Hanzell Chardonnay 2008
Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
The attractive, high-toned aromas are of citrus blossoms, pear, green apple, vanilla, lemon oil, anise, clove, graphite, and clean mineral. A bit tightly wound initially, the mouth-watering acidity belies the full body and concentrated, sweet lemony fruit. As the wine opens up, the inherent richness and flavor intensity rise to demonstrate the quality and longevity of the vintage. The unfolding flavors are of ripe apple, citrus, clove and caramel on a long, mineral-laden finish.
Wine Enthusiast - "Lots of fresh, zingy acidity in this dry, young Chardonnay, and the steely minerality gives it a tang of cold metal. There are tantalizing hints of ripe citrus fruit and apricots. Give it 4–5 years in the cellar to come around. "
Wine Spectator - "Tight and flinty, with mineral, lean apple and spice flavors that are slow to unwind, but gain depth and personality as they do. The floral aroma carries over nicely to the palate, expanding on the finish. Best from 2012 through 2020."
Industrialist James D. Zellerbach acquired the 200 acre Hanzell estate on the Mayacamas slopes above the town of Sonoma in 1948, and in 1952 he planted 2 acres of Pinot Noir and 4 acres of Chardonnay on the site. The Ambassador's ambition was to create a small vineyard and winery dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Zellerbachs created the first vintage in 1957 and named their winery Hanzell, a contraction of Mrs. Hana Zellerbach's name.
Zellerbach hired Ralph Bradford Webb in 1956 to be his winemaker and Webb would be integral to the winemaking for the first two decades of Hanzell. Webb introduced four significant advances in enology that would subsequently be adopted by many other wineries, predicating consistency and quality for the entire industry -temperature-controlled fermentation, the use of French Oak barrels, the practice of "blanketing" young wines in tank with inert gas and the practice of induced malolactic fermentation.
The original 6 acre vineyard has grown to 42 acres today, allowing Hanzell to produce 6,000 cases annually: three-quarters Chardonnay and one-quarter Pinot Noir, retaining its identity as a very small winery dedicated to making the Burgundian varietals at the Grand Cru level. Through five decades, Hanzell has pursued empirical winemaking and established traditions on which great cellar-worthy winemaking is predicated. View all Hanzell Vineyards Wines
About Sonoma CountyView a map of Sonoma County wineriesRelated Links:
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Notable FactsThe largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review4.5 }div>4.3 out of 5 stars
- 5 Stars: 1
- 4 Stars: 2
- 3 Stars: 0
- 2 Stars: 0
- 1 Stars: 0
3 ratings, 2 with reviews411/16/2011
First tried the 2008 a year ago and would've given it 5-stars. Opened a bottle recently, and some of the wine's character was replaced by acidity. It may have passed its prime. This is an unoaked chardonnay, so it is not buttery like most CA chardonnays.Red w/Attitude - Miami, FL47/12/2011Rez-n-Tessa - San Francisco, CA56/2/2011
- Fruity & Smooth
My new benchmark California Chardonnay. Enjoyed this with friends before dinner the other week. They are Rombauer fans and they loved this less-oaky style. Perfect balance of fruit and wood, long finish, simply yummy! Definite buy again!
- Light & Crisp
- Pair With
- Cheese > Creamy
Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.
- 5 Stars: