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Walter Hansel North Slope Pinot Noir 2016

  • RP94
  • V94
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
The 2016 Pinot Noir The North Slope is medium ruby-purple in color and scented of crushed red plums, mulberries and black cherries with touches of baking spices, violets and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied, it offers bags of rich berry flavors in the mouth with a sexy, plush texture and scintillating freshness, finishing long.
V 94
The 2016 Pinot Noir The North Slope Vineyard is polished, succulent and refined. Bright red and purplish fruit, blood orange, spice and rose petal notes are all woven together in this very pretty, mid-weight Pinot. The North Slope is pliant and supple, like all these wines are, but with notable finesse.
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Walter Hansel

Walter Hansel

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Walter Hansel, California
My father, Walter, loved to grow everything from kiwi to oriental pears and more. In the 1970's he enlisted my help to plant 257 chardonnay vines. Throughout the 1980's our entire family would harvest the half acre of grapes and my father and I would make the wine; filling two barrels, which equaled 50 cases of wine. Initially these wines were hard to drink, but with the help of my friend, Tom Rochioli, I developed a passion to understand everything about the vineyards and the process of making wine. This passion influenced my quest for growing World-class wines. Since our first commercial vintage in 1996, I have learned with every harvest that you must listen to vine; react to Mother Nature and ALWAYS compromise quantity for quality.
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Russian River

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A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

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Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

STC849062_2016 Item# 515564