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2004 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1025273 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* Massive, complex, with amazing depth, an opulent, voluptuous wine of tremendous power and authority. It's so beautiful now, you almost hesitate to cellar it, but these Hanzell Chards are built for the long haul. Positively volcanic in tropical fruit and toasty new oak, with a honeyed, caramel finish. Absolutely stunning.  (5/2007)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 The Hanzell Vineyard, 800 feet up the Mayacamas Mountains above the town of Sonoma, has a direct view to the San Pablo Bay. It's a prime spot for Chardonnay, as this '04 attests, a wine full of supple pear flavors that drive the initial aromas and the finish. Oak supports that fruit, in a refined structure that brings scents of beeswax and almond tart. An antique style of Chardonnay to cellar or to serve with poulet de Bresse.  (2/2007)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Shows terrific aromas, serving up a beam of citrus infused pear, apple and melon fruit, enlivened by firm acidity. The finish sails on, revealing a tight band of fruit. Very impressive. This is a wine with a track record for aging. (JL)  (4/2007)

K&L Notes

Honey and grapefruit, typical markers for Hanzell's Chardonnay, are prominent at first, but then behind these are compelling characters of pastry shell (baked butter and flour), a delicate toast character from the barrels, almonds, milk and bread dough. A full, round presence in the mouth is supported by acidity that saves the broad and rich texture from being cloying.

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Price: $54.99
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- 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, M√Ęcon, 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.

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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).