Hanzell Vineyards in California’s Sonoma Valley was founded in 1957 by James David Zellerbach, a member of the family that owned the paper products manufacturing company Crown Zellerbach Corp. Zellerbach had been a diplomat in Europe where he developed a taste for the wines of Burgundy, and his idea was to make similar wines in California. He bought 25 acres in Sonoma Valley and combined his wife Hanna’s name with his to come up with “Hanzell.” Some wine historians say Hanzell’s 1956 Chardonnay may have been the first in California to be made with new French oak barrels. After Zellerbach’s death the winery was sold several times, and it is now owned by the de Brye family. The winery is still best known for its Chardonnays and Pinot Noir.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.