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2012 Walter Hansel "North Slope" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1184258 92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The 2012 Pinot Noir North Slope is made from Dijon clone 115. Beautiful black currant and black cherry fruit aromas along with subtle wood spice in the background soar from this rich, full Pinot. It seems to be even more intense than the Three Rows. Drink this beauty over the next decade. Combining quality with reasonable prices and estate-grown grapes, you can’t do much better than Stephen Hansel’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs... Hansel has over 40 acres of Pinot Noir planted with four separate clones. His wines tend to spend one year in oak prior to being bottled. They are always 100% destemmed, enjoy a 5-day cold soak, and around 60% new Francois Freres oak barrels are used during the aging process. Malolactic is always done in barrel rather than tank. The clonal material largely comes from Tom Rochioli’s holdings on the West Side Road in Russian River. The Rochioli clone is occasionally supplemented by the Swan clone and several of the more modern French Dijon clones such as 115 and 777. Inner quote mark (12/2013)

93 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2012 Pinot Noir North Slope is a big step up from the South Slope, which is remarkable, as the two parcels are separated by just four feet at the closest point. A rich, textured wine, the North Slope fleshes out with magnificent depth and power. Dark red and purplish toned fruit, smoke, tobacco and bacon all add complexity, but it is the wine's total sense of harmony that truly stands out. This is a gorgeous wine from Hansel, and an even better value. Stephen Hansel is one of the most intelligent winery owners in Sonoma. More interested in getting people to drink his wines than in maximizing short-term profit, Hansel continues to offer some of the very best wines readers will find for the money. In particular, the Estate Chardonnay, $25 a bottle, is surely one of the best values in wine. The Hansel wines capture the essence of the Russian River in their exuberant, forward personalities...After the large crop of 2012, Hansel dropped a significant amount of fruit in 2013, roughly 60% of the Pinot crop and 30% of the Chardonnay crop. 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. Stephen Hansel also runs a number of successful car franchises in the area and clearly has a knack for putting the consumer first. What's not to like? Inner quote mark (1/2015)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Outer quote mark Brilliant ruby-red. Oak-spiced red and dark berry scents expand with air and pick up notes of cola, sassafras and rose. Sappy and penetrating, offering energetic blackberry and bitter cherry flavors that deepen and become spicier in the glass. Finishes smooth and long, with supple tannins providing grip and gentle acidity lending lift and detail. Inner quote mark (6/2014)

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Price: $39.99
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By: Michael Jordan | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/24/2015 | Send Email
Walter Hansel wines have had a huge following at K&L as long as I can remember. The consistent quality year after year makes it one of those wines you can always feel comfortable buying. The 2012 North Slope is no exception. A complex Pinot Noir with a blend of red and blue fruit infused with sassafras,smoked meat and cinnamon. Just a touch of cedar and a perfect balance of acid makes this an enjoyable wine that will last for another 5 years but perfect to drink right away.

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