Another beautiful small-production Pinot Noir from Walter Hansel who continues to make a small amount of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay down the road from Kistler, at unbelievably sane prices. Limited.
96 Points Robert Parker: "Medium ruby-purple in color, the Walter Hansel 2018 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce opens slowly to alluring aromas of smoked cranberries, red cherries and black raspberries laced with licorice, bergamot and dried lavender. The palate is medium-bodied and super silky with addicting freshness, absolutely packed with layered, detailed flavors, and it finishes very long and elegant. Wow! 1,012 cases produced."
...Some of the best values in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir emerge from Stephen Hansel’s winery in the Russian River Valley. He also has the wonderful Walter Hansel Wine & Bistro on Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa. Hansel reduced the crop size by 20%-30% through crop thinning in 2014 because of irregular berry size and improved the level of concentration. All of the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are bottled unfiltered."
Alyce was Stephen Hansel's Mom and she was the life of the party. There is a section of vineyard right in the middle of the North slope where the soils are very heavy adobe clay resulting in the vines struggling to produce a crop more than 1 ton to the acre. It is a field blend of clone 777 and 115. This minimal crop yield tends to produce wines that are big, rich, "over the top" flavors; perfect for "Alyce."
95 points - new release
Walter Hansel's Cahill Lane (uses the same the Old Wente clone as Cuvee Alyce Chardonnay) is a beautiful, hand-crafted 100% Chardonnay from one of our favorite boutique producers down the road from Kistler. Limited.
94 Points Robert Parker: "The Walter Hansel 2018 Chardonnay Cahill Lane has very pretty scents of quince and baked apples with notes of crushed hazelnuts, beeswax and white blossoms. The medium-bodied palate is satiny and packed to the gills with concentrated, layered flavors, and it finishes long with bright freshness calling you in for another sip. 907 cases produced."
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The Walter Hansel 2018 Chardonnay Cahill Lane Vineyard offers a compelling interplay of richness and energy. Lemon confit, almond, dried flowers, sage and chamomile are all laced together in this very pretty, understated Chardonnay from Hansel. The natural richness and texture of Wente Clone Chardonnay emerges nicely over time."
...This is an enviable winery run by Stephen Hansel with exceptionally high-quality Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that he sells at modest prices, which speaks to his humility and commitment to serious wine consumers. There are more than 80 acres of estate, so it is not small, split evenly between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He breaks the cuvées down by their vineyard terroir/site."
The 2018 North Slope Chardonnay is another great chardonnay release from Walter Hansel. Limited.
94 Points Robert Parker: "The Walter Hansel 2018 Chardonnay North Slope Vineyard is scented of toast, flit and roasted almonds with a core of baked apples and touches of honey. The medium-bodied palate is fresh and satiny, slowly unfolding its savory flavors and finishing very long. 910 cases produced."
92 Points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The Walter Hansel 2018 Chardonnay The North Slope Vineyard is one of the more overt, textured wines in this lineup. Apricot, orange peel, spice and butter infuse the 2018 with attractive layers of nuance. Silky, open-knit and super expressive, the 2018 will drink well right out of the gate. Readers should expect a generous, unctuous style....
...The Hansel wines capture the essence of the Russian River in their exuberant, forward personalities. In my view, the Chardonnays are reference points for what Wente clone Chardonnay is all about. Quality is high across the board and pricing remains incredibly consumer friendly throughout the range, making these some of the most delicious and compelling Sonoma wines readers will come across."
Walter Hansel's Estate Pinot Noir is a beautiful, hand-crafted wine from one of our favorite boutique producers down the road from Kistler. Only made 300 cases produced. Limited.
94 Points Robert Parker: "The 2018 Pinot Noir Estate, aged in 60% new François Frères barrels, has a medium ruby color and aromas of cured meats, red and black cherries, graphite, dried earth and tobacco leaves. The medium-bodied, satiny palate explodes with concentrated earth- and spice-laced fruits, gently grainy, super fresh and finishing very long and uplifted. 861 cases produced...
...Some of the best values in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir emerge from Stephen Hansel’s winery in the Russian River Valley. He also has the wonderful Walter Hansel Wine & Bistro on Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa.92 Points Antonio Galloni (Vinous): "The 2018 Pinot Noir The Estate Vineyard bright, floral and super-expressive. Rose petal, lavender, red/purplish berry fruit and spice open up in a mid-weight, nuanced Pinot loaded with personality. The Estate has so much character. Readers will find an understated, beautifully restrained Russian River Pinot. Floral notes reaper on the finish, adding lift. This is such a pretty wine."