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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
Red fruit aromas of pomegranate, Bing cherry, cranberry and raspberry along with wet slate, cherry tobacco, orange peel and baking spices emanate from the glass. On the palate, this juicy, complex pinot reflects the red fruit character of the nose with the addition of rose petal and bay. Structurally balanced and elegant, this vintage is drinking beautifully now, but is certainly a great candidate for cellaring for years to come.
94 Points - James Suckling
A very alluringly floral nose here with dried roses, leaves, bergamot and plenty of red cherries on offer, leading to a very fresh and succulent palate that delivers such intense and focused fruit flavor. Accurate. Drink or hold.
93 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Pale to medium ruby, the 2016 Pinot Noir has a gregarious nose of red licorice, Bing cherries, dried cranberries, rhubarb and warm red berries with notes of earth, tea leaves and cola. The light to medium-bodied palate is softly structured with good fruit intensity, juicy acidity and lots of spices coming through on the long finish.
91 Points - Wine Spectator
Steeped tea details accent the dried berry and ripe cherry flavors. Shows lilting spiciness, with forest floor notes on the finish.
Product size: 750ml