Williams Selyem

Owner(s) John Dyson, Kathe Dyson
Web site www.williamsselyem.com
 
Link to this site
Williams Selyem

Burt Williams and Ed Selyem were among the first "garagiste" Pinot Noir producers in Sonoma County and their wines reached such heights of excellence that their own popularity eventually drove them out of the business in 1997. Their interesting story has been well-detailed in the PinotFile.

A friend of mine, Paul Root, who owned a wine retail store in Healdsburg for years, was one of the first retail outlets to carry the Williams Selyem wines, at a time when the label read, "Hacienda Del Rio," the original name of Burt and Ed's winery. Burt and Ed would show up twice a year with a pallet of their current releases in the bed of a pickup truck and unload the ENTIRE TRUCK at Root's receiving door. Customers would always ask Paul to describe the wines prior to purchasing (even by mid-1980 standards the wines were a bit expensive and also relatively unknown). Paul would say, "Strawberry jam and buttered toast and far more complex than their delicate color would lead you to believe. They have a finish you can time by a stopwatch, and an aftertaste that is sublime. They are like riding a bicycle without having to pedal!" Paul laughs, "I don't think anyone knew what the hell I was trying to say. You had to taste them yourself to understand."

In 1997, Burt and Ed sold the winery (really they sold just a name as they owned no vineyards or winery) for nine million dollars to businessman John Dyson and his wife Kathe. Dyson had been on the Williams Selyem mailing list for years and loved the wines. Dyson brought on winemaker Bob Cabral to work with a small team of other winemakers, built a 33,000-square-foot winery and hospitality center which opened in 2010 on a hillside off Westside Road (reportedly at a cost of $15-$18 million), planted vineyards (they now own 70 acres of estate vineyards), sought out new vineyard sources, and kept the Williams Selyem flag flying high.

All business and administrative operations, aging, blending, barrel storage and bottling are in the new modern winery facility as of 2011, with crushing and fermenting at the old Allen Ranch winery for continuity. Westside Road has been called the Rodeo Drive of Pinot Noir, and it now has a winery that fits the Beverly Hills image. The striking two-story front on the winery is constructed of steel, wood framing and glass and is decorated with salvaged redwood from the old Almaden Winery in Cienega Valley, CA. An arching barrel-shaped roof display stacked, empty barrels and in the reception area, a dramatic wall of bottle glass covers one wall and horizontal rows of Williams Selyem bottles line the other. The production part of the facility is in back, and sunk into the ground with a roof planted to native grasses to assist with energy conservation. The five barrel rooms are independently heated, cooled and humidified. The winery's most innovative technology is its interconnected hydronic heating and cooling system.

The wines do not duplicate the old Williams Selyem style, rather they are riper and richer with more color. Fermentation is still carried out in stainless steel open-top dairy tanks that Burt and Ed designed, using the Williams Selyem yeast strain that was isolated from a Zinfandel ferment in 1984, and aging the wines in only one type of barrel (Francois Fréres). Most Pinot Noirs are fermented with 25% whole cluster. 75% new Francois Freres barrels with medium toast and toasted heads are used for Pinot Noir.

Cabral has focused primarily on California heritage clones, referring to Williams Selyem as a "Dijon-free zone." He finds the newer Dijon clones grown in the Russian River Valley reach high sugar levels before phenolic ripeness.

The estate Pinot Noir Vineyard (initially named Litton Estate, but changed to Williams Selyem Estate due to a conflict with another Litton Estate vineyard) is planted to Swan, Mt. Eden and Pommard clones adjacent Davis Bynum's original plantings, now named Baker Ridge, and next door to Arista Vineyards. A special small block was planted in 2004 and is winemaker Bob Cabral's pet project. The block contains 18 clones of Pinot Noir and all are harvested and fermented together with one barrel 25% whole cluster and one barrel 50%, both using indigenous yeast. The first vintage of Mass Selection, 2008, is only available at the tasting room.

A second estate vineyard, Drake Estate, is located at the site of a former orchard in Guerneville. With the 2010 vintage, a vineyard-designated Pinot Noir was added to the lineup from Burt Williams' Morning Dew Ranch Vineyard planted in 1999. The Morning Dew Ranch consists of 40-acres with 13 acres planted to Pinot Noir. Located in the northern end of the valley, the hillside vineyard is planted to Pommard, Dijon 115, and 777 clones, a Rochioli selection and a DRC suitcase selection.

Bob Cabral and Chris Bowland handle management of the 85 acres of estate vineyards.

