Glistening and bright with citrus peel (mostly grapefruit) and bread dough aromas of yeast and wet flour. Subtle flower aromas lift the pear and apple scent and the honeyed, oily richness that develops with bottle age is just beginning to emerge upon the wine’s release.
For the 2005 Chardonnay the winemaking was unchanged from the traditions of Bob Sessions’ three decades as winemaker. Bob’s techniques are not typical, and as this was my first vintage making the wine, I was curious to learn how Hanzell Chardonnay distinguishes itself in the company of other California Chardonnays. Hanzell’s recipe is unique: grapes are crushed before pressing, fermentation occurs in tank rather than barrel, new oak barrels are used only moderately, and malo-lactic fermentation is largely suppressed. The winemaking is so traditional as to be, in an odd way, iconoclast and new. Stylish Chardonnays created for exuberant ripeness, buttery richness and dominant oaky flavor do not allow a sense of place to show. The Hanzell recipe honors a lighter winemaking touch and permits clarity of expression. The wine is about place rather than ingredients. The winemaking is traditional, but intentional.