2005 Walter Hansel Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Cuvée Alyce

I had this wine a couple of weeks ago on the same night we tasted the Montelena Chardonnay. When I first tried it, I wasn’t sure what to think… After the crisp subtlety of the Montelena wine, this one hit me over the head with its flavours in comparison.

The more I tasted of it though, the more it grew on me. It’s an amazingly complex bottle of wine, tossing up more flavours per sip than just about any wine I’ve had in recent memory.

It all starts with the nose… and what a nose it is. It has toasty oak, which gives a big dose of vanilla… and then the fruit. What it made me think of were honey toasted oats with pear slices and hazelnuts.

A thick and juicy sip gives honey, melon, hazelnut, and a lightly lemony mineral-edged finish… and that finish goes on for minutes. It’s a memorably tropical Chardonnay. I really liked it.

This is one for the New World Chard fans. If that’s you, I’m sure you’ll love this wine.

$70 at Kitsilano Wine Cellars.

4 1/2 stars

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