lucky you are to have experienced something like this again. Calling this meal “special” would be an understatement; it was empyreal! The chef integrated a level of fun, choreographed semi-loud rock and roll for each dish, and fine cuisine that spoke deeply to the core of my soul.

On Thursday September 13, 2018, I was given the privilege of accompanying my mom and her partner to a pop-up dinner at Eight Tables (Time magazine’s World’s Greatest places to eat in 2018) in San Francisco. Proceeds for this dinner benefited the charity Chefs For Change, which helps feed the world. I’ve dined at Eight Tables once before and it’s great (so dine there while you can before they get their Michelin star(s)!), and I thought it’d be similar cuisine, but boy was I wrong! As a self-proclaimed, gourmet enthusiast, it’s hard to blow this food and wine snob’s mind, but last Thursday, Gaggan Anand from Bangkok’s famous 2 star Michelin rated restaurant Gaggan took me on a culinary journey to the promised land. I remembered him from Netflix’s Chef’s Table (Season 2 Episode 6) because of his rags to riches story: he has had real struggles between poverty and losing a brother, giving him a genuine depth of realness you don’t see from many celebrities. When he’s in his element, he likes to tell stories and jokes (i.e. he told us that when you cook lamb, it usually smells like a fart. Everyone laughed).

The meal began with a menu on the table with 17 emojis (with no other description) that represented the meal we were about to have. There was a pencil next to the menus and we were supposed to write our notes next to these cryptic characters. This progressive approach forced us to start guessing what was inside these dishes, and challenged us to start thinking outside the box. When I saw how Gaggan takes inspiration from many other cultures and fuses them all in such a way that he makes it his own, I knew we were in for a treat. For example, he would take a Chinese dim sum concept and use it to create his Mushroom Pav dish. Then he’d create a unique sushi dish by combining uni (sea urchin) over green apple ice cream. He had a spicy foie gras dish that required us to lick the plate as we listened to Kiss’ “Lick It Up.” Utensils weren’t even served until the 11th course.

The most interesting dishes for me were the ones where he’d include his Thai and Indian spices. His Thai inspired Scallops Cold Curry dish was just spicy enough to give you a slap followed by a counterbalanced coconut milk apology. He took you right to the point where the spice was present and interesting, but not overpowering. His Charcoal Samosa was an explosion of chutney, spice, and mint, with dashes of other hidden spices (a touch of cumin perhaps?) that gave it a stimulating intensity. His Cutlass Fish Paturi was smoked in a banana leaf that was wrapped in some kind of paperbark which was then grilled and charred. There were intriguing flavors here that I’ve never experienced in a fish dish such as pignoli mustard (and I believe tamarind as well). The last dish was called Dark Side of the Moon, and was served along Pink Floyd’s classic song.

All in all, this meal was the most delectable I’ve ever had (sorry Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Dominique Crenn, Corey Lee, etc.). It’s not because other chefs aren’t “better.” It’s because my palate and DNA are unique to me, and Gaggan found a way to tease and intrigue, leaving me always wanting more with every dish. I truly shared Gaggan’s palate with spice. That’s rare. He was fearless with what he wanted to do with spice, and he committed to it fully by combining opposite ends of the flavor spectrum together like a magician. There was not one “throw away” dish, and every single creation was perfectly balanced between sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and umami. I was allured to the Dark Side.

After the meal, I met Gaggan to thank him. I also told him that I thought he was a genius and complimented his high level of sophistication with his elevated understanding of balance. He was very modest, and I could tell by his body language that my compliments were making him feel kind of uncomfortable. I then asked him if he liked Napa Valley wines, and he said he prefers tea because of the sulfites in wines. I replied that it’s unfortunate that I don’t make tea out of Napa Valley (but maybe I should start?)….

It’s a shame I didn’t learn about his restaurant in Bangkok earlier as I was just there in December on my honeymoon. I will have to revisit Thailand soon before he closes it down in 2020. It’s currently the #1 restaurant in Asia (for the 4th year in a row) and #5 in the world, so if you make a trip out there, be sure to dine there. It’s not just a bucket list item now; it’s an eye opening experience that will make you never look at food the same way again. Don’t say, “maybe I’ll go someday.” Go there now! You’ll be seduced and enlightened all at the same time. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had this honor and privilege, and I hope to one day be able to enjoy another adventure at his table.

Namaste Gaggan Anand!

2016: This Decade’s Historic Vintage is Not 2013

What exactly makes a vintage “epic” or “historic?” What’s the secret special sauce that promotes it from ordinary to extraordinary? People hail Bordeaux’s 1982 vintage as if though it were a magical celestial event where the stars and constellations aligned, unlocking another dimensional realm allowing unicorns to sprinkle rainbows and fairy dust into those wines. I may be over exaggerating just a little bit, but seriously, what was it about the ’82 vintage that made it so significant in comparison to its neighboring vintages? We still hear about it to this day.

