2011 Walter Hansel "Cuvee Alyce" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1161962 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2011 Pinot Noir Cuvee Alyce is drop-dead gorgeous. Less overt than is often the case, the 2011 has a level of crystalline purity and sheer finesse that is remarkable. Nuanced, chiseled and bright throughout, the 2010 stands out for its beautifully delineated flavors, expressive inner perfume and terrific overall balance. I have a preference for the 2011 when tasted alongside the 2010. This is a great showing from the Stephen Hansel. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020.  (4/ 2013)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby-red. Dark berries and cherry cola on the highly perfumed nose and palate. Musky licorice and herb nuances come up with air, along with a suave vanilla quality. Closes sweet and long, with gentle tannins and lingering smokiness.  (6/ 2013)

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Price: $38.99

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By: Mulan Chan-Randel |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/9/2014  | Send Email
The 2011 Cuvee Alyce from Walter Hansel is both charming and delicious! Bright cherry fruit nuances, tempered by just a touch of black tea and dried floral notes make for an intriguingly complex Pinot Noir from the RRV. And while (in my opinion) California Pinot Noirs often drop the ball when it comes to a requisite amount of acidity and structure, the Cuvee Alyce does not. The finish on this juicy yet fresh red wraps up nicely, and leaves me wanting to take another sip!
Drink from 2014 to 2017

By: Michael Jordan |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/8/2014  | Send Email
Not another Walter Hansel e-mail? Yes, another one. What can I say, the consistently excellent wines produced is incredible. Many producers struggled with the 2011 vintage. Not Walter Hansel. In fact, this could be the best Cuvee Alyce they have ever produced. Pure dark red and blue fruit with a lovely floral nose. Flavors of cola, vanilla, forest floor and rhubarb lovingly scattered throughout. Gorgeous now but can age for 2-4 years.

By: Scott Beckerley |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/8/2014  | Send Email
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Although I am strongly biased towards the wines of Walter Hansel, this one is the best Pinot that I have tried from this estate. It has bright and balanced red and black cherry fruit, minerality and lush mid-palate balance. It finishes up with lingering acidity and spice. This likely the most Burgundian California Pinot Noir that I have had, ever. Robert Parker was not wrong in giving this 94 points, so buy it while we have it.

By: Steve Bearden |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 5/8/2014  | Send Email
This amazingly consistent bottling hits the mark yet again. Sweet cherries, wild raspberries, fresh herbs and a damp forest quality are all present in this broad, fruity and earthy wine that finishes with a long, leesy vanilla tinged finish. This is supple, fresh, velvet textured and delicious right now.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.2