2009 Walter Hansel "Cuvee Alyce" Russian River Chardonnay

SKU #1084133 95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A selection of the finest barrels, the 2009 Chardonnay Cuvee Alyce (named for Stephen Hansel's mother) is fashioned from both the old Wente clone and the newer Dijon Clone 95. This Chardonnay possesses all the same characteristics as are found in The North Slope, but more structure, restraint and possibly more aging potential. This intense 2009 reveals that overwhelming elegance that is a hallmark of this vintage. The most backward of these estate Chardonnays, it should last for a decade...If I were giving out awards for proprietors who combine remarkable humility with high quality, candidates for the top two spots would be Tom Dehlinger and Stephen Hansel.  (2/ 2011)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright yellow. Pungent aromas of grapefruit, lemon zest, saffron and mint, with an underpinning of smoky minerals. Dusty citrus and apple flavors are complemented by a sexy floral quality and enlivened by zesty minerality. Finishes with excellent clarity and stony thrust, the floral note repeating. This taut, dry, deeply concentrated chardonnay should age gracefully.  (6/ 2011)

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Price: $39.99

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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:

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 Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.