95 Points – Wine Advocate, December 2013 “Slightly better is the 2012 Chardonnay North Slope, which comes from California clones 95 and 76. Made from much smaller yields than the Cahill Lane, it sees about 40% new French oak, and reveals terrific fruit intensity along with a full-bodied mouthfeel, a good underlying wet gravel-like character, and loads of peach, pineapple and honeysuckle notes. The wine exhibits a light green hue to its color (which I always consider a positive). It can be drunk over the next 5-7 years.” “Combining quality with reasonable prices and estate-grown grapes, you can’t do much better than Stephen Hansel’s Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. He has also recently opened an excellent bistro called Walter Hansel Wine and Bistro at the site of a venue previously known as Zazu on Guerneville Road in Santa Rosa. Sadly, it officially opened the day I flew out of San Francisco. The 2012 Chardonnays had just been bottled when I tasted them, and the Pinot Noirs were all tasted from barrel. Hansel has over 40 acres of Pinot Noir planted with four separate clones. His wines tend to spend one year in oak prior to being bottled. They are always 100% destemmed, enjoy a 5-day cold soak, and around 60% new Francois Freres oak barrels are used during the aging process. Malolactic is always done in barrel rather than tank. The clonal material largely comes from Tom Rochioli’s holdings on the West Side Road in Russian River. The Rochioli clone is occasionally supplemented by the Swan clone and several of the more modern French Dijon clones such as 115 and 777.” -Robert Parker Jr.