Industrialist James D. Zellerbach acquired the 200-acre Hanzell estate on the Mayacamas slopes above the town of Sonoma in 1948, and in 1952 he planted 2 acres of Pinot Noir and 4 acres of Chardonnay on the site. The Ambassador's ambition was to create a small vineyard and winery dedicated to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Zellerbachs created the first vintage in 1957 and named their winery Hanzell, a contraction of Mrs. Hana Zellerbach's name.
There is a sweet-savory quality to the aromas with the black cherry fruit being complemented by scents of juniper berries, orange peel, teriyaki and forest floor. The flavors are a little darker and ripe with flavors of blueberry, plum and cocoa as well as brandied cherries. Ample mouth-coating tannins have a gentle, velvety quality, but leave no doubt that this will be a very long-lived wine.
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