Walter Hansel The Estate Vineyards Pinot Noir 2021, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California

Walter Hansel Winery and Hansel Family Vineyards in the Russian River Valley has become well known for unique Burgundian-styled Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Walter Hansel was a lifelong wine lover who first planted vineyards in 1978 just down the road from Kistler and Dehlinger. At Walter Hansel Winery, the emphasis is on low yields (which range from 1.5 to 2.7 tons/acre), precise viticulture and non-interventionist winemaking. Stephen Hansel (Walter’s son) exercises strict control in the vineyards, producing beautiful – vineyard designated Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. All of Hansel’s fruit is hand-harvested. Stephen makes an average of 9 passes through each vineyard including one pass just to pull the second crop. Each pass is time consuming and expensive but Stephen feels the vine rewards him with more concentrated flavors. Upon arrival at the winery the fruit is scrupulously sorted. Only natural yeasts are used during fermentation. The Pinot Noirs are destemmed and fermented in open top fermenters. The resulting wines are beautifully balanced combining complexity and finesse.