Second winery on day two in Sonoma was Hanzell Vineyards with Whitney. Third wine was the Hanzell Chardonnay, which is their flagship Chardonnay bottling. All the fruit comes from five of their estate vineyards with an average age of 29 years; de Brye, Zellerbach, Day, Ramos and Ambassador's 1953 vineyards. This bottling is fermented in a mix of stainless steel (62%) and new French oak barrel (38%), the later goes through lee stirring for two months. Aged for a total of twelve months in neutral French oak with all barrel fermentation going through malolactic.
Medium to medium plus lemon yellow with a slight golden hue. Lovely Chardonnay nose with layers of stone, tree and tropical fruits followed by an interesting note of herbal tea like chamomile and honeysuckle. A touch of citrus zest and brioche. Some more mouthwatering acidity on this bottling from Hanzell (7/10) with a medium plus body. Rich palate with a touch of butter, citrus, honeysuckle and some white stone fruits. A nice creamy mouthfeel with a long, lingering finish. Drink till 2032. (93+)
$$$ - Tasted at the winery. Retail price is $78.00. — 2 months ago
The 2016 Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru comes from the bottom and mid-slope part of the vineyard and is aged 100% in used demi-muids. It is blessed with one of my favourite bouquets from Laroche this year: beautifully entwined scents of white flower, oyster shell and gunflint, touches of wet granite and struck flint coming through with aeration. The palate is very well balanced with crisp acidity, the wood exquisitely enmeshed with the fruit and delivering a wonderful, precise, slightly nutty, smoky finish. Superb! (Neal Martin, Vinous, August 2018) — 2 days ago
The 2016 Chablis Grenouilles Grand Cru has a clean and precise bouquet with granite and flint aromas mixed with pressed white flowers, red apple and Conference pear. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, taut and linear, open and one of the most generous 2016 from Droin at this early stage. In fact, you could almost drink this now, especially to savour upon the long spicy aftertaste. This is a deeply satisfying, quite involving Grenouilles from Droin. (Neal Martin, Vinous, August 2018) — 2 days ago
First winery on day three traveling from Sonoma to Napa Valley was Pride Mountain Vineyards with Paul. First wine was the Carneros Chardonnay. This bottling is made up of 100% Chardonnay from three vineyards within the Carneros region of Napa Valley. Aged for a total of eight months in 25% new French oak, of which seven months are on the lees. Only 1,900 cases produced.
Medium lemon yellow in appearance. Fruity nose with white apricot, kiwi, green apples, a touch of butter and some gravel. Medium acidity (6.5/10) and medium bodied. Tons of spices and baked apples on the palate followed by a touch of zestiness and gravel. Long finish. Drink till 2023.
$$ - Tasted at the winery. Retail price is $42.00. — 2 months ago
Second winery on day two in Sonoma was Hanzell Vineyards with Whitney. First up was the Sebella Chardonnay Winemakers Selection, which is a special bottling that differs from their regular Sebella bottling found in distribution. All the fruit used in this bottling is from their estate vineyards and made up of the younger vines (planted between 1996 and 2003). Aged for around 6 months in neutral oak with no malolactic fermentation.
Bright medium yellow. Lighter fruits on the nose with elements of stone fruits, and a touch citrus as well as some green apples and honeysuckle. Medium plus acidity (7/10) and medium bodied. Solid minerality throughout the palate with some stone fruits, lemon, white flowers and a little touch of spice. Lingering finish. Drink till 2027.
$$ - Tasted at the winery. Retail price is $36.00. — 2 months ago
Second winery on day two in Sonoma was Hanzell Vineyards with Whitney. Second wine was the Hanzell Farm Chardonnay The Ramos Selection, which is a part of their Farm Series. All the fruit used in this bottling is from the Ramos Vineyard Block. Aged for around nine months in neutral oak with no malolactic fermentation.
Intense lemon yellow. Powerful nose with tons of lemon and lime zest followed up by some tropical fruit nuances, honeysuckle, lychees and some wet gravel. Mouthwatering acidity (7/10) and medium bodied. Layered palate with an attack of orange marmalade, green apples, chalky minerality, stone fruits and tanginess throughout. Long and lingering finish. Drink till 2028.
$$$ - Tasted at the winery. Retail price is $68.00. — 2 months ago
The 2016 Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru has attractive flint and smoky scents on the nose, very classic and traditional in style but conveying a sense of energy and focused. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, a more understated Les Clos than its peers but demonstrating more precise and just more Chablis-like characteristics. This is a well crafted Les Clos that will repay cellaring. Tasted blind at the BIVB Chablis tasting. (Neal Martin, Vinous, August 2018) — 2 days ago
First winery on day two in Sonoma was Donelan Family Wines in Santa Rosa with Meredith. First up was the Nancie Chardonnay which is named after Tripp and Cushing's grandmother. It is made up of 100% Chardonnay from four vineyards with Sonoma County. The first two are from on top of Sonoma Mountain, then the third is from 30+ year old vines in the Russian River Valley and the last is from Green Valley. Aged for 10 months in 20% new French oak. 1,947 cases produced.
Medium to light golden yellow. Creamy nose with lemon curd, red apples, vanilla beans and a touch of stoniness in the finish. Medium plus acidity (7/10) with a lean medium body. Crisp attack on the palate with some yellow tree and stone fruits and a little bit of a creamy texture. A touch sharp in the medium plus finish. Drink till 2022.
$$ - Tasted at the winery. Retail price is $48.00. — 2 months ago
Just a brilliant bottle of Chardonnay!
The nose is just a wonderful bouquet of hazelnut, two-season old but recently split oak, warming red apple and some wet stony aspect I can't quite pin.
The palate is creamy and understated oak, apple, mineral-y Chardonnay fruits with perhaps a squeeze of lemon.
This is very good, incredible value at $28! I'm really digging this AOC, value-city here, both the whites and the reds drink as well as their counterparts in more well-known regions, but at a value savings of +30%, Monthelie I adore thee!
24hr Update: Fully stable, almost no change, beautiful still. — 4 days ago
The 2016 Chablis Les Clos "Clos des Hospices" Grand Cru has a more complex and intellectual bouquet than the regular bottling with scents of dried honey, white chocolate, almond and light hazelnut aromas. The palate is well balanced with a fine thread of acidity. This is still quite oaky in the mouth but there is more than enough fruit to absorb that, plus it fans out beautifully on the finish with notes of white peach and dried quince on the aftertaste. Excellent. (Neal Martin, Vinous, August 2018) — 2 days ago