2008 Walter Hansel "North Slope" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1062842

95 points Robert Parker - "Similar in style, the 2008 Chardonnay The North Slope comes from a slightly cooler site. The light straw color with a greenish hue is followed by abundant notes of quince, white currants, white peaches, and such honeyed tropical fruits as pineapples and oranges. It, too, will drink well for 7-8 years. These are consistently terrific wines, seemingly regardless of vintage conditions. Moreover, they are realistically priced, and wine consumers couldn’t have a better friend than proprietor Stephen Hansel. All of the estate grown Chardonnays are fermented and aged in Francois Freres French cooperage (40% new and 60% used), and undergo lees stirring and full malolactic. Hansel has added two negociant wines to his portfolio made from grapes purchased from the Diamond Ranch in Carneros and Feeney Home Ranch in the Russian River. Hansel told me that yields were dramatically reduced in 2008 because of the spring frost, and that explains why the wines have an extra level of power and concentration. Across the board, Hansel’s yields were down by 33%-40% from a “regular” vintage such as 2007. The two negociant offerings are pleasant wines, but I’m not sure I understand why he’s producing them given how great the bargains are from the estate wines. The 2008 Pinot Noir crop was not as badly affected by frost as were the Chardonnays, and generally, the following wines are all tightly-knit and slightly closed, but with good acidity, concentration, and potential"

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Price: $35.99

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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:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.