The 2014 Pinot Noir Estate is another realistically priced wine from Stephen Hansel and is a super value with its sweet cherry and raspberry fruit, allspice, subtle background oak and a medium to full body. It is a beautiful wine made mostly from Rochioli cuttings and a small amount of the Joseph Swan clone. Like most of these Pinot Noirs, it sees about 60% new French oak and the rest used barrels. All of these Pinot Noirs are bottled unfined and unfiltered just like the Chardonnays. (RP)
The 2014 Pinot Noir The Estate Vineyard is a fabulous entry-level wine that captures the essence of this great Pinot Noir vintage. The aromatics are bright and precise, qualities that carry through to the palate, where the fruit is dark and intense, yet also beautifully delineated throughout. Succulent dark cherry, plum, mint, spice and lavender are all pushed forward. This expressive Pinot will be immensely pleasurable young, but it also has enough energy and freshness to drink well for several years. It is so refreshing to taste with proprietor Stephen Hansel. At a time when so many of the world's best wines are increasingly unaffordable for the normal consumer, Hansel has kept his prices decidedly reasonable. As I have written before, Hansel's wines epitomize what the Russian River does so well; namely rich, butter Chardonnays and forward, juicy Pinots. Hansel reports that his vines set a very large crop in 2014, so he reduced yields by 20-30% for Chardonnays and as much as 60% for the Pinots. The results are in the glass, especially in 2014, which is so strong for Pinot. Hansel captured every bit of that magic with a range of striking Pinots that are among the best I have ever tasted here. (AG)
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