Walter Hansel Cuvée Alyce Pinot Noir 2016
Alyce was my Mom and she was the life of the party.
|Region||California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley|
Wine AdvocateProduced primarily from Dijon cone 115, but also 777, the 2015 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce is another blue and red-fruit dominated wine, but with notes of rose petals and violets. It is more closed than the other Pinot Noir and seems to be almost pushing to get out of its relatively structured mouthfeel. This is intense, rich, more backward and probably has a significant upside, but will need several years of bottle age on release next year. The 2015 Pinot Noirs are still in barrel, hence these notes are all barrel samples. This was the earliest harvest for Stephen Hansel in more than a generation and the yields were frightfully low, averaging 40% off their average production that is never that high to begin with. All of these Pinot Noirs enjoy a 5-6 day cold soak and tend to see 50%-60% new oak and the rest one-year-old oak. They are set to be bottled unfined and unfiltered in November 2016. This is an enviable winery run by Stephen Hansel with exceptionally high-quality Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that he sells at modest prices, which speaks to his humility and commitment to serious wine consumers. There are more than 80 acres of estate, so it is not small, split evenly between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. He breaks the cuvées down by their vineyard terroir/site.
VinousJust as it was last year, 2015 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce is decidedly flamboyant. There is not a ton of subtlety here, but I am not sure that really matters much at all. The Alyce expresses all of the intensity and raciness that are such signatures of Russian River Pinots. Plush fruit and soft contours add to the wine's undeniable allure.