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Overview of the Wine
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.
Currently revitalizing Hanzell with a regenerative organic farming and ecosystem focused program, Jason Jardine is continuing the legacy of innovation and dedication to quality that the Zellerbachs began. Not to mention they currently care for and benefit from the oldest producing Pinot Noir vines in the Western Hemisphere.
Grape / Blend
100% Pinot Noir
Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California
Winemaker's Tasting Notes
The complex aromas of dried cherry, blackberry bramble, orange peel, cherry tobacco, cedar, sandalwood, cardamom, pink peppercorn and forest floor give a decidedly autumn impression. Amazingly silky across the palate with sweet red fruits on the mid-palate, plenty of fine textured tannins and a long toasty finish. This is one of the most elegant and approachable Hansell Vineyards Pinot Noirs in recent memory
92 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Pungent layers of earthiness, a mix of black tea, compost, clove and forest pine, are at the forefront of this structured, densely packed red. The fruit in this wine shows a lean tart slice of wild strawberry and cranberry. The body is structured and elegant, with plenty of complexity for aging. Enjoy 2020–2024. Cellar Selection
92 Points - Burghound
A slightly more elegant if not quite as ripe nose offers up cool and airy aromas of pure red pinot fruit, spice and rose petal. I very much like the sleek and again sophisticated mouth feel of the medium weight flavors that are shaped in relatively fine tannins on the focused, intense and sneaky long finish. Lovely stuff that could also be enjoyed now or held for further development.
91 Points - Wine & Spirits
An early harvest and a generous crop produced this red-fruited beauty, its bright cherry flavors wrapped in the smokiness of new oak. This vintage is directly fruity, though the fruit flavors are delicate and clean, as transparent as a veil. It’s a wine that should age with grace.
Product size: 750ml