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Hanzell Chardonnay 2012

Chardonnay from Sonoma County, California
  • WE93
  • W&S90
14.5% ABV
  • D91
  • WS90
  • W&S94
  • WE95
  • WS90
  • WE92
  • WS91
  • W&S94
  • WS91
  • RP93
  • WS92
  • WE96
  • RP92
  • WS90
  • WE96
  • W&S92
  • WS92
  • WE93
  • W&S91
  • WS90
  • WS90
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Try the 2014 Vintage 69 99
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Brilliant aromas of tangerine, beeswax, chamomile and wet stone combine with our signature floral scent reminiscent of honeysuckle and jasmine. Pink grapefruit, pear and apricot expand out over the rich, viscous, mid-palate. Though surprisingly well integrated in its youth, the concentration and vibrant structure of this wine suggest an extremely good vintage for aging in the cellar. Decant on to two hours before serving.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
From four estate vineyards with an average vine age of 33 years, this sparkles in creamy texture and sophisticated, yummy flavors of tangerine, grapefruit and pear. Stony minerality plays on the palate throughout, buoying complex components of jasmine and a lingering, more concentrated finish of honey. With plenty of structure and stuffing, it’ll only get better over time, through about 2018.
W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
A ripe vintage of Hanzell, this feels broad at first. It's tough right now, with a spicy power that turns toward earthen scents of ginger an ginseng root as it absorbs oxygen.
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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 nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both 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 and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. 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’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based 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. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

HNYHZLCHY12C_2012 Item# 135533