2003 Walter Hansel Winery Pinot Noir Cahill Lane (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)

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California, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, USA


Popped and poured. Dark ruby to garnet color. Tremendous nose of plum, cherry, spice, wet/fallen leaves, and believe it or not…truffle. Sensational on the palate with great cherry and berry fruit, massive structure and solid acidity, all in perfect balance. What’s particularly impressive about this wine is its dry extract and structured frame leading into a cherry filled finish. In my book, this is some of the best Pinot from CA. I do have to point out though that this wine clearly has some noticeable brett, so folks who are brett-averse should avoid this bottling (think 1990 Montrose…some love it, some hate it…I love 1990 Montrose). I have noticed that 2003 was the last of Stephen’s “rustic” vintages. As of the 2004 vintage, wines seem to have gotten “cleaner” and I can no longer detect brett.

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I am not a professional wine taster, nor do I have any professional training in the wine trade. I am a wine enthusiast who has spent countless hours tasting wines of many different styles. My palate is not aligned with a single wine critic, and I call all wines "as I taste them". My site is a source of tasting notes and wine recommendations as well as warnings without conflict of interest. You'll just have to figure out how your palate aligns with mine. My palate generally tends to veer towards Old-World wines that put a premium on terroir and lovely balance and finesse, rather than raw power...please keep that in mind as you read my notes.

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