2019 Walter Hansel Winery Pinot Noir, Cahill Lane Vineyard – A Tale of a New Friendship

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Pinot Noir is an elusive grape and difficult to make into a wonderful wine. A good friend of mine always stated “Pinot Noir is either wonderfully delicious or absolutely skunky bad”. I thought he might be overstating his affection or hatred of the wine, but I have grown to appreciate his position. After trying so many Pinot Noir wines, there is very little in the cellar, even though I vehemently seek to find a solid one!  While I have found a few in the “stratosphere pricing range”, it is difficult to find one in the more every day category.

I recall a similar conversation with another friend from Scotland, who helped me find a solid whisky. He mentioned that a typical Scotch drinker finds just one or two that “hit the mark” and stay with it. Many years ago after a golf match, we tried sips of 12-14 Scottish whiskies. Finally found just one and I have not wavered since discovering my seldom enjoyed new drink from Scotland, but when we do meet up, we are very good friends!

(Photo ©Michael Kelly)

Many recommendations have been given to me and tried, but I finally found one last evening! The 2019 Walter Hansel Pinot Noir, Cahill Lane Vineyard hit a bullseye with my palate profile for Pinot Noir. Not an earth shaker in the $100 and up range, but a solid aromatic and tasteful Pinot Noir in the mid $40’s. A big shout out and thanks to my friend Jim Denham of The Wine Steward in Pleasanton for this recommendation.  I have had many of Walter Hansel Chardonnay’s and was never disappointed.

The 2019 Walter Hansel Pinot Noir, Cahill Lane Vineyard was also not disappointing. I have often compared the contrast between Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. Cabernet Sauvignon being the 300+ pound defensive lineman in football (bold, heavy and strong) versus a Pinot Noir with the grace and finesse of a world class ballerina (light, airy and graceful). Last evening as I poured the wine into the glass, I was wondering which direction this would take. Only purchased this one bottle, but now can imagine bringing in a few more to the cellar. First on the eyes, a lovely purplish color, semi-translucent in depth of color (picture does not show this). On the nose aromas of blooming roses and strawberries. On the palate, fresh firm strawberries and red cherries surround the mouth as the primary flavors. Secondary and slightly hidden scents of vanilla and clove are present. The finish is a mild and comfortable acidity as it danced down the throat with a brightness. The current vintage is 2020 and is listed at $46/bottle on their website.

So it is with great pleasure I introduce you to my new friend, Walter Hansel Vineyards Pinot Noir, Cahill Lane Vineyards!






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