91-94 Points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

92 Points Vinous 

REVIEWS

The 2015 season resulted in tiny clusters and small berries with production levels off by a minimum of 25%. The following 2015s will be bottled unfined and unfiltered. The 2015 Chardonnay Cahill Lane is made from 100% Old Wente clone and planted in one of the few areas of his vineyard that has adobe-clay soil intermixed with sandy Goldridge material. The yields tend to be relatively large, so Stephen Hansel crop-thinned by at least 30%. The result is a big, beautiful wine that reminds me of a Corton-Charlemagne. Plenty of deep, poached pear, white peach, nectarine, tangerine oil and caramelized citrus are all present in ths wine that shows virtually no oak, full body and loads of texture. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.
-- 
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate


The 2015 Chardonnay Cahill Lane Vineyard is a terrific wine that brings together the richness of the year with a good bit of nuance and overall complexity. The Cahill Lane impresses for its balance and overall harmony.
--
Vinous 

WHY WE LOVE IT
  • BLEND
    Chardonnay
  • APPELLATION
    Russian River Valley
  • ALCOHOL
    14.40%
  • SIZE
    750ml
  • AGING/COOPERAGE
    30% New French
  • PRODUCTION
    1064 cases produced
  • FRUIT

  • BODY

  • ACIDITY

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. 
--Robert Parker 

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 STORY TO KNOW

From the Winery: My father, Walter, loved to grow everything from kiwi to oriental pears and more. In the 1970's he enlisted my help to plant 257 chardonnay vines. Throughout the 1980's our entire family would harvest the half acre of grapes and my father and I would make the wine; filling two barrels, which equaled 50 cases of wine.

Initially these wines were hard to drink, but with the help of my friend, Tom Rochioli, I developed a passion to understand everything about the vineyards and the process of making wine. This passion influenced my quest for growing World-class wines. Since our first commercial vintage in 1996, I have learned with every harvest that you must listen to vine; react to Mother Nature and ALWAYS compromise quantity for quality.

One of the most unique aspects of Walter Hansel Winery is that no one works full time in the Winery. The team works the winery; the bottling line; and also fill and ship your orders to your home or office. The significance of this is that when they are working the vineyard, which requires many tedious and boring tasks, they understand how these vineyard jobs translate into world-class quality wines. By working the winery and shipping the wines, they take ownership and pride in every bottle.