Annual production has gradually increased to 15,665 cases and prices have crept up. 45% of production is estate grown. There are 4 appellation Pinot Noirs, 14 vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs, some special small lot Pinot Noirs only sold at the winery, as well as 3 Chardonnays and 5 Zinfandels. The wines are sold exclusively through a large mailing list, although by 2009, small amounts were made available to those who call to purchase. As of 2011, there is reportedly a 6 to 12 month wait for new members to joint the list. Once you purchase at least one bottle, you become a friend of the winery and stay on the mailing list. You are them entitled to visit the winery by appointment, do private tastings, stage a patio party, receive tours of the property, picnic, and have access to some the small production wines only available at the winery. At some point, the winery will be open to the public.

Articles About Williams Selyem

2012 California Pinot Noir All-Americans Honorable Mention (9.17 12/26/2012)
Burt Williams Tribute Dinner (8.36 4/26/2011)
Celebrated Vineyards Focus Tasting (7.24 8/28/2009)
Drinking Bigger (8.27 12/14/2010)
John Tyler Wines: Ageworthy Wines with Pedigree (9.4 3/21/2012)
On The Pinot Trail: Pigs & Pinot (8.13 4/8/2010)
On the Pinot Trail: WOPN 2010 (8.13 4/8/2010)
Part III: Fort Ross-Seaview AVA Today (9.28 8/14/2013)
Pinot Briefs (9.4 3/21/2012)
Pinot Briefs (9.21 3/23/2013)
Pinot Briefs (9.13 10/26/2012)
Pinots from the Edge (6.57 4/7/2008)
Reach for the Middle for Pinot Noir (8.26 11/24/2010)
Recent California Pinot Noir Releases (9.5 4/4/2012)
Russian River Valley Immersion Trip for the ¡Salud! Oregon Wine Auction (9.9 7/21/2012)
Sips of California Pinot Noir (9.18 1/19/2013)
Sips of Recently Tasted California Pinot Noir (9.34 12/17/2013)
Small Sips of California Pinot Noir: Just Drink It (7.3 10/1/2008)
Small Sips of Sonoma Coast (6.63 8/4/2008)
Small Sips of the Russian River Valley (6.63 8/4/2008)
Summa Vineyard (9.9 7/21/2012)
Tasting Aged Williams Selyem Pinot Noir: Bottled Surprises (9.38 2/22/2014)
Tasty Pinots from the Russian River Valley (6.51 1/20/2008)
Weir Vineyard: Getting to Know Winegrower Bill Weir and the Pinot Noirs from His Very Special Vineyard (9.29 9/5/2013)
Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard: A Description & Vertical Tasting (9.38 2/22/2014)
Williams Selyem: A California Icon (8.11 2/15/2010)
Winemaker Burt Williams: An Extraordinary Intuition for Crafting Pinot Noir (8.36 4/26/2011)
Winemaker Burt Williams: An Extraordinary Intuition for Crafting Pinot Noir (conclusion) (8.36 4/26/2011)
Winemaker Burt Williams: An Extraordinary Intuition for Crafting Pinot Noir (cont'd) (8.36 4/26/2011)

Reviewed Wines

2011 Williams Selyem Eastside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $52. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of dark red berries, bramble, green herbs, geranium and earth. Medium weight flavors of dark red and black berries and silky smooth in the mouth with soft tannins. A little green, earthy flora riff is evident in the background. Noticeable finishing length. Score: 86. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Calegari Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $55. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Elevating aromas of Bing cherry, spice, toasted brioche and woodshed. Strikingly soft and ephemeral on the palate with juicy flavors of black cherry, cola and spice. Modest in concentration, with very supple tannins, and a pleasing finish of some length. Plenty of Pinot singing in this delightful wine. Score: 92. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Foss Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% a;c., $55. This vineyard is located on Westside Road just north of Williams Selyem. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Dreamy nose that draws you into the glass with aromas of spiced Bing cherry, cola and dark red rose petals. Ambrosial flavors of black cherry, red and black raspberry and spice on a moderately rich frame with supple tannins and a silky, raspberry-infused finish of considerable persistence. Beautifully balanced and extremely soft and smooth on the palate. Quintessential Russian River Valley character but with a lighter, immensely appealing light footprint reflective of this vintage. Score: 94. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $58. · Medium reddish-purple robe. Very shy nose with demure aromas of cherries and berries and a hint of spicy oak. Modest in weight but flavorful, with tastes of black cherry, black raspberry, dark chocolate and cola. The tannins are reigned-in and there is a delightful vein of underlying acidity bringing the wine to life. The finish is crisp and refreshing. Currently, the aromatics are lagging the flavors, but there is potential down the road. Score: 90. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $65. · Moderately dark reddish-purple hue in the glass. This captivating wine really requires study to reveal all its many nuances. Aromas of blackberry, ollaliberry, spice box and toasty oak. Flavors are complex and varied, including earthy dark berries, tar, spice box including cinnamon, fennel, and seasoned oak. Sappy, with a noticeable mid palate grip and tenacity, and a long finish. Beautifully balanced for long term aging. Score: 93. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Block 10 - Mass Selection Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $75. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose unfolds beautifully over time in the glass, offering lovely aromas of fresh blackberry jam, earthy flora, and oak. A gorgeous wine with layers of flavor and nuance fanning out over the palate. Earthy black plum, red and black cherry and dark raspberry flavors are enlivened by bright acidity which lifts the orgasmic finish. Even better the next day from a previously opened and recorked bottle with an even more generous display of Pinot goodness. Extraordinary. Hold short or long term. Score: 95. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Burt Williams’ Morning Dew Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $75. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose is filled with hi-tone strawberry, cherry and baking spice aromas. Vivid and flamboyant on the palate with discreetly concentrated and sappy flavors of dark red cherries and berries and a hint of spiced purple plum. An enchanting wine with a velvety mouth feel, balanced tannins, bright acidity, welcoming finesse, and an extremely long and intense finish that will leave you saying, “Oh man!” In my opinion, Williams Selyem’s best Pinot Noir. Burt’s legacy lives on in his vineyard. Score: 94. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $75. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy but pleasing aromas of black cherry, spice and brioche picking up intensity and interest over time in the glass. A plethora of sweet, mouth coating black cherry and plum fruit is balanced by a good grip of acidity and muscular tannins. Plenty of cherry goodness on the generous, soprano finish. Inviting potential here, but this wine needs more time in the cellar. Score: 92. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $79. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. This wine veers to the ripe side with aromas of blackberry, black currant and spice, and flavors of darker cherry, berry, plum and tobacco-laced oak. Very easy to drink with a silky texture and gossamer tannins. Well-crafted with impeccable balance, but lacks some flavor intensity and inspiration. This vineyard performs best when the grapes reach full, very ripe maturity, but did not apparently in this cool vintage. Score: 87. Reviewed December 18, 2013 ARTICLE »

