2010 Walter Hansel "The Meadows" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1123160 92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Bright floral aromatics lead to white and yellow orchard fruit, spices and crushed rocks in the 2010 Chardonnay The Meadows Vineyard. This is a fairly restrained Chardonnay for Hansel, with less overtness than is typically the case. In 2010, The Meadows speaks to class and elegance. There is a pointed, focused quality to the finish that is particularly attractive. The Meadows is a fabulous value in Russian River Chardonnay. In 2010 Hansel bottled the Meadows separately for the first time. Previously, this fruit had gone into the Estate Chardonnay. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018. I was quite taken with the wines I tasted with proprietor Stephen Hansel earlier this year. In particular, the 2010 Chardonnays have turned out far better than I had expected. A year prior, the wines were heavy and clunky. Today, they are complete and beautifully balanced to a degree that is surprising. According to Hansel, in 2010 the Pinots were less affected by the heat spikes that year than the Chardonnays, echoing a common refrain among growers. As was the case throughout California, 2011 was an exceptionally long and cold growing season. Hansel lost the fruit for the Meadows bottling, a casualty of the October rains. At the risk of sounding repetitive, it is impossible not to realize how exceedingly fairly priced these wines are in today’s market. Stylistically, the Hansel Chardonnays show the richness from stirring of the lees and the use of 40-60% new oak.  (4/2013)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright gold. Spice-accented aromas of peach, fig and Meyer lemon, with a smoky overlay. Offers juicy pit and orchard fruit flavors sharpened by spice and ginger elements that gain strength with air. Shows an appealing mix of ripeness and vivacity on the finish, which leaves a refreshingly bitter citrus zest note behind.  (5/2012)

K&L Notes

The newest addition to the Walter Hansel Family! An amazing Value for this opulent cool climate Chardonnay from the Hanzell & Dijon Clones. Don't miss out on this! It is everything you want from a California Chard, but with Burgundian elegance! (Christie Cartwright, K&L Hollywood Buyer)

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Price: $24.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/29/2013 | Send Email
It is nothing new for us to expound on the quality and relative value of the Walter Hansel wines, we’ve done it for years, but we are very excited about their new Chardonnay bottling. The Meadows bottling, from a new parcel on the estate, is a tremendous value for $25. This offers the same texture and pitch as their more familiar offerings for a fraction of the cost. Fleshy with a creamy core of peach pit, honeydew melon and apricot preserves this has all the richness you’d want. But it also shows the hallmark balance of the winery with pretty herbal tones of thyme and a surprising base of minerality. Surely this is one of those Chardonnay perched squarely in the stylistic middle ground, not too buttery and oaky but surely has both and not to strict and linear either. In other words I think this is a wine that almost any Domestic Chardonnay drinker will enjoy.

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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.
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- Just across the Golden Gate from San Francisco, Carneros is kept cool by Bay breezes and thick fog, and has long been famous for cool-climate pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wine based on the two varietals. Warmer pockets have proved interesting and promising homes for syrah, cabernet and merlot.