2013 Walter Hansel "The Meadows" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1252042 93 points Vinous

 The 2013 Chardonnay The Meadows has a real sense of phenolic weight and density, yet the flavors remain bright, focused and beautifully nuanced throughout. Lemon peel, hazelnut, butter, spice and mint blossom as this beautifully textured, layered Chardonnay shows off its notable personality and pure class. Stephen Hansel is one of the most intelligent winery owners in Sonoma. More interested in getting people to drink his wines than in maximizing short-term profit, Hansel continues to offer some of the very best wines readers will find for the money. In particular, the Estate Chardonnay, $25 a bottle, is surely one of the best values in wine. The Hansel wines capture the essence of the Russian River in their exuberant, forward personalities. In my view, the Chardonnays are reference points for what Wente clone Chardonnay is all about. The Chardonnays see some lees stirring and spend about ten months in oak. The Pinots see a five day cold-soak and are vinified, fully destemmed, in open-top wood fermenters, after which they are aged in French oak, about 60% new. After the large crop of 2012, Hansel dropped a significant amount of fruit in 2013, roughly 60% of the Pinot crop and 30% of the Chardonnay crop. Quality is high across the board and pricing remains incredibly consumer friendly throughout the range, making these some of the most delicious and compelling Sonoma wines readers will come across. (AG)  (1/2015)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Two Stars* Toasty oak once again gets a good deal of play here, and, as is the case with the winery's Cuvée Alyce, this rendition comes with plenty of vigorous young fruit. While also fairly full-bodied, it is the slightly tighter of the two wines at this point, yet its inclination to firmness in no way detracts from its multi-faceted expression of green apples, citrus, minerals and subtle spice and instead guarantees that the wine has several years of positive growth before it.  (1/2016)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Another top value, the 2013 Chardonnay The Meadows, which comes from the lowest elevation Chardonnay vineyard the Hansels own. The soils are classic loamy, sandy, Goldridge soils, and the wine sees 40% new oak. It possesses a European/Corton-Charlemagne style with hints of ripe peaches, pineapples and orange blossoms in a medium-bodied, fresh, lively style with good acidity. Drink now-2018. (RP)  (12/2014)

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Price: $31.99
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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 Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.