James Laube was asked to write about 30 of California’s Best Chardonnays in the latest Wine Spectator (July 31, 2012). In his words, he put together a list which is the “˜cream of the crop’. So from all across an extensive selection of highly rated areas – Sonoma, Napa, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Barbara, Central Coast – and stellar producers, he chose Hanzell amongst his top 30.
Rightly so, he described Hanzell as “˜the birthplace of modern California Chardonnay’ as they were the first in the state to use temperature controlled fermentation and French oak barrels for ageing from its inception in 1957 which was unheard of at the time. So they are modern in terms of Californian winemaking, but the wines themselves have a wonderfully Burgundian feel. They make a stunning Pinot Noir too.
Hanzell Chardonnay 2009 – £251.00 per 6 inc-vat
“˜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. 90 points.‘