Handley Cellars Tasting

Following my trip to California, I now get stupidly excited when a little piece of California is brought into the office as it brings back so many incredible memories!

Today's tasting was hosted by Lulu McLellan, part of the Handley family, who own and run Handley Cellars in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino.


I remember from my trip what a beautiful, rural and cool climate area Mendocino is, and Lulu echoed this. Their estate is around 10 miles from the coast and 3 hours north of San Francisco.


Lulu's mother, Milla Handley, was making wine as a hobby in a little basement with grapes that she had bought from various wineries. She then won a gold medal so in 1982 her father, a real estate developer, decided to build a winery in so that she could expand her winemaking possibilities and realise her full potential! And to this day, Lulu's mother is still the winemaker at the estate putting her feminine stamp on the wines!


Riesling 2012
2012 was a dream vintage, so it's no surprise that this is as good as it is! Zippy and aromatic with a bright lime and stone fruit nose, which knits seamlessly with zesty and citrusy fresh fruit on the palate. Fun, with sweet fruit, spice and playful acidity. Deliciously long and refreshing length. 7.5% residual sugar.


Chardonnay 2011
Single vineyard. Lightly oaked so beautiful butterscotch nose with peachy, vanilla hints too. Spicy and elegant with a mineral soaked core. Staggering balance!

Pinot Noir 2009
Made from half estate grown fruit and a blend of fruit grown throughout the Anderson Valley which results in a wide range of ripening, creating a more complex wine. Gorgeous feminine nose drenched in red fruit, deliciously cool and elegant in the mouth with outstanding purity and intensity of blackberry, cherry and raspberry flavours all wrapped in velvet! Phenomenal balanced and great use of gentle oak.


Pinot Noir 'RSM' 2010
From a 7 acre single vineyard, planted by Lulu's late father in 2000. The wine is an homage to him, and named after his initials.  The vineyard is planted on acidic soils on very steep slopes in the Redwood Forest, so it's protected from the wind meaning the grapes ripen quicker. Very seductive nose of cherry, toasted oak and sweet spice leads to serious concentration and rich fruit on the palate! It simply rolls around the mouth with layers of black fruit and spice.

It's a stunningly good range of wines which further deepen my love for California wines! The wines have bright acidity and are less robust with lower alcohol levels than many Californian wines have, because of their cool climate growing conditions. As Lulu put it, her mother creates wines with wonderful balance, that are accessible to all but still offer something for the more curious - I have to say that I can't agree more!


Thank you to Lulu for visiting us to share your family's story and delicious wines!


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Posted on 14/03/2014
by Danielle
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