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When Williams Selyem was sold in 1997, Burt Williams bought a 40-acre property in Anderson Valley the following year. Under the direction of vineyardist Steve Williams, the land was cleared and 12 acres planted to cuttings from the Rochioli Vineyard, "DRC" suitcase selections from adjacent vineyards, clone 23 (a clone Burt's deceased son favored), and Dijon clones 115, 777 and 828. The vineyard was named Morning Dew Ranch.
The fruit from Morning Dew Ranch as been released as a vineyard designated Pinot Noir by Brogan Cellers (owned by Burt's daughter, Margi Williams-Wierenga), Woodenhead, and Whitcraft. Williams crafted small amounts of Pinot Noir in 2008 and 2009 and released the wines in late the summer of 2011 (the 2008 vintage) and spring of 2012 (the 2009 vintage). The wines were sold primarily to close friends and long time customers of Williams Selyem. Williams has no plans to continue to produce wine after the 2009 vintage, choosing instead to take full advantage of retirement.
The Burt Williams recipe for Pinot Noir: 5-day cold soak, ferment with 15-30 percent whole clusters using Williams Selyem's proprietary yeast strain (isolated from the Martinelli Vineyard in 1984). Punch downs are performed every six hours once fermentation starts. The wine is pressed off the skins gently and aged in new and used Francois Fréres oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered.
Morning Dew Ranch was put up for sale in 2015 for $1,920,000. The 40-acre property included the vineyard, a 2 bedroom house, and a small winery with a lab and crush pad. Reportedly, it was sold to V. Suttui in Napa Valley.
2009 Morning Dew Ranch Jan’s Cuvée Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $75. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring aromas of black cherries, spice, white pepper and sweet pipe smoke. Waves and waves of savory fruit, offering tantalizing flavors of brandied black cherries, black raspberries, anise and tar. Very polished with balanced tannins and well-honed acidity. The unbelievably long finish lasts over a minute and I am not exaggerating. The more you taste, the more you like this special wine. Even better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Williams Selyem Pinot Noir of the early 1990s De Ja Vu. Burt is a modest soul, but calls this, “A wine apart.” Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »
2008 Morning Dew Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 197 cases, $60. · Medium reddish-color in the glass. After decanting, aromas of pie berries, sweet barbecue smoke and wood spice emerge. Very fresh and vivid dark red berry fruit display an increasing charm over time in the glass and offers impressive finishing strength. There is clearly smoke, ash and tobacco flavors evident which reflect the fires of the vintage and the drinker needs to search through the smoke screen for the lovely core of fruit and spice within. The wine has very gentle tannins and is highly approachable now with decanting. Those drinkers that can accept the smoke affectation will thoroughly embrace this wine. Very good. Reviewed November 29, 2011 ARTICLE »