2011 Williams Selyem Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.46, TA 0.59, $100. Barrel aged 20 months in 79% new and 21% 1-year-old Francois Frères oak. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The initially bright aromas of Bing cherry, sandalwood and baking spice are subdued by oak over time in the glass. Mid to full-bodied flavors of ripe dark cherry, cranberry and cola with a noticeable imprint of dusty oak. The bright acidity lends grip and the tannins are tame. Much better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, showing better oak integration and more charm Hold long term. Score: 91. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Limestone Ridge at Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Chenin Blanc

12.8% alc., $25. Winery exclusive. Cold fermented in concrete egg-shaped fermenters imported from France. Fermented dry with no malo-lactic to capture the influence of the limestone soil in this block of the vineyard. · Aromas of petrichor and grapefruit lead to flavors of melon, pear and green tea. Refreshing zip of acidity on the clean finish. Very good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $49. Over 95% estate fruit. · Medium garnet color in the glass. A typical Middle Reach Russian River Valley offering with aromas and flavors of Bing cherries, dark red raspberries, and baking spice. Nicely crafted with moderate tannins, pleasing tension, and admirable balance. Good. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $49. Mostly Dijon clones (a rarity for Williams Selyem). · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Exotic aroma of wild berries, spice and woodshed. Moderately rich and impressively vivid black raspberry and plum core with an undertone of earth and minerals. Juicy and silky on the palate, with a well-honed backbone of acidity and tannins, finishing with generous persistence. Very good. Reviewed April 4, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Eastside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $52. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy nose initially, but opens nicely over time to reveal penetrating aromas of spiced plum, black cherry and white pepper. Tastes like the best plum sauce you ever had. Velvet-edged fruit with gentle tannins and a deep plum-infused finish that lasts more than 30 seconds. The whole package. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Westside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $69. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Slow to open, becoming more complex over time, offering aromas of black cherry liquor, spice, new leather, and cedar. Moderately rich essence of fresh Bing cherries with hints of cola, oak and spice. Beautifully crafted and very polished with a well-proportioned tannic backbone and an appealing finish of some length and good cut. Will benefit from another year in bottle. A special occasion wine. Reviewed March 21, 2012 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Burt Williams’ Morning Dew Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.5% alc., $75. · Moderately light in color with a reddish tinge. Generous aromas of dark red fruits, bark and maple syrup. Light and elegant in style, but not wimpy in pleasure, infused with rocket-powered flavors of red cherries and berries, blueberries, and tantalizing baking spices. The fruit is invigorated by lively acidity, framed by fine-grain tannins and full of vibrancy on the refreshing finish. I can’t say enough good things about this gorgeous wine. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $75. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Long and persistent scents of dark cherries and berries, bramble and exotic spices including clove. Moderately rich core of blackberry and black plum fruit with a floral and loamy earth undertone and reigned-in tannins. Good mid palate impression with an elegant citrus-fused finish that slips off the back of the palate like a silk sheet. Very good. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $78. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Appealing aromas of brandied black cherry, dark berry, spice and faint oak, building in intensity over time in the glass. Soft in the mouth with flavors of black cherries, cola and carmelized oak with a hint of spice. A bit shallow on the mid palate and finish, but a satisfying wine overall. Good. Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2010 Williams Selyem Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.49, TA 0.64, $100. Barrel aged 11 months in 35% new, 35% 1-year-old, and 30% 2-year-old Francois Frères oak. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. The nose draws you in with vibrant aromas of cherry pie glaze, cola, rose petal, spice and a hint of oak. The vivid, flamboyant dark cherry and black raspberry core is delicious. Noticeably seamless, with juicy acidity in this vintage, and modest, balanced tannins. The oak is flattering and the finish has striking length. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. A sublime wine that will benefit from decanting if opened now. Drink or hold long term. Score: 94. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2009 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $56. Aged 15 months in 65% new and 35% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. So aromatic you want to bottle the nose. Scents of dark cherries, spice and loamy earth with a slight savory tone. Very concentrated and flavorful, featuring dark berries, black cherries, cola and spice. Intense, eyebrow-raising, long, long finish. Fabulous. Drink or hold. Score: 97. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Williams Selyem Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.66, $100. Barrel aged 17 months in 69% new and 31% 1-year-old Francois Frères oak. