Named after Stephen Hansel’s mother, the 2012 Chardonnay Cuvee Alyce receives the same oak treatment, but is a selection from a field blend of Hyde, Old Wente and 95 clonal material. Yields were modest due to tiny berries and clusters. A stunning perfume of white currants, quince, peach marmalade and mango is followed by a full-bodied, multi-dimensional, ripe, well-delineated Chardonnay with good acidity, subtle oak and a long, 35-second finish. Drink this beauty over the next 7-8 years. Combining quality with reasonable prices and estate-grown grapes, you can’t do much better than Stephen Hansel’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. (RP)
Bright yellow-gold. Expressive aromas of poached pear, peach, honey and smoky lees, with a mineral note in the background. Fleshy, broad and concentrated, offering bitter pear skin, pit fruit nectar and ginger flavors and a touch of buttered toast. Finishes on a smoky note, with excellent thrust, clarity and spicy persistence. An ample but delineated chardonnay that has the heft to handle strongly seasoned, rich foods.
Butter, tropical fruit, exotic flowers and pastry notes meld together in the 2012 Chardonnay Cuvee Alyce. Voluptuous and layered in the glass, the 2012 impresses for its fabulous balance of nuance, definition and intensity. Resonant and creamy on the palate, the Cuvee Alyce is a great example of Russian River Chardonnay. When I think about estates that embody the essence of the Russian River Valley, Hansel always comes to mind, as the Chardonnays and Pinots are pure expressions of the richness and generosity typical of this part of Sonoma. The Chardonnays are fermented in barrel, with less stirring, and bottled after about 10 months in oak, while the Pinots are made from fully destemmed fruit and also see about the same amount of time in barrel followed by a few months in tank prior to bottling. The 2012 Chardonnays were bottled in August 2013 and the Pinots were bottled in November and December 2013. Best of all Stephen Hansel has retained a focus on value in his pricing that is commendable. Simply put, these are some of the most consumer friendly wines readers will come across anywhere in California.
2014 Paul Hobbs "Edward James Estate" Russian River Valley Chardonnay (Previously $70)
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