2011 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1251273 92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (one-third barrel-fermented): Pale straw-yellow. Aromas of apple, pear and citrus zest complemented by vanillin oak. Spicy, dense and concentrated, with harmonious acidity and solid underlying minerality giving shape to the apple and lemon fruit flavors. At once gripping and restrained on the finish, with citrus and spice flavors leaving the palate feeling refreshed. Sexy Chardonnay with aging potential. (ST)  (5/2014)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 The vineyard is in Sonoma Valley, not exactly prime Chardonnnay country, but Hanzell manages to produce one of most ageable Chardonnay's in California. The 2011 is rich and ripe in oranges, apricots and pears. Drink this beautiful wine now through 2019.  (12/2013)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The light gold-colored 2011 Chardonnay Estate offers a gorgeous nose of white currants, quince, honeysuckle, crushed rocks and flowers. With medium to full body, terrific acidity, wonderful freshness and purity, and a long finish, it is further confirmation of the extraordinary history this winery has had since it was founded in 1953 by Ambassador Zellerbach. Drink this 2011 Estate over the next 10 years. (RP)  (12/2013)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 Ambassador James Zellerbach began planting Hanzell’s Sonoma hillside estate in 1953. The venerable old vines from that initial planting account for seven percent of the chardonnay in this bottling, with the balance coming mostly from vines planted in the 1970s. The cool 2011 vintage shows up as beam of acidity cutting through the center of the wine, while Hanzell’s signature richness can be felt in the lemon-curd fatness of its texture. It’s a Chardonnay for pan-seared diver scallops.  (4/2014)

Wine Spectator

 Fresh and vibrant, building in intensity while working within a tight frame of lemon-citrus, green apple, spice and honeydew melon characteristics. Ends with a light dash of toasty oak. Best from 2015 through 2022. (JL, Web-2014)

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Price: $49.99
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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, 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.

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).
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5