Westwood Winery

Owner(s) Carl Stanton
Web site www.westwoodwine.com
 
Link to this site
Westwood Winery

Westwood bottles a single Pinot Noir, Syrah, a Rhone blend and a Rosé from the winery's Annadel Estate Vineyard planted beginning in 2001 at the northwestern end of the Sonoma Valley AVA. Founded in 1984 in the Sierra Foothills by Bert Urch and his wife Betty Stoltz, the name of the winery came from the street where the owners' garage-based productions began before they founded a full-fledged winery. Westwood's first commercial bottling was a 1984 Pinot Noir made from grapes grown in Lake County, and produced by Bert at Greg Boeger's winery in Placerville.

In 1985, Bert connected with Duncan Haynes, who owned a well-established Pinot Noir vineyard in eastern Napa and Bert made his first Westwood Haynes Vineyard Pinot Noir that year. Shortly thereafter, Westwood Winery was re-located to Sunny Oak Farm in Shingle Springs, about eight miles west of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills.

John Kelly, a graduate of University of California at Davis with a degree in biochemistry, became friends with Bert before Westwood Winery was founded and would help out at the winery during and after his schooling. After graduating from Davis, Kelly acquired years of winemaking experience including stints at Sonoma-Cutrer, Duckhorn, and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. In 1998, Kelly formed a partnership, Annadel Vineyard Partners, LLC and purchased a 37-acre parcel of prime vineyard land at the northwest end of the Sonoma Valley. The Annadel Estate was immediately developed with the planting of Pinot Noir and other varieties. The vineyard is located in the northernmost part of the Valley of the Moon in what the locals refer to as the Annadel Gap, and is blessed with cool climate. Soft morning fog covers the vineyard until noon most days, and the afternoons are bathed in cool westerly winds from the Pacific Ocean.

Urch passed away in 1994 and Kelly helped his widow keep the winery running for a few years until Kelly's partnership bought the