James Zellerbach founded this winery, planting Chardonnay on the hills above Sonoma in 1953. Those vines now give an elegant wine, its fruit textured by oak aging rather than flavored by it. There's a waxiness and creaminess to the wine, the fruit at first simple, then developing flavors of fresh apple and peach. It tastes generous and clean, best decanted if opened now and served with blanquette de veau. Or cellar it through 2010.
** Cellar Selection ** I have tasted a number of bottle-aged Hanzell Chardonnays, and when properly cellared from a good vintage, they are totally amazing. This is likely to be such a wine, but right now, it's tight, tart and earthy, with hints of peach. It's not a mind blower, but is a Chard for those serious about their cellars. Best after 2010.
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