This is a gorgeous, pure Russian River Valley Pinot which we tasted last month and loved, especially for its respective price. Walter Hansel was a lifelong wine enthusiast who had the vision to plant his estate's original 250 vines in 1978. Today, Stephen, Walter's son, has taken up where his father left off, pursuing his vision of producing world-class Burgundian-styled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, all from the Russian River Valley. Steve Hansel's friend, famed winemaker Tom Rochioli, helped him in the early stages of his wine education by inviting him to work a couple of harvests at the Rochioli vineyards. Steve performed his first solo attempt in 1996 out of his garage. At Walter Hansel Winery, the emphasis is on low yields (a miniscule range from 1.5 to 2.7 tons/acre) for greater complexity. Since all their grapes are grown on their own property, they can exercise strict control in the vineyards, which are planted with 5 Pinot and 5 Chardonnay clones. Each clone was chosen for its specific acid and flavor variations. "The 2017 Pinot Noir Estate, aged in 60% new François Frères barrels, is pale to medium ruby-purple and offers pretty aromas of spiced cranberry sauce, clove, dried orange peel and black tea leaves with shaved nutmeg, raspberry and strawberry preserves, blackberries and dried flowers. Medium-bodied and very silky with loads of ripe, spicy fruits, it has juicy acidity and soft, grainy tannins, finishing long and very spicy. Give this another couple years in bottle." 644 cases produced.