To put it bluntly, if you enjoy balanced, flavorful, and complex Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, then the Walter Hansel Winery should be on your radar...plain and simple! Winemaker Stephen Hansel crafts masterpieces year-in and year-out from his family's 75+ acres in Russian River Valley, creating Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that remind us of premier cru Burgundy.
The Russian River Valley is regarded as one of the best regions in the world for growing top notch Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. For that reason, it is not uncommon for prices to exceed $75-$100 for a bottle from some producers...but not this producer. Stephen Hansel knows that if wineries keep charging elevated prices, then people start to look elsewhere. Even esteemed wine critic Antonio Galloni states that "these are some of the most fairly priced wines readers will find anywhere in the world."
So here we have somebody who makes wines from one of the best regions in the world, doesn't make a lot of them, he gets high scores from the critics, and charges reasonable prices?? Folks, if this doesn't get your attention, then check your pulse, because Walter Hansel Winery has been one of our favorite Sonoma County producers for over a decade, and the wines are guaranteed to rock your world!
ROBERT PARKER 94 POINTS - "'Pricing is important to me,' says Steven Hansel. 'In the marketplace, most people treat wine like a commodity—if people are willing to pay $100, that's what it's sold for—without any relation to what it actually costs to make. If we're going to get young people to drink wine, they can't pay those prices. I believe young people would like to enjoy wine, but they don't have the resources. So, why are we raising prices? If we charge too much, they'll buy tequila or something else—and then we're all out of a job.' An astute observation. The Hansel wines, besides being delicious, provide excellent value. Bravo!"
"The 2017 Pinot Noir Cuvee Alyce is pale to medium ruby-purple with scents of warm cinnamon, spiced cranberry sauce, orange peel, dried roses, tea leaves, warm earth, crushed strawberries, blackberries, saline and woodsmoke—so many layers! It's medium to full-bodied and floods the mouth with warm fruits laced with classy new oak spices. It has a frame of fine, grainy tannins and wonderful juicy freshness, finishing very long and layered. So good! 938 cases produced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "This is a superb set of wines from Stephen Hansel. In my view, the Hansel Chardonnays and Pinots are quintessential expressions of the Russian River Valley. Best of all, these are some of the most fairly priced wines readers will find anywhere in the world."
"The 2017 Pinot Noir Cuvee Alyce is showing very well, especially considering its recent bottling. Dense, pliant and juicy, the Cuvée Alyce has much to offer. A rush of dark raspberry, pomegranate, blood orange, mint and wild flowers builds in a deep, beautifully layered Pinot from Hansel."