January 13, 2007

2002 Walter Hansel Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

This was a wine that cleaved Cat and I. I really liked it. Cat, not so much. It definitely had some interesting qualities, and after pouring our glasses it really wasn't that great. I decanted it and let it sit for awhile. When I came back to it I was pretty happy. The flavors were full with lots of jammy berry type flavors (I hate the way that sounds, but that is what I tasted). The nose is definitely earthy, and almost a little bit smoky. The flavors lasted a long time on the tongue and were very elegant. Ultimately, this turned out to be a really nice wine... it just needed some time to reveal itself.

Here's the deal with this winery. It is a true "family vineyard and winery." Walter Hansel planted the original vines for the vineyard in the Russian River Valley back in 1978. This was a labor of love for Walter. Today, his son Stephen runs the winery and is the wine maker. This is a good thing as he has been very well steeped in how to make incredible pinot noir. I read somewhere that he studied with a great recognized wine maker, but I cannot remember who it was. Whoever it was, it was a good investment. This vineyard is focused on low yield, quality fruit. Everything is hand picked, and there is tremendous focus on the craft of making wine. This is no quantity operation, and it really shows in the quality of the wine. I read that the first wine that Stephen Hansel made was done in his garage. I love stories like that. Apple Computers started in a garage. Some really great music came out of garages. The garage may be my favorite room in a house.

I thoroughly enjoyed this bottle of wine and was sad that Cat didn't groove on it. The more for me, I guess. Look for the single vineyard pinot noirs from this winery, I am sure they are excellent. I'll be reviewing a couple in the coming weeks.

cost - $33.99

winecommando rating (1-10) - 9

No comments: