Hanzell Vineyards was founded by Ambassador James D. Zellerbach, in the 1950s. The Ambassador's ambition was to create a small vineyard and winery dedicated to the best traditions of Grand Cru Burgundy: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of extraordinary quality and great longevity. Hanzell's wines have proven to stand the test of time, many drinking well for 30+ years. A very uncommon fete for most wines, and especially uncommon for California Pinot Noir.
Wednesday night, a few friends, including Rowdy and Borderick, graced Chez Dude with their presence for some food and wine and to root on our local boys on Top Chef. The 1976 Hanzell was one of our bottles. It was a pleasure.
The wine was amazingly deep and robust-red in the decanter. Notes of dusty tart cherry and earth on the nose. First blush, wow...is this a '76. Deep, sweet fruit is bordered by dusty, tannic structure that really clamps down on the backside. There is a beautiful weight to the palate; amazing for a 33 year old CA pinot. The wine unfolded in the decanter and rounded out over the course of the night. Still drinking well two hours on...Profound in its own way. A+ for the experience.