2014 Walter Hansel "Estate" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1299759 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Pinot Noir Estate is another realistically priced wine from Stephen Hansel and is a super value with its sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, allspice, subtle background oak and a medium to full body. It is a beautiful wine made mostly from Rochioli cuttings and a small amount of the Joseph Swan clone. Like most of these Pinot Noirs, it sees about 60% new French oak and the rest used barrels. All of these Pinot Noirs are bottled unfined and unfiltered just like the Chardonnays. (RP)  (10/2016)

92 points Vinous

 The 2014 Pinot Noir The Estate Vineyard is a fabulous entry-level wine that captures the essence of this great Pinot Noir vintage. The aromatics are bright and precise, qualities that carry through to the palate, where the fruit is dark and intense, yet also beautifully delineated throughout. Succulent dark cherry, plum, mint, spice and lavender are all pushed forward. This expressive Pinot will be immensely pleasurable young, but it also has enough energy and freshness to drink well for several years. It is so refreshing to taste with proprietor Stephen Hansel. At a time when so many of the world's best wines are increasingly unaffordable for the normal consumer, Hansel has kept his prices decidedly reasonable. As I have written before, Hansel's wines epitomize what the Russian River does so well; namely rich, butter Chardonnays and forward, juicy Pinots. Hansel reports that his vines set a very large crop in 2014, so he reduced yields by 20-30% for Chardonnays and as much as 60% for the Pinots. The results are in the glass, especially in 2014, which is so strong for Pinot. Hansel captured every bit of that magic with a range of striking Pinots that are among the best I have ever tasted here. (AG)  (2/2016)

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Price: $35.99
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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.