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Hanzell Chardonnay 2009

Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
  • WE95
  • WS90
14.5% ABV
  • D91
  • WS90
  • WE93
  • W&S90
  • W&S94
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • W&S94
  • WS91
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • WE96
  • RP92
  • WS90
  • WE96
  • W&S92
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  • WE93
  • W&S91
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  • WS90
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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 flavors are still quite tightly wound: Hanzell minerality and lemon zest acidity balanced with ripe pear, honeydew and clove. As these flavors unfold, the richness and texture in the body become more and more evident. The concentration and vibrant structure of this wine suggest an extremely good vintage for aging in the cellar. Decanting one to two hours before serving is recommended.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
A tremendous Chardonnay. As always, the winery’s ’09 is bone dry, crisply acidic and minerally. You might call it austere at this point, with its tart finish of grapefruit. But a great Hanzell Chardonnay will improve for at least a decade, possible two, and this is a great Hanzell Chardonnay. The score reflects what the wine likely will be approximately eight years down the road. Cellar Selection.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Almost Chablis-like in its flintiness, this is intense and snappy, with a refreshing core of apple, citrus and pebble flavors. Slow to unfold but does so in a captivating manner, releasing subtle flavor nuances along the way. This wine has a great track record for being tight early and aging long. Best from 2013 through 2023.
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Hanzell

Hanzell Vineyards

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Hanzell Vineyards, Sonoma County, California
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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.

Sonoma County

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Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.

Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.

Chardonnay

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One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy sauces.

Sommelier Secret

Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

RWC420963_2009 Item# 111876