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely aromas of black raspberry, black cherry, baking spice and vanilla wafer. Full-bodied, with a sweet, sappy core tasting of very ripe dark stone fruits and boysenberries, complimented by spice and oak in the background, and framed by substantial supporting tannins. The mouthfilling fruit is fresh and charming, leading to a finish of exceptional intensity and length. Could benefit from more bottle age to further integrate the tannins and oak but hard to resist now. Hold or drink. Score: 91. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Eastside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $49. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Wonderful aromatics flush with spicy cherries and strawberries. Delicious dark red fruits with nuances of Coca-Cola and spice, lingering on the finish. Very smooth and seductive in the mouth with enough tannic backbone to last. No oak crops up to spoil the party. Very close to the old Williams Selyem style and a wine that speaks Middle Reach loudly. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Eastside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., pH 3.60, $49. Released fall 2010. Composed of fruit from vineyards located along Eastside Road including Calegari Vineyards, Black Rose Vineyard, Lone Oak Vineyard and Foss Vineyard. Aged 16 months in 65% new and 35% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Wonderful aromatics flush with spicy cherries and strawberries. Delicious dark red fruits with nuances of Coca-Cola and spice, lingering on the finish. Very smooth and seductive in the mouth with enough tannic backbone to support longevity. No oak crops up to spoil the party. Very close to the old Williams Selyem style and a wine that speaks Middle Reach loudly. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $49. Winery visitor exclusive. Primarily from Drake Estate Vineyard (Pommard and clone 115) planted in 1998 with some contribution from vineyards along Westside Road. · Enticing aromas of candied cherries and mocha. Discreetly concentrated flavors of black cherries, cola and oak spice wrapped in soft, fine-grain tannins. Crisp and easy to like. Good (+). Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.0% alc., $49. Winery visitor exclusive. · Moderately concentrated flavors of dark cherries and exotic berries, with notes of toasted oak. Smoothly textured with an extended finish marked by a creosote aroma. Very slight smoke taint evident in this wine. Good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., pH 3.50 $54. Released fall 2010. This vineyard is located 1.5 miles north of Williams Selyem winery on Westside Road. Planted primarily to Dijon clones 667 and 777. Aged 17 months in 70% new and 40% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Aromas of Bing cherries, tarry oak, spice and oil. A medium-weighted cherry-driven wine with an herbal oak and smoky underpinning that I find unpleasant. Soft and delicate, with fine dry tannins and a respectable grip of acidity on the finish. I suspect I got a bad bottle. Decent. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.49, $54. Released fall 2010. This heavy limestone vineyard is located near Hollister in the Central Coast. Clones are Calera, Canada and Pommard. Aged 18 months in 70% new and 30% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Intriguing aromas of dark red fruits, plum sauce, rose petals and oak. An individualistic wine sporting bright acidity to bring the berry and red plum fruit to life. A subtle spice cake component adds interest. Very smoothly textured with slippery tannins making for an easy and pleasurable drink. Good. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $56. Aged 17 months in 65% new and 35% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, spice, earth, dark chocolate and sweet smoke. Middleweight flavors of wild berries and black cherries with a hint of tarry smoke. Balanced tannins with bright supporting acidity and a remarkable long and rich finish. The wine displays subtle signs of smoke taint and reportedly it underwent a filtering procedure in an attempt to remove the smoke taint which was somewhat successful. Drink. Score: 87. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $78. · Moderately light in reddish-purple hue in the glass. Shy, but very bracing aromas of red cherry and berry fruits with a hint of cut flowers and wintergreen. Flat-out delicious core of strawberry and black cherry cola flavors. Very smooth and sexy with a proper acid backbone to pitch the fruit. A seductive wine now, but needs more time to fully mature. All you can ask for in a Middle Reach Pinot Noir. Reviewed November 24, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., pH 3.50, $78 Released fall 2010. From a vineyard planted in the early 1970s. Aged 18 months in 60% new and 40% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Shy, but very bracing aromas of red cherry and berry fruits with a hint of cut flowers and wintergreen. Flat-out delicious core of strawberry and black cherry cola flavors that saturate the mid-palate. Very smooth and sexy with a proper acid backbone to pitch the fruit. A seductive wine now, but needs more time to fully mature. All you can ask for in a Middle Reach Pinot Noir. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.49, $78. Released fall 2010. Aged 18 months in 70% new and 30% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Moderately deep reddish-purple color in the glass. Brooding nose with reserved array of dark Pinot fruits. The following day, the wine had blossomed with considerable more aromatic interest including scents of ripe dark berries and currants, spice and cola. Luscious core of classy fruit enhanced by notes of brown spice and cherry cola. Smooth and appealing in the mouth with restrained fuzzy tannins and a lively acid lift on the intensely fruity finish. Much better tasting the next day with an impressive array of broad flavors that could only come from the Rochioli Vineyard. Hold this one for a few years in the cellar and then party on. Very good. Reviewed December 14, 2010 ARTICLE »

