- Item #: i_200740Bottle Size: 750mlJames Suckling: 92JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Aromas of plums, strawberries and hints of toasted oak and smoke. Medium to full body, creamy tannins and an attractive, bitter, smoky finish. Some citrus, too. Drink now. Screw cap."
- Item #: i_207300Bottle Size: 750mlThis wine combines full and captivating aromatics with a delicate texture that defines the Balletto style of Pinot Noir. The wine itself is full of contradictory forces: it's weighty with a luscious mid-palate, but also surrounded by notable tannins and acidity that keep it focused, balanced and taut. It has plenty of dark fruit, but it's also layered with savory earth and spices that offset it.
- Item #: i_202610Bottle Size: 750mlThe Russian River Valley is recognized as one of the world's most ideal regions for growing Pinot Noir. Just a few miles from the Pacific ocean, the Russian River Valley benefits from natural air conditioning in the form of cool and often foggy air that arrives in the evening, then retreats the following morning. The result is a longer growing season which allows Pinot Noir to develop full flavors while retaining its natural acidity. The unique soils of the region also contribute exponentially to the quality of the wine grapes grown in them. Over millions of years water flowing off the mountains has carried with it eroded volcanic deposits and ancient, uplifted bedrock, while the Russian River has deposited large amounts of alluvial material to form prime benchlands.
This wine has a ruby-red color with sparkling garnet highlights, followed by aromatics of wild blackberry, Santa Rosa plum and strawberry with hints of oregano, sage and white pepper. Ripe on the palate with raspberry, boysenberry, black-fruit jam and warming spices, this finishes with moderate acidity and velvety tannins.
- Item #: i_212240Bottle Size: 750mlMade by Michael Browne (formerlly of Kosta Browne), this Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has aromas of violet, hibiscus, and dried rose petals. Subtle notes of light earth, ripe cherry, allspice and aged tobacco leaf. The palate has layers of black cherry, dark plum and lightly candied apple. A mouth-watering red-velvety texture, with lively acidity, a combination of soft and grippy tannins and a full mouth finish, centered on the mid-palate.
- Item #: i_220280Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsFor us, DuMol sets the benchmark for Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Year after year, winemaker Andy Smith makes seamless, wonderfully textured, and downright delicious Pinot Noirs from this iconic region, and they always seem to be one of the best Pinots we taste all year! Yields are small, which means production is small, but that also means better wine!
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir Wester Reach has a medium ruby color and a nose of cranberry sauce, blackberries, cinnamon stick, forest floor, black tea leaves and accents of potpourri. Made entirely with free-run juice, the medium-bodied palate bursts with juicy berry fruits, perfumed and fresh, finishing very long."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "As with the Chardonnay, the 2018 Pinot Noir Wester Reach goes out to distribution only as opposed to being offered through the mailing list. As such, it's made in reasonable quantities, and there are 4,000 cases of the 2018. Lots of spice box, foresty, earthy notes, spring flowers, and a core of black raspberry fruit all give way to a more medium-bodied, elegant, silky wine that has no hard edges, ripe tannins, and the class to shine for 7-8 years. It's a beautiful wine as well as a terrific introduction into the wines of DuMOL."
- Item #: i_219330Bottle Size: 750MLWine Spectator: 93If this label looks familiar, it's because it comes from the same owners as Far Nientte, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce! Their first release was the 2007, and while we're always a bit skeptical of Cabernet producers dabbling in Pinot noir, one taste left us wanting seconds, thirds and fourths! Now that the 2012 has dropped, it is every bit as good as its predecessors. En Route owns two fantastic Pinot Noir properties: Graton Vineyard and the highly-esteemed Amber Ridge Vineyard! Both vineyards are planted to several different clones for added complexity and nuances.
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Rich, with voluptuous dark fruit flavors and Asian spice accents. Dark cherry and plum tart notes dominate, showing hints of cassis. Cedar and sandalwood details emerge on the creamy finish. Drink now through 2025."
- Item #: i_218400Bottle Size: 750mlPinot Noir is rarely this characterful or complex at a such an accesible price point. Chalk it up to a secret True Sonoma Coast vineyard source and the remarkable 2018 vintage, but we can't help but carry the flag on this one! Loaded with a ton of juicy red and black fruit and accented with subtle asian spice and just the right amount of high quality French oak, this inaugural bottling is already very pleasing and we're certain it will reward some near to mid-term cellaring (if you can keep your hands off it). Sonoma Coast Pinot lovers will not want to miss this delicious gem.
- Item #: i_219950Bottle Size: 750mlThis blend marries eight vineyards from around the Russian River Valley, taking advantage of varied climates and unique site characteristics to create a rich and complex wine. The Rochioli and Bacigalupi vineyards are located in the Middle Reach Subdivision, where close proximity to the river awards foggy mornings, warm and sunny days, and cool nights. The Toboni and Nonella vineyards are located in the Santa Rosa Plain, a distinctly cooler and foggier sub-region, and the Hallberg and Dutton sites within the Green Valley sub-appellation exibit even more extreme and cooler conditions.
Opening up with an intoxicating bouquet of brandied cherries, raspberry panna cotta and rose geranium, the 2018 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir lures you in to discover layers upon layers of aroma and flavor. The initial scent of juicy red fruits and floral herbs linger on the nose while subtle hints of clove, cocoa butter and creamy caramel swirl in the glass. The palate explodes with the taste of cranberry chutney, Hibiscus tea and vanilla beans with undertones of ginger snap cookies and dark cocoa nibs. The underscore of vibrant acidity and silky tannin make this wine perfect on its own or with a variety of different foods.
