Wine aficionados tend to talk a lot about "honest wines." I'm not smart enough to provide a concise definition (terroir-driven? Natural, whatever that is?), but to paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's take on pornography, I know it when I drink it.
Mike Hendry's family makes honest wines. The Hendry Ranch reds, whites and pinks just taste, well, like what wine is supposed to taste like: pure and rustic, well-defined and distinctive. Sometimes it's just as simple as that.
Maybe it's because his family has been farming the same Napa turf since 1939. Maybe it's because they work with grapes that they understand, from albarino to zinfandel. But most likely it's because of the caring hand these folks bring to growing grapes and transforming them into fermented juice.
What's absolutely certain is that Mike Hendry, the winery's third-generation vineyard manager, can provide a better explanation when he visits the Twin Towns this month. One of my favorite merchants, Top Ten's Bill Abrahamson, has arranged a seminar/tasting at 7 p.m. July 16 at Ray J's Banquet Room in Woodbury.
The cost? $10, which can be applied toward the purchase of Hendry Ranch wines. Which means it's gonna be free once you taste these wines and hear this story. For info, call 651-501-1199.