2008 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $100. · Dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Effusive aromas of black cherry, dark red rose petals and vanilla. Delicious and generous on the palate with a full-bodied core of dark cherry, berry and plum fruit. A bold and boisterous wine, yet it is balanced with some finishing persistence. The biggest wine of the vintages tasted here. Drink or hold short term. Score: 90. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $45. Primarily sourced from the winery’s Drake Estate Vineyard planted in 1998. Pommard and Dijon 115. · Heady aromas of Bing cherries, cola and baking spice. Reasonably concentrated flavors of dark red cherry and berry fruit which build in intensity in the glass. Very pleasing in the mouth with soft tannins and a crisp finish. Very good. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Bucher Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $54. · Marvelous spiced Bing cherry aromas predict greatness but the wine deliver flavors with a disappointing message. The cherry core is dominated by an earthy, savory, woody imprint that just wasn’t to my liking. Decent. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Flax Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $54. · A signature Russian River Valley Pinot nose perfumed with nicely spiced berry and cherry compote with an echo of oak. Very tasty panoply of red berries and cherries intensely composed like a flavorful liquor. Juicy with a smooth viscous mouth feel, supple tannins and perfect balance. A great wine that reminds me of old vintages of Williams Selyem and one of my favorites in this lineup. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Peay Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $54. · The nose lack sensory impact but offers demure aromas of redder fruits and crushed rocks. Elegantly composed and shy in generosity of flavor but offering pleasing notes of dark red cherries and cranberries, mocha and spice. Has the balance to age and certainly will become more expressive with time in the cellar. Very good (+) Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $54. · This wine offers an interesting array of scents including fresh berries, black currants, vanillin oak and stem. Moderately rich middle palate of cherry and berry fruit with a hint of citrus bringing up the rear. Bright and juicy with moderate persistence on the finish. Solid but not spectacular. Very good in this vintage. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $56. · This wine takes on more muscle and interest with time in the glass. The nuanced aromatic profile features dark stone fruits, spice, oak and toast. Deep, dark but charming fruit is wrapped in firm tannins and balanced acidity. A virile wine of great intensity that has multiple layers of fruit and perfect harmony. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Ferrington Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $62. · Simple perfume of crushed cherries, berries and sweet oak. A rich, full-bodied and tasty fruit-driven wine with a little acidic tang on the finish. The tannins are reigned in creating a silky drinking experience. A bit one-dimensional but the sappy fruit flavors will find many fans. Very good. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Westside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $67. A complex blend from the best growers on Westside Road including Allen, Bacigalupi, Bucher, Flax, Rochioli Riverblock and Litton Estate. · Brooding aromas of dark stone fruits, spice and vanilla. Opens somewhat in the glass but never offers a big dose of fruit. Full-bodied, magnificently flavored core of cherries, cranberries, and raspberries pulled into line by fine acidity and ripe tannins with a subtle accent of sweet oak. A little closed and not what it will be. Decant if you must drink now. Very good Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Coastlands Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $69. · Very dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Intense aromas of blackberries, black plums, Indian spices, loamy earth and green garden with a hint of alcohol peaking out. Unctuous, tannic, rough hewn and muscular on the attack featuring smoky dark fruits and a citrus underpinning. Needs food, preferably short ribs. Decent. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $72. · Starts off strong in the glass with alluring floral and red berry scents, fading over time revealing more savory, earthy accents. Delicious and generous lasting flavors of deep red cherries and berries pulled into line with fine grain tannins and bright acidity revealing itself in a citric peel highlighted finish. Not a huge or loud wine, but very satisfying. Very good. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $75. · Very alluring scents of cardamon spice, rose petals and Bing cherries. An impressive wine with a discreetly concentrated cherry and berry core augmented with Xmas spice, vanilla and an undertone of minerality. The silky texture is dreamy and the overall impression is one of purity, vibrancy and harmony. This is clearly the class of the lineup and will definitely find a place on my 2010 All American team. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., $78. · Subdued aromas of wild berries and plums. Earth-laden dark fruits with a hint of tea and root beer. Rich and husky but not showing much chutzpah now. Smoothly textured and well-crafted but dull. I expect more from this bottling and perhaps it will improve with time in the cellar. I didn’t have a second bottle to sample. Decent (+). Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Precious Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $90. · Delicate aromas of dark stone fruits and blackberries. A hulk of a wine with prodigious dark fruit that coats the mouth with intensity. A wonderful sipping wine that will charm any big fruit lover. Hard to keep you hands off now, but cellaring will provide dividends down the road. This wine definitely stands out from the pack. Reviewed February 15, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

