You can quibble with the price, but there’s no doubt about the quality of this Zin. It’s extraordinarily deeply flavored, offering waves of wild cherries, cola, anise, molé sauce, pepper spice and sandalwood, wrapped into profoundly fine tannins, and with a long, dry finish. Drink this near-perfect Zinfandel over the next six years.
A tremendous Chardonnay. As always, the winery’s ’09 is bone dry, crisply acidic and minerally. You might call it austere at this point, with its tart finish of grapefruit. But a great Hanzell Chardonnay will improve for at least a decade, possible two, and this is a great Hanzell Chardonnay. The score reflects what the wine likely will be approximately eight years…
Among California’s First Growth Pinots, Hanzell’s ‘04 is marked by a full-bodied, austere density that demands time in the cellar. It’s a very dry, fairly tannic wine, rich in ripe crushed black cherry, red cherry candy, tobacco, cedar and spicebox aromas and flavors that are impeccably balanced. Really defines the terroir of the estate, and should develop well…
A gorgeous nose of blackberry, cedar, and cinnamon opens seamlessly into the robust yet elegant palate. Rich cassis, licorice, and cinnamon-toast flavors abound and the mouthfeel is suave. The tangy finish shows dusty tannins, big chocolate and black-cherry flavors. Well structured, it needs three to five years; should age well.
From the famed Monte Rosso Vineyard Ed Sbragia has crafted a wine that needs time in the cellar. Strong, hard tannins shut down the currant and cherry fruit, making the wine astringent. But it’s a very fine mountain Cab, and will reward aging. Should begin to be approachable by 2010, and continue developing for many more years.
Dramatic, powerful flavors of blackberries and cassis liqueur explode in this wine—the classic markers of great Cabernet Sauvignon. At the same time, it shows softly refined tannins that make it firm but drinkable now. With a long, spicy finish, it shows considerable complexity. Best now; it will gradually lose fruit for another 6–7 years.
Irresistible aromas of blackberries, dark chocolate, kid leather and smoky oak are pure pleasure. In the mouth, there’s great depth of flavor, with juicy plum, pepper and dark berry notes. The sappy, silky-smooth texture is classic Pinot, while a long, rich, spicy finish indicates a long life ahead for this balanced, wonderful wine.
With Pinot Noir, the magic trick is to have it taste sweet and ripe, and yet to finish bone dry. Few wineries in California accomplish this as regularly as Hanzell, and here they come again, with this wonderful 2008. It’s entirely consistent with their past history, being dry, a little tannic and tantalizingly rich in cherry, raspberry and cola fruit. Enjoyable now…