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.
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Bright red fruit aromas of ripe cherry and raspberry combine with the essence of orange peel to give a lively initial impression while pipe tobacco, anise and an aroma reminiscent of potter's clay provide a savory and earthy compliment. Concentrated flavors of cherry, cedar, anise and baking spice... more
Brilliant aromas of lemon oil, nectarine, lime zest, chamomile and wet stone combine with our signature floral scent reminiscent of honeysuckle and jasmine. Green apple, pear and nectarine expand out over the rich, viscous mid-palate. The acidity comes forward as it carries the flavors on to a... more
Glistening with a bright green-gold hue, the color of this wine speaks of the energy of this vintage. Subtle floral aromas of honeysuckle and jasmine lift the pear and lemon scents in the nose. With time in the glass or decanter, more breadth and complexity are added to the initial aromas. The... more
Lovely red fruit aromas of pomegranate and cherry are enhanced by scents of rose petal, cardamom and clove. With time, the wine unfolds to reveal orange peel, pipe tobacco and a distinct earthiness reminiscent of a woodsy forest floor. Flavors of blackberry, pomegranate, tangerine and clean mineral... more
The fresh and youthful aromas of white flower, citrus blossom and chamomile are
pleasantly wrapped in lovely Hanzell minerality. The rich, creamy entry is juxtaposed by bright acidity and vibrant
flavors of lemon peel and crisp apple. The structure and textural mouth feel combining with fresh... more
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... more
The primary red fruit aromas of bing cherry and pomegranate are surrounded by orange peel, pipe
tobacco, and a woodsy, forest floor quality. As the wine opens with time, notes of rose, cocoa, and baking
spice come forward. In the mouth, the entry is supple with a thick velvety texture. The... more
Enticing aromas of citrus and white flowers are the initial notes, but with time the wine unfolds to offer marzipan, pear, and toasted almond. A rich vanilla-honey scent gives an impression of sweetness to the overall aromatic profile. In the mouth, the inherent richness builds over time with... more
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,... more
Blackberry, strawberry compote and blueberry pie give this vintage a very prominent fruit character,
but there is the darkness of tea leaf, humid forest, and a feral quality, like the fur of an animal or the
nape of a neck. Clove and cardamom are warm spice notes that give the impression of... more