Hanzell Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2015 (Sonoma County, California) - [JD 94] [WA 93+] [WE 92] [W&S 90]

Hanzell Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2015
(Sonoma County, California) - [JD 94] [WA 93+] [WE 92] [W&S 90]


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JD94 WA93+ WE92 W&S90
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About the Winery:
Ambassador James D. Zellerbach founded Hanzell Vineyards in 1953 with a vision to create wines that could compete on the world stage.  Named after his wife Hana, Hanzell sits at the southern toe of the Mayacamas mountain range overlooking the south-western end of Sonoma Valley and San Pablo Bay.  After extensive time spent in Burgundy, Zellerbach returned inspired and educated by the region’s wines and grapes—Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  He then planted these two varieties at a time when there were less than a few hundred acres of each planted in North America.  Since 1975, Hanzell has been solely owned by the de Brye family, who is dedicated to the preservation of tradition with a progressive and holistic approach which will ensure the sustainability for generations to come.

Notes from the Winemaker:

An estate blend, sourced from thirty-two acres of our Ambassador’s 1953, Day, de Brye, Ramos & Zellerbach vineyard blocks all on rocky volcanic and clay-loam soils. Wente and Hanzell clones are planted primarily on St. George rootstock with an average vine age of thirty-five years.

“Classic floral notes of chamomile and honeysuckle along with green pear, honeydew melon, papaya, granny smith apple and kumquat abound in this chardonnay. Rich and full upon entry, there is a tension between the creaminess and the mouthwatering citrus, which lead to a long, luxurious and powerful finish.”- Michael McNeil

Technical Data

Grape Source Vineyards: de Brye, Zellerbach, Day, Ramos and Ambassador’s 1953
Vineyards Average Vine Age: 29 years
Region: Sonoma Valley
Soil: Red Hill Series and Raynor-Montara clay-loam (volcanic)
Elevation: 500 to 830 feet
Clones: Hanzell, Old Wente, Robert Young, Dijon 76, Dijon 95, Hyde and Prosser
Primary Fermentation: Two hours minimum juice and skin contact prior to pressing 62% stainless-steel fermentation at 54°- 64°. 38% barrel fermentation; lees stirred for first two months. Malolactic Fermentation 38% - all of the barrel fermented portion goes through malolactic fermentation
Aging One year in 60 gallon French Oak barrels
Alcohol: 14.1% abv
pH: 3.22
Total Acid: 7.0 g/L

Vintage Notes:
"The accumulated effects of a record fourth straight year of drought combined with cold and damp weather during bloom conspired to produce very shy yields. The growing season was relatively mild with our typical warm afternoons and very cool nights producing fruit of great intensity and finesse.”

Ratings & Reviews

94 Points - Jeb Dunnuck:
"Showing beautifully, the 2015 Chardonnay offers a touch of maturity in its caramelized peach, pineapple, flora, and toasted bread-like aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied and beautifully textured on the palate, it has plenty of fruit, a solid spine of acidity, and a clean, mineral-laced finish. This is just a beautiful Chardonnay." (12/24/2020)

93+ Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate:
"The 2015 Chardonnay is a little reticent to begin, slowly unfurling to reveal lemon tart, apple pie and nectarine notions with hints of honeyed toast, cashews and orange blossoms. The medium-bodied palate is refreshing and elegantly styled with many citrus and stone fruit layers accented by savory suggestions and a satiny texture, finishing long and mineral laced."

92 Points - Wine Enthusiast:
"There's a note of barrel influence on the nose, a heartiness of oak that weaves within the greater whole as the wine develops. Smooth, rounded richness, a mix of baked apple and hazelnut, provide a textured balance of flavor within lovely highlights of lemongrass and ginger." - Virginie Boone (8/1/2018) 

90 Points - Wine & Spirits:
"Juicy loquat meets smoky oak flavors in this bold and spicy chardonnay. The oak brings a touch of vanilla and bitter spice, the wine structured for aging. Cellar it to serve with arctic char roasted with fennel."