As a Napa Valley vintner, I’m fortunate and blessed to have experienced amazing vintages almost every year. In my opinion, our prestigious older sibling Bordeaux arguably has two fantastic vintages in a decade (interestingly, over the past quarter century the year usually ended in a five or a zero) with eight vintages being “just okay.” Napa is the exact inverse with eight great vintages and two lackluster ones per decade. Mother Nature works in mysterious ways and has a lot to do with that. For example, not even the most amazing winemaker can make an incredible wine during a lousy vintage taste better than a great wine during a historic vintage. A lot of winemaking is out of our control…so what’s the secret formula for a vintage to achieve notable stardom?

People have incessantly argued with me on vintages (I welcome the fun subjective banter!), and the difference is that no one will truly know about a vintage until they’ve experienced decades of multitudinous wine tastings. For instance, 2007 was a tremendous vintage in Napa––deemed the vintage of that decade––with high yields, densely ripe fruit, and superior quality. There was a drought in 2007, very little rain, and the weather was constantly temperate with very few 90+ degree days. Reminiscing on that vintage, the wines were generally extraordinary right out the gate, but they peaked within the first six years (zenith being years 2-4), and then they fell into their raisination mode in year 7+. I’m now avoiding 2007’s, hoping they escape their excessively sweet overtones and eventually blossom into their balanced delicate softness that I know they’ll achieve—probably in a few more years.

The first time I ever received my first epiphany “aha moment” from a wine was with a 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet. When it was first tasted in 2009, it had boldness, elegance, ripe dark fruits, rich structure, balanced acidity, soft, supple tannins, and a long, lingering coffee finish. This Cabernet was a blend of mountain fruit and valley floor fruit, and contained a phenomenal complexity that continually evolved for hours. It was so mind-bending that I didn’t want to finish the bottle; very small sips were taken savoring every moment of that experience, and when the last droplet was poured, exotic summer-ripe rich apricot and dark plum stone fruit notes were dominating the flavor profile. I remember thinking exactly at that moment, “I wish right now that this was the starting point, not the ending.”

Fast forward about seven years and this Cinderella story turns into a Nightmare on Elm Street. In December 2016, I proposed to my wife, Lauren, in Hawaii and she luckily said yes (that’s not the nightmare part!). I wanted to revisit this phenomenal wine with her while we celebrated. Unfortunately, we were both highly disappointed, receiving excessively sweet notes of raisins and molasses. It was nothing like I had remembered it, and not only did another “aha moment” not happen, we didn’t even finish half of the bottle. Only the overly extracted, tannic mountainous wines have prevailed and conquered the aging game. These same wines that I avoided during their first five years due to face-puckering tartness and heavy tannins are tasting very nice right now.

The 2013 vintage was hailed as the famous vintage of this decade paralleling the formidable 2007 vintage. Perhaps it’s because 2011 had the most rainfall in 30+ years and once 2012 arrived, everyone said it was a great vintage because of the stark contrast. Then ’13 waltzed in, and easily outshone ’12; ’13 wasn’t as rigid and conservative, it was more approachable, balanced, riper, and showed young potential. 2013 was also another drought year, and temperatures were constantly temperate with only one little quick heat wave in June. People once again ranted and raved about the quality of this vintage­­—and rightly so!

But was 2013 “the vintage of the decade” as it was deemed to be? I say no. As much of a fan that I am of the 2013-2015 vintages, I’m boldly going to say that 2016 will be revered as the epic vintage in Napa Valley (unless of course another vintage in the next couple years outshines it). I realize that it’s premature to start playing Nostradamus on such a thing, but in my limited experience working with and tasting 2016’s, unicorns have magically sprinkled fairy dust into our wines! The constellations have aligned, Halley’s comet did a flyby, and mermaids are showering rainbow glitter into our barrels. We’re bottling our 2016 vintage next week on August 15th and 16th, and I can tell you with 100% assurance that these are the best Napa Valley red wines we’ve ever made; they’re all on another level that I never even knew existed, giving me yet another rare epiphany I didn’t realize was possible. It’s elating to feel the same euphoric feelings we once felt (and had forgotten) during our more youthful and innocent time periods in the wine industry, and I now feel like William Shakespeare about to go into a soliloquy on the meaning of life with this vintage. The 2016 Hertelendy Legend (Cabernet Sauvignon) will debut later this year, and this Cabernet gave me loads of frisson along with tears of joy. On our last blending session (a fruitless exercise as nothing we tried improved on what we had) I told my consultant, “this doesn’t happen every vintage. Phillip, this is truly something special.”

We knew the ’16 vintage was going to be phenomenal even back then during harvest!

So what made 2016 so historically good? Sure, it was yet another drought year (a common theme in great vintages), but unlike the other bespoken vintages, there was also significant rainfall and higher temperatures throughout the season. We actually had a complete season with many natural elements! Summer temps were high in the 90’s, and we feared that we’d have another earlier harvest like in 2015. Veraison began in late July, and once temperatures cooled down in August we got to choose when to harvest, not Mother Nature. We got to play God and determine (through our trusty laboratory analysis) when the optimal time was to pick. In effect, that gave us longer hang-time on the vines, and more complexity and character in our wines. Interestingly enough, we harvested our grapes late September through mid October around the same exact time in 2016 as we did in 2013 (September 19th-October 11th).

