Mission Codename Alyce in Wonderland
Walter Hansel IN DA HOUSE!
Yes, the one Robert Parker hyped up as “Situated down the road from Dehlinger and Kistler, this estate is on fire, producing Burgundian-styled offerings… if readers have not yet tasted the wines of Walter Hansel, they are missing some stunning wines.”
Do you like your Pinot boisterous, DEEP, polished? Intense, explosive? A stunner for sure!
Do you also hate paying upwards of $75+ for the style?
Well, well, slaps bottle this bad boy can pack all that deep, intense fruit in the back with room to spare in your wallet.
A unicorn of a bargain - not that it should need it. Walter Hansels outstrips the competition even at full-blown retail. Most gets scooped up by their mailing list.
This is understandable when praise abounds, as Vinous says “Steve Hansel turns out delicious, affordable wines that capture the essence of the Russian River. These Chardonnays and Pinots are rich, boisterous and full of personality.” While Wine Advocate agrees, adding that “the Hansel wines, besides being delicious, provide excellent value. Bravo!”
Cuvée Alyce is a flagship in the lineup, as Mr. Hansel explains “Alyce was my Mom and she was the life of the party. There is a section of vineyard right in the middle of the North slope where the soils are very heavy adobe clay resulting in the vines struggling to produce a crop more than 1 ton to the acre. It is a field blend of clone 777 and 115. This minimal crop yield tends to produce wines that are big, rich, ‘over the top’ flavors; perfect for Alyce!”
This wine consistently hits in the 93-96-point range with the aforementioned critic. Luckily that has not happened - yet. Which is why and how we get a shot at it today at a ridiculous price. An early impression by Vinous reporting that “the 2020 Pinot Noir Cuvée Alyce is a boisterous, explosive wine. There’s good depth and plenty of intensity…”
Strawberry and cherry jam? Yup. Fresh soil and forest floor? Check. Spices, savory herbs, licorice and a nice blend of oak? All aboard! Antonio was right, it’s Explosive indeed, with a Lush, forward style. But it never teeters overboard, and still retains great acidity with everything in perfect balance. Truly a delight to drink, and one of our favorite Pinots tasted recently.
The only bad news? Very little to be had.
What the Winery Says
2020 'Cuvée Alyce' Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
- Stephen Hansel
- 100% Pinot Noir
- Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
- 12 months
- 100% new French oak