2013 Hansel South Slope Pinot Noir
Hansel’s harvests are always carried out by hand and the fruit is hand-sorted and completely de-stemmed before fermentation on native yeasts in open-topped vats. Cooperage varies with each vintage and cuvée, but the wines are aged in a calculated mixture that allows a maximum of 25% new French oak with the remainder maturing in one and two-year-old barrels to suit the individual needs of each wine. Today’s 2016 is noteworthy for its subtle oak component, allowing fruit and earth to take center stage: In the glass, it’s a medium ruby with hints of magenta at the rim, leading with ripe wild berry fruits: blackberries, raspberries, and just about every other berry you might pluck off a prickly bush. High-toned aromas of violets and roses are balanced with savory bass notes of warm spice and forest floor, and while the wine doesn’t lack for concentration, it has a lithe and energetic quality to it that bodes well for aging (5-10 years at least). I don’t intend to wait, however: Decant this about 30 minutes before serving at 60-65 degrees in Burgundy stems with lighter meats or richer fish; baked salmon gets my vote this time, but there are a million ways to go. Enjoy!