2010 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1112560 94 points Wine & Spirits

 After his travels to Europe to implement the Marshall Plan, and later as Ambassador to Italy, James Zellerbach’s interest in Burgundy led him to plant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the hills above Sonoma in 1953. The vineyard, now expanded to 44 acres, rises from 430 to 820 feet. It still includes that original planting (six percent of this blend) and the current team, led by Bob Sessions and Michael McNeill, still hold to the idea that Chardonnay should be elegant and savory, an expression of its site (the average age of the vines is 32 years). This vintage is tight and stony, with oak firming up the plump and gentle curves of peach-like fruit. Air brings up a chamomile flower scent that lasts, the finish clean and delicate. For the cellar.  (10/2013)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright straw-yellow. High-pitched perfume of baked apple, lime zest, dusty oak spices, lavender and crushed stone, plus a whiff of Calvados. Broad, silky and mouthfilling but with a light touch and lovely perfume to the flavors of citrus pith, minerals, nutmeg and flowers. This dry, very young chardonnay manages to excite the palate without leaving any impression of weight. Finishes subtle, smooth and very long, with impressive aromatic carry-through on the end. Shows no edges today but I'd cellar this for at least a few years to allow it to express itself more fully. A superb vintage for this bottling. (ST)  (6/2013)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Exhibits a fresh, snappy, vibrant mix of white peach, nectarine, chalky soil and pithy citrus peel notes. Full and persistent, this is tempting now, with a lively and engaging finish that promises to gain with time. (JL)  (7/2013)

K&L Notes

San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Wines of 2012: "I think of Hanzell at times like Corton-Charlemagne; big, dramatic, grown on soil also suited to red wine. You may not love it, but its legacy as California's progenitor of barrel-fermented Chardonnay demands respect. The tension-filled 2010 vintage offers savory oak, parsley and lime leaves, with amazing polish to its yellow fruit and an earth-driven mineral energy." Careful grape selection and winemaking help to realize the quality of this flagship Sonoma Chardonnay, which has long been known for its ageability. Moderate use of French oak (30% new) serves to help to articulate the expression of the Sonoma terroir of the two different sites included in this bottling. From the winery: "Brilliant aromas of lemon oil, nectarine, lime zest, chamomile and wet stone combine with our signature floral scent reminiscent of honeysuckle and jasmine. Green apple, pear and nectarine expand out over the rich, viscous mid-­palate. The acidity comes forward as it carries the flavors on to a long, lemony finish. Though surprisingly generous in its youth, the concentration and the vibrant structure of this wine suggest an extremely good vintage for aging in the cellar. Decanting one to two hours before serving is recommended."

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Price: $64.99
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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5