This wine was not part of the formal tasting but offered at the end as a special treat. The wine ($100) and the new Reidel Sommelier glass it was served in ($125) made for a very special and expensive treat. · Unfortunately, my new glass apparently came direct from its cardboard container because the cardboard smell ruined the aromatic pleasure of the wine. On the palate, there were waves and layers of fruit including cherries, strawberries and rhubarb with accents of cherry cola, clove and minerals. I hope to sample this wine in the future under more favorable conditions. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2007 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $100. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of Bing cherries, dark berries, spice, and oak vanillin. The very ripe, sappy fruit is noticeably intense on the mid palate and finish, and nicely framed by notes of spice, sarsaparilla and oak. Very smooth on the palate with integrated, balanced tannins. The finish really stands out in this wine. Drink or hold short term. Score: 91. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2006 Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $34. · Strawberries, red cherries, allspice and a hint of pine resin on the nose. Light-weighted tart red cherry and blueberry flavors. Soft, cozy and feminine with brisk acidity. Simple but enjoyable. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 William Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $42. · Strawberry, red cherry, allspice, and a hint of pine resin on the nose with light and tart red cherry and blueberry flavors. Soft, feminine and cozy with lively acidity. Simple, but enjoyable. Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Williams Selyem Sonoma County Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $42. · Light crimson in color with a slight haze. Beautiful candied cherries, new oak and a little barnyard stink on the nose. Lightly spiced cherry flavors with an earthy edge. Simple and short, losing interest with time in the glass. Reviewed October 1, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $45. · A haunting perfume of warm Bing cherry tart. Bright red cherry, cola and a hint of spice including cinnamon. Light in weight, even a bit too shallow, but smooth from start to finish. An easy drinker, but lacks excitement. Tasted twice. Reviewed August 4, 2008 ARTICLE »

2006 Williams Selyem Hawk Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.8% alc., $50. Winery visitor exclusive. · Full-on, 100% malo style Chardonnay. Very creamy on the palate with luscious flavors of pineapple upside down cake, lemon and white peach. Some minerality adds crispness. Holding nicely. Very good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2006 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $56. Aged 15 months in 69% new and 31% 1-year-old French oak barrels. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely nose offering dreamy aromas of fresh Bing cherries, rose petals, baking spice including nutmeg and potpourri. Delicious concentrated core of crunchy Bing cherry and black raspberry fruit with a cola accent finishing with a long, long explosion of citrus-infused cherry goodness. Lighter in this vintage, and noticeably crisp with admirable tension and minerality. A seamless wine of impressive sophistication. Drink or hold. Score: 95. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2006 Williams Selyem Precious Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $94. Winery exclusive from library. Yields of 1 ton per acre max. · Austere aromas of dried herbs, spice, and red berries. Middleweight flavors of dark red fruits including cranberries with a nice accent of spice, framed by firm dry tannins and bright acidity. Very good. Reviewed July 23, 2012 ARTICLE »

2006 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.1% alc., $100. · Medium reddish-purple hue in the glass. An aged bouquet consisting of scents of fruit bin, dried cherry, leather and earth with a slight green herb note appearing over time. A bit rustic and a tad shallow in the mid palate, offering flavors of earth-dusted black cherries and a subtle flowery and vegetal note in the background. Some dry, suede tannins persist on the pleasingly ripe finish. Drink. Score: 86. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2005 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., 50 cases. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Flamboyant spice and Bing cherry on the nose. Mid weight core of dark cherry, baking spice and dried herb flavors with an impressively long fruit-driven finish. Still alive and vibrant. Drink. Score: 88. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

