Walter Hansel's North Slope Pinot Noir shows tons of Russian River generosity in its rich, plush, and complex personality. On the same wavelength as Pinots from Paul Hobbs, Rochioli, and Kosta Browne, but coming to you at a much better price, this is another stellar North Slope Pinot Noir from a highly regarded vintage.
2021 Walter Hansel North Slope Pinot Noir
95 points Yours Truly | More big scores coming, I guarantee it!
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Last week, my staff and I had the opportunity to try three Walter Hansel Pinot Noirs, the Estate, the South Slope, and the North Slope. We liked them all, but we all agreed unequivocally that the North Slope was the leader of the pack. I proceeded to buy my distributor out of this cuvee, and I'm offering it up at a really good price....relatively speaking of course.
For fans of richer, fuller, and highly expressive Russian River Pinot Noirs, you need at least 1 bottle of this in your life. In Vintage 2021, a wonderful one for Sonoma County producers, Stephen Hansel's North Slope site yielded his most balanced and harmonious Pinot Noir. This one has got that "wow factor" that will please the pickiest of Pinot Noir palates.
Hansel was trained by Tom Rochioli, a legend of Russian River Pinot Noir. Tom taught Stephen that understanding his vineyards, his clones, and his various terroirs was just as important as understanding the chemistry behind making wine. Rochioli's lessons and advice obviously stuck with Stephen, and today, Hansel makes Pinots that compete and topple many wines that cost a lot more.
As Robert Parker said, "Some of the best values in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir emerge from Stephen Hansel’s winery in the Russian River Valley." Value is obviously a relative term, as I know $49.99 isn't exactly cheap, but this is a wine that consistently garners huge scores and glowing reviews from near and far. When you test this one out, I think you'll agree the price of entry is more than fair.
Just over 900 cases of the 2021 North Slope Pinot Noir were produced. Fermented and aged in high quality French oak barriques, the bouquet of this wine will take your breath away. Enchanting aromas of Morello cherry, plum, black raspberry, exotic spices, and earth explode out of the glass, and the palate is even better. Ripe, rich, and regal, this is a bigger Pinot Noir for sure, but it glides across the palate with deep and satisfying flavors and fine-grained tannins. There is an overall sense of balance and harmony here that I find downright enchanting.
We have had tremendous success with Walter Hansel wines over the years, and I guarantee you we'll have similar results with this exquisite Pinot Noir. Cheers and keep drinking the good stuff in the AVL! I strongly suggest you not think about this one too long, because it will be gone in no time.
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Owner, Operator, Wine Monger
Table Wine Asheville