2010 Walter Hansel "North Slope" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1111377 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2010 Chardonnay North Slope is all about density and material. An imposing, powerful Chardonnay, the North Slope will appeal most to readers who like intense, buttery wines. Here too, I am amazed by the positive development the wine has had over the last year. Butterscotch, hazelnuts and spices are layered into the generous, inviting finish. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.  (4/2013)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Vivid yellow. Lively, spice-accented aromas of tangerine, melon and white flowers, with toasty lees and sweet butter accents adding depth. Offers an array of citrus fruit and spice flavors, with suave honeysuckle and brioche nuances emerging with air. Lingers impressively on the finish, which shows nervy orange pith and ginger character.  (5/2012)

K&L Notes

Additional vintage note from Wine Advocate: "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....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."

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Varietal:

Chardonnay

- 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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.