- Item #: i_233880Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of fruit from the Kanzler Estate, as well as Walker Station, Mes Filles, and Wind Horse vineyards, this 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir wine is opulent and rich while still displaying great freshness. The classic silky Pinot texture is more chocolate mousse than heavy whipping cream, and the tannins show enough grip to hold and frame the wine without being bitter or obtrusive. The high percentage of once-used barrels imparts a subtle oak characteristic that enhances and compliments the fruit and spice character. After opening for several hours, exotic sweet-spice notes reminiscent of liquors in the Vin Santo or Fernet range begin to appear, further enhancing the intrigue and complexity of this Pinot Noir.
- Item #: i_236380Bottle Size: 750MLScented with sweet SPICE, ripe CHERRY, dark CHOCOLATE and coffee bean. Flavors of fresh black plum, subtle layers of TOASTY oak and tobacco leaf. Richly textured, supple tannins, lingering exotic spice finish.
- Item #: i_238820Bottle Size: 750mlLynmar's 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir showcases the purity and vibrancy of the region with nuanced texture and bright aromatics. At its core, this wine is comprised of Lynmar's three Russian River Valley vineyards (Quail Hill, Susanna's and Adam's), along with neighboring properties that share their same viticultural philosophies.
A brilliant rose color in the glass, this wine exudes juicy aromatics of baked strawberry, dragon fruit and cherry cola. A focused but generous entry on the palate leads way to tastes of cherry juice, ripe red plum and baking spice culminating in lively tannins and a persistent finish. Enjoy upon release.
- Item #: i_275597Bottle Size: 750mlMartinelli's Bella Vigna label is curated from all of their estate vineyards in the Sonoma Coast appellation. They wanted to create an appellation blend that reflects the characteristics of their Sonoma Coast vineyards and is still true to our Martinelli style. Bella Vigna translates to "Beautiful Vines", so their winemaking team chose barrels that best denote the flavor profiles of their vineyards, showcasing how beautiful the fruit from the Sonoma Coast can be. The 2018 Bella Vigna Pinot Noir has a nose of dried cherry, licorice, and blueberry and ripe flavors of mouth-coating strawberry and dried cherry.
- Item #: i_229610Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93Vinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "The largest production cuvee is the 2018 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, which comes from multiple sites and was aged 9 months in 43% new French oak. Readers looking for a great introduction into the wines of the estate can't go wrong here. Medium ruby, it has beautiful aromatics of raspberries, black cherries, and strawberries, loads of spice, violets, and underbrush nuances, medium to full body, good acidity, and a silky, seamless texture. It's beautifully done and well worth seeking out. Drink it any time over the coming 7-8 years."
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2018 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley) will show readers just how immensely appealing the 2018 vintage is for Pinot Noir. Rich, boisterous and inviting, the 2018 has so much to offer. An explosion of floral and spice notes leads to a core of juicy fruit as this super-expressive, inviting Pinot shows off its considerable allure. It is a real overachiever in this range."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "Made with about 10% whole cluster, the 2018 Pinot Noir has a medium ruby-purple color and a nose of cranberry sauce, rhubarb, tea leaves and earth with a spicy undercurrent. Medium-bodied, it's concentrated and grainy with appealing juicy fruits and a long, lifted finish. 7,612 cases produced."
- Item #: i_273604Bottle Size: 750MLThis wine has complex yet delicate nose of white pepper, fig reduction, black raspberry, cardamom and prosciutto. Layered and packed with fruit, it is round with powdery tannins that are both balanced and concentrated.
- Item #: i_228280Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95Vinous Media: 94To put it bluntly, if you enjoy balanced, flavorful, and complex Pinot Noirs, then 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 has written 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 this Pinot Noir is virtually guaranteed to rock your world!
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS – "Medium ruby-purple, the 2018 Pinot Noir South Slope has gorgeous aromas of blood orange, cracked pepper, cranberries and red and black cherries loaded with earthy, amaro-like nuances. The medium-bodied palate is silky, fresh and uplifted, its concentrated fruits refreshed by loads of spicy accents, and it finishes long and detailed."
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS – "Once again, Stephen Hansel has turned out a gorgeous set of wines. I consider these to be reference point Pinots and Chardonnays that capture the essence of what the Russian River is all about. In some vintages, the wines can lean towards exuberance, but in 2018, that natural Russian River generosity is tempered by the style of a vintage marked by a cool, long growing season. Hansel's long-standing commitment to making first-class wines and keeping prices exceptionally fair is admirable."
"The 2018 Pinot Noir The South Slope Vineyard is a super-classic Russian River Pinot built on textural richness and volume. Ripe red cherry, blueberry, spice, mint and licorice infuse the 2018 with striking layers of nuance. A wine of substance and power, the 2018 is going to need a bit of time to unwind. It is maybe just a bit less refined than some of the other Pinots in the range, but it holds quite a bit of appeal, especially for readers who like big Pinots."
- Item #: i_271760Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Notes: "In the glass, Amarena cherry and berry notes are immediately apparent. The aromas are layered and so tightly interwoven that the fruit components, dried herbs, and other earthy elements create a Zen-like harmony. The palate is equally balanced with equal parts texture, length, and breadth which come together and flow seamlessly across the tongue. On the finish, berry flavors and tangerine notes mix with minerals and creates a wonderfully delicate loamy sensation."