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Walter Hansel Cuvee Alyce Chardonnay 2016

  • RP95
  • V93
750ML / 0% ABV
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  • RP94
  • V93
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Chardonnay Cuvee Alyce is scented of fresh grapefruit, pineapple and warm apricots with hints of chalk dust, fresh ginger, brioche and cashews. Medium to full-bodied, it packs in tons of opulent tropical and spice flavors, with a pleasant oiliness to the texture and a very long finish.
V 93
Vinous
The 2016 Chardonnay Cuvée Alyce is gorgeous, but is also going to need a few years to come into its own. All of the signatures of this wine – specifically the rich, tropical fruit – are there, but there is also a good bit of freshness to play off the more overt elements.
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Walter Hansel

Walter Hansel

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Walter Hansel, California
My father, Walter, loved to grow everything from kiwi to oriental pears and more. In the 1970's he enlisted my help to plant 257 chardonnay vines. Throughout the 1980's our entire family would harvest the half acre of grapes and my father and I would make the wine; filling two barrels, which equaled 50 cases of wine. Initially these wines were hard to drink, but with the help of my friend, Tom Rochioli, I developed a passion to understand everything about the vineyards and the process of making wine. This passion influenced my quest for growing World-class wines. Since our first commercial vintage in 1996, I have learned with every harvest that you must listen to vine; react to Mother Nature and ALWAYS compromise quantity for quality.
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Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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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.

STC130980_2016 Item# 524672