Hanzell Pinot Noir 2007
Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California
If it is true that great wines are grown in the vineyard, then it must also be true that the intrinsic qualities of that vineyard are what make the wine great. Given all the distinct differences between each of our individual vineyard blocks: elevation, aspect, slope, clone/rootstock, vine age, trellising, wind patterns, etc; one would expect wildly different resulting wines. While there are subtle differences of course, they share far more characteristics in common. This Hanzell signature in our grapes speak to the similar elemental threads that run through all of our vineyards and are a testament to the consistency of the individual hands that tend them.
Roasted and savory spices, tobacco leaf, smoked meats, and scents of forest floor lend dark counterpoint to the bright fruit aromas of pomegranate, blackberry and orange-peel. Rich ripe fruit flavor gives balance to the copious mouth-filling tannins. With time resting in the decanter, the delineation between the fruit and the structure of this wine evaporates into a seamless and finely woven fabric of flavor and texture. The impressive fruit concentration and firm structural backbone ensure a life-span that will be measured in decades.
Wine & Spirits - "Pinot Noir Savory woodland mushroom scents lend a sense of mystery to this wine, its flavors ranging from meat to minerals. There's nothing directly fruity about it. Dark in tone but not dense, the aroma has the exoticism of Chinese medicinal herbs. An old-school California pinot with an Old World sensibility, this should age in fascinating directions."
Wine Enthusiast - "Shows the dry tannins and astringency of youthfull Hanzell, but these Pinot Noirs are famously capable of extended aging. Tastes almost rustic now, with a deep core of cherries and cola. the oak is unintegrated, further accentuating the wine's immaturity. Needs time. Better after 2013, and should develop for an additional decade."
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.
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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 & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.