2005 Williams Selyem Peay Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $54. · Dark as the night. A lovely elegant wine with black raspberries highlighted by earth and cinnamon spice. No tannins in and a lengthy fruity finish. This wine is all about fruit. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Williams Selyem Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $72. · Deep ruby color. A big and sappy fruit attack featuring black berries complimented by exotic woods leading to a delicate finish with lingering dark cherry notes. Nicely crafted, smooth in the mouth, with lively and refreshing acidity. Reviewed April 7, 2008 ARTICLE »

2005 Williams Selyem Litton Estate Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.55, 48 cases, $100. Harvested from 12 acres at 24.2 Brix. Pommard (60%), Swan (25%) and Mt. Eden (15%). Aged 18 months in 100% 1-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. This was the first Williams Selyem 100% estate wine and was given to the winery’s best customers and not sold. · A very pleasing wine that is moderately delicate in style. Lovely aromas of berry tart, cedar and cut flowers. The redder-fruit core is a bit tart and tight. There are some welcoming accents of Asian spice box and cherry cola. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2004 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., $42. Sourced from several vineyards, mainly the winery’s Drake Estate Vineyard in Guerneville. · Cherries, herbs, oak and port aromas lead to a mouthful of bright Bing cherry fruit and a sidecar of clove and other spices. A pleasurable drink that would be better enjoyed at the dinner table then sipped for contemplation. Reviewed January 20, 2008 ARTICLE »

2004 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $72. · Voluptuous Bing cherry perfume which draws you in and won’t let go. Pure and precise dark cherry flavors with a sidecar of sassafras and oak. Full-bodied, rich and full on the mid palate, clean and refreshing at the end. The texture is silky and sensuous. A very classy wine and one to buy for sure. Reviewed January 20, 2008 ARTICLE »

2004 Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.48, $72. Clones 115, 777 and West Block. Harvested at 24.6 Brix. Aged 16 months in 68% new and 32% 1-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · Aromas of spiced berries and cut flowers. Intense and sappy dark red cherries and berries that coat the mouth, finishing with bright aromatic fruit on a very persistent finish. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2002 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

14.1% alc.. · Moderately dark reddishpurple color in the glass. Very fresh aromas of dark cherries and berries with a hint of cardamom spice. The fruit really sings on the palate and finish, offering vibrant expressions of blackberries, black raspberries, black currants and sassafras. The prodigious fruit is well-balanced by firm tannins and lively acidity. Finishes on a high night with fruit-driven power. Drink. Score: 93. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

2002 Williams Selyem Westside Road Neighbors Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.55, $59. Harvested at 24.6 average Brix. Aged 15 months in 67% new and 33% 1-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · Deeply colored. Perfume of black cherries, ripe strawberries, spice and underbrush which picks up intensity in the glass over time. The flashy attack of raspberry and strawberry is nicely spiced. As the fruit expands in the mouth, the plushness is very sensual. An in-your-face wine that is thoroughly hedonistic with an impressively long finish. Can go many more years. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

2001 Williams Selyem Flax Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.61, $46. Harvested at 23.9-24.1 Brix. Aged 17 months in 60% new and 40% 1- year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · Bright and nuanced nose showing off scents of raspberries, cranberries, cola and wet wood. Delicious core of moderately rich black cherries and boysenberries with a touch of earthiness and cherry cola. Soft, smooth and very pleasing. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

1999 Williams Selyem Weir Vineyard Yorkville Highlands Pinot Noir

13.7% alc. · Moderately dark reddishpurple color in the glass. The nose is heavily oak-driven but likable, featuring scents of toasty oak, baking spice, vanilla, gingerbread and hazelnut. The black cherry fruit is still holding its own with good richness on the mid palate and finish. An underpinning of earthiness and gaminess adds interest. Silky in the mouth with firm tannins and a good cut of acidity. Drink. Score: 88. Reviewed September 5, 2013 ARTICLE »

1999 Williams Selyem Precious Mountain Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.43, $80. Harvested at 24.1 Brix in mid-October during a cold year. Aged 14 months in 66% new and 34% 1-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · Astonishingly fresh, as if vinified recently. Vivid plum tart on the nose. Very tasty flavors of Asian spiced plum, wild berries and white pepper. Wines from this vineyard show consistent age ability. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

1997 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.53, $125 (Burt requested this price as a tribute to the last vintage of Rochioli Vineyard at Williams Selyem). Harvested at 23.5 Brix. Aged 19 months in 70% new and 30% 1-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · Still a big and satisfying wine displaying black cherry and dark red berry fruit with a lush mid palate. Finishes with a note of tart cherries and marzipan. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

1996 Williams Selyem Precious Mountain Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.3% alc.. · Moderately deep reddish-purple hue in the glass. Bouquet of underbrush, earthy flora, mushrooms on the grill and old book. Earthy and rustic, but retaining some charming black cherry, raspberry and cranberry fruit. The wine still has some pleasing fruit intensity, complimented by a hint of spice with no intrusion of oak. Seamless and pleasurable for a 17 year old wine. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