If you’ve never experienced an “aha moment” with wine before in your life, I strongly urge you to explore Napa Valley’s 2016 vintage. Chances will be incredibly high that your mind will be blown, and you’ll experience some kind of epiphany within this vintage. 2016 will be seen as a fantastic vintage regardless, but you heard it here first that it will be regarded as “the vintage of this decade” in Napa Valley. If you don’t believe me, drink as many Napa Valley 2016’s as you can to find out for yourself, and let me know how it goes.

Cheers…and don’t forget to have fun experimenting!

Hertelendy Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

When to Drink Your Wines

Hertelendy Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Hertelendy Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

People commonly ask me when they should drink Hertelendy wines. It’s a great question that does not have any easy, one-size-fits-all type of answer since everyone’s palate is completely different. Wine is liquid art—just like how you may have an affinity for Picasso’s artwork, someone else might think a kindergartener painted it, having his “genius” go over their heads (which I’m totally guilty of). The best way to go about answering this question is to begin by breaking down people’s palates into three categories: youthful (0-5 years), middle-of-the-road (5-10 years), and vintage (10+ years).

I acknowledge that I have a different palate than many other wine enthusiasts. I personally LOVE to drink young wines and decant them for 1-4 hours (or sometimes even days like with a Barolo). I’ve even gone to sacrilegious extremes with hyper-decanting (i.e. putting wines into the…ahem…blender) super late at night when I’m with friends, and we lack the time to properly decant. There is an art of knowing when to drink your wines and how long they should be decanted, and for this purpose, I’ll only be specifically discussing Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

When you age a Napa Valley Cabernet, you’ll get a softer, Old World Bordeaux-like result, but you’ll also lose some of the appealing character and enticing fruit forward notes. To me, that’s the quintessential soul of the wine, and it’s that distinct boldness that I’m drawn to, like a moth to a flame. When winemakers strip that essence away with fining or filtering techniques, they’re creating a more balanced, old school style, but in my opinion, they also lose that “wow” factor that the bold fruit brings. The first “aha moment” I ever had with wine was with a bold yet balanced Napa Cabernet. I had been making wine by that point, but that experience was the first time I realized that wine could be strong, smooth, and elegant all at the same time. It was like I thought a modified Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution (think the Fast & Furious car) was akin to a Ferrari, and then actually experiencing the performance of an F40 Ferrari and having my mind blown. I’ve drunk expensive Burgundian Pinot Noirs, and while I can appreciate them, I don’t get those epiphany moments as I do with bolder style wines. In the past 12 years of winemaking, my palate has changed, and I no longer make extremely bold wines that’d strip the enamel off your teeth; I have gravitated towards discovering my own distinct style of bold, balanced, and elegant.

Don’t get me wrong, I cherish balance in wines—the Holy Grail in winemaking—but if it’s soft, delicate and lacks fruit, I’m not as interested as its edgier counterpart. Generally speaking, Napa Cabs hit their pinnacle between years 1-5 (there are many exceptions of course). Once a Napa Cab gets to year 7+, raisination occurs and the wines start tasting sweeter like raisins or molasses. At this point you’ll have to wait several more years for it to come out of that raisin-like state and back around to being more Bordeaux-esque with that soft delicate style of balance. I’d say this point is the sweet spot for those that love the vintage wines. However, why lay down a bottle for 10+ years when they’re so fantastic young!

I would recommend that if you’re drinking our 2015 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon right now, decant it for 2-4 hours before dinner. Thirty minutes before dinner, place the decanter in the refrigerator and let it cool down to around 55°-60°F (because decanting at room temperature in many locations can get hot during the summertime). You’ll be amazed at how rounded the wine gets from doing these two simple things! All of that intense fruit forwardness will carry through and pair beautifully with your entrée—preferably a filet mignon or slow braised short ribs. If you’re drinking the 2014 Cab, I’d decant it for 1-2 hours, and for the 2013 Cab, I’d decant for 1 hour. I’d also take a similar approach vintage-to-vintage with the Signature Mountain Blends. If you only have 1 hour to decant your 2015’s, don’t worry; it will still be better than no decanting at all. However, you’ll see more improvement as the wines are able to breathe and open up.

Decanting Hertelendy Red Wines by Vintage (in 2018):
  2015: 2-4 hours

  2014: 1-2 hours
2013: 0-1 hour

If you were to ask me when to drink the Hertelendy Chardonnay, my typical response is that it’s ready now regardless of vintagejust serve it cold at 48°F and enjoy the evolution of the wine as it warms up. Albeit unusual, some people enjoy decanting our Chardonnay for 15 to 30 minutes prior to serving. This is a stylistic preference based on how you prefer your Chardonnay.

These are merely my recommendations. I clearly don’t follow many rules, and encourage you to experiment to see what works best for your palate. Please let me know how it goes!

Cheers & enjoy!