2013 Walter Hansel "Cahill Lane" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1271268 93 points Vinous

 The 2013 Chardonnay Cahill Lane is another beautiful, precise wine loaded with class and personality. As is the case in this vintage, the flavors are bright, but there is plenty of the signature Hansel texture underpinning the fruit. Lemon, pastry and brioche are some of the notes that meld into the racy, beautifully textured finish. 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...What's not to like? (AG)  (1/2015)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2013 Chardonnay Cahill Lane, made from the Old Wente clone, comes from one of the higher yielding parcels in the Hansel vineyards (3.5 tons of fruit per acre in 2013). It sees 40% new François Frères oak. The nose offers up notes of caramelized citrus, orange blossom, honeysuckle, poached pear and peach in its refreshing, medium to full-bodied personality. Drink this beauty over the next 5-6 years. The consistently run Walter Hansel winery (now in the capable hands of Steve Hansel) has over 40 acres of Chardonnay and 40 acres of Pinot Noir, all family-owned. Visitors to the Sonoma Valley, especially the Santa Rosa area, will also enjoy a stop at the Walter Hansel Wine Bar and Bistro on Guernville Road, an excellent venue with a terrific wine list as well as delicious, French-inspired bistro cuisine. The 2012 and 2013 Walter Hansel wines are very successful. (RP)  (12/2014)

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By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/15/2016 | Send Email
It seems like we e-mail you a few times every year expounding on just how good the wines of Walter Hansel are. You may be getting sick of these e-mails by now. You may be wondering if we owe them some great debt, or if they own a part of K&L, or if they give us a free Volkswagen every time we sell a pallet of their wine. The answer to all of these, of course, is no. The reason why we send these emails to you is that there are very, very few producers in the US right now that make wines that are this consistently crowd pleasing, affordable (the winery has raised prices only once in the last decade), critically acclaimed and just downright tasty.
The 2013 Walter Hansel “Cahill Lane” Russian River Valley Chardonnay is the latest offering that puts emphatic checkmarks by all the above criteria. Full of toasted brioche, almond butter, quince and torched orange peel the nose here has both lifting and weighty qualities that echo throughout the wine. On the palate I was surprised to see a bit more lift and energy than in the last few vintages with distinct citrus and floral intensity. At the same time this is unmistakably Hansel with its oily, mouth-filling richness, toasted corn, almond skin, vanilla and cream flavors. I’d have to say that if the rest of the 2013 vintage is going to be this good from Hansel you should expect a few more e-mail in your inbox over the next 12 months.

By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/8/2016 | Send Email
Perhaps the best vintage of Hansel's Cahill Lane Chardonnay to date. It isn't too rich and oaky, but has enough weight to satisfy those that prefer the bigger-styled whites. Notes of citrus fruit and Golden Delicious apple up front that move into creamy spiced custard on the back end. Let this wine open up for half an hour after you pull the cork to ensure that it shows everything it's supposed to!

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Additional Information:

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.