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Hanzell Pinot Noir 2007

  • W&S93
  • WE91
750ML / 14.4% ABV
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750ML / 14.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

If it is true that great wines are grown in the vineyard, then it must also be true that the intrinsic qualities of thatvineyard are what make the wine great. Given all the distinct differences between each of our individual vineyardblocks: elevation, aspect, slope, clone/rootstock, vine age, trellising, wind patterns, etc; one would expect wildlydifferent resulting wines. While there are subtle differences of course, they share far more characteristics incommon. This Hanzell signature in our grapes speak to the similar elemental threads that run through all of ourvineyards 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 counterpointto the bright fruit aromas of pomegranate, blackberry and orange-peel. Rich ripe fruit flavor givesbalance to the copious mouth-filling tannins. With time resting in the decanter, the delineation betweenthe fruit and the structure of this wine evaporates into a seamless and finely woven fabric of flavor andtexture. The impressive fruit concentration and firm structural backbone ensure a life-span that will bemeasured in decades.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 93
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.
WE 91
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.
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Hanzell

Hanzell Vineyards

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Hanzell Vineyards, 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.

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Sonoma Valley

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Perhaps the most historically significant appellation in Sonoma County, the Sonoma Valley is home to both Buena Vista winery, California's oldest commercial winery, and Gundlach Bundschu winery, California's oldest family-run winery.

It is also one of the more geologically and climactically diverse districts. The valley includes and overlaps four distinct Sonoma County sub-appellations, including Carneros, Moon Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and Bennett Valley. With mountains, benchlands, plains, abundant sunshine and the cooling effects of the nearby Pacific, this appellation can successfully produce a wide range of grape varieties. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewürztraminer, and most notably, Zinfandel all thrive here. Ancient Zinfandel vines over 100 years old produce small crops of concentrated, spicy fruit, which in turn make some of the Valley's most unique wines. These can also be made as “field blends” (wines made from a mix of grape varieties grown in the same vineyard) along with Petite Sirah, Carignan and Alicante Bouschet.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

GUSHANZELL_2007 Item# 106404