1996 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc.. · Moderately dark violet color in the glass. Vivid Moroccan spice and black cherry leap out upon opening but fading over time, taking on pleasant aromas of dark cherry, leather and incense. Middleweight essence of juicy black cherries and black plums with hints of spice, Hoison sauce, and tobacco. Very silky with gossamer tannins and still offering some fruit pizzazz but with a heavy oak sheen. An enjoyable but not exceptional old wine. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

1996 Williams Selyem Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.59, $45. Primarily from older blocks planted to Mt. Eden selection and Pommard clone. Harvested at 23.5 to 24.2 Brix in late August as this was a warm year. Aged 18 months in 70% new and 30% 1-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · The star of the seminar. Deep and savory berry fruit aromas lead to a delicious and intense berry core that is mildly spiced. Smoothly textured with gossamer tannins and a persistent finish with a slight citrus note. Simply great! Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

1995 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.7% alc.. · Beautiful deep mahogany color in the glass. Very sexy nose with fresh aromas of black cherry, spice, potpourri and peat. Still fresh and vivid with plenty of full-flavored, very ripe dark berry and dark cherry fruits with an appealing earthy bent. This was a remarkable bottle that belied its age and was simply extraordinary. When tasted the next day from a previously opened bottle, not surprisingly it had faded. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

1995 Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.0% alc.. · Moderately dark mahogany red color in the glass with mild sediment. The aromas of cherries and spice soar from the glass upon opening but fade over time. Middleweight flavors of fresh black cherries and raspberries with a hint of seasoned oak. The fruit is fading, but the wine still has some satisfying fruit on the refreshing finish driven by juicy acidity. Most enjoyable within 30 minutes after pulling the cork. A great aged wine. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

1995 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.57, $29. A blend of 27% Olivet Lane Vineyard, 69% Cohn Vineyard, and 6% Rochioli East Block. Harvested at 23.1 to 23.8 Brix. Aged 11 months in 40% new, 30% 1-year-old and 30% 2-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · A medium-weighted and well-structured wine with bright black cherry fruit on the nose and palate. The fruit is a little faded bringing acid and oak to the forefront, but there is still plenty of charm. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

1995 Williams Selyem Summa Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 52 cases, $125. · Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass with no rim bricking. Unbelievably fresh and alive with impressive aromatic and flavor power. Scents of brandied cherries, tea leaf, and sassafras. Elegant and smooth on the palate, offering delicious flavors of cherries, baking spices, rose hips tea and subtle oak which persist on the bright finish. Didn’t even consider spitting this one out. A rare glimpse of the convergence of a remarkable vineyard and the genius of a legendary winemaker. Reviewed July 22, 2012 ARTICLE »

1994 Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.0% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color with slight yellowing of the rim in the glass. The nose offers an array of secondary characters including old book, vitamin, and potpourri to accompany the modestly aromatic cherry and red berry fruits. The wine is clearly fading, but is still likable with a flavorful core of red cherry fruit backed by juicy acidity and mild fine-grain tannins. Very smooth in the mouth, with a satisfying finish, holding up well in the glass over time. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

1994 Williams Selyem Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.4% alc.. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass with no bricking. Aromas of ripe black cherry, raisin, wood pile, old leather and barnyard. Plenty of secondary character highlights the charming spiced black cherry core which fills the mouth with pleasure and shows lasting power on the finish. The tannins are marshmallow soft, and the acidity holds the fruit to attention. This wine will thoroughly please lovers of older Pinot Noir. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

1993 Williams Selyem Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

13.3% alc.. I have had this wine on two other occasions in the past few years in both 750 and magnum format and was pleasantly surprised. · Medium reddish-purple color in the glass with slight yellowing of the rim. The wine exhibits an old Pinot patina with a bouquet of dark red fruits, dried herbs and leaf. Very silky on the palate with supple tannins, picking up some fruit intensity over time in the glass. Seems like a wine made from slightly under ripe fruit yet soldiers on. Still quite nice the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Reviewed February 22, 2014 ARTICLE »

1992 Williams Selyem Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.46, $28. Harvested at 23.9 Brix. Aged 11 months in 62% new and 38% 1- year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · The nose is remarkably intense featuring black cherries, cola and spice. Richly fruited with amazingly fresh flavors of black cherries and berries. The tannins have fully integrated and the wine drinks like silk. Incredible. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »

1991 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

13.1% alc., pH 3.54, 688 cases, $35. Harvested at 22.5 to 23.8 Brix. Aged 16 months in 50% new and 50% 1-year-old Francois Freres oak barrels. · Aromas of green tea, green bean and cherries. Lightly fruited on the palate with notes of strawberries, rhubarb and faint brown spice offset by bright acidity. Oak tannins surfaced as the wine faded over time in the glass. Reviewed April 8, 2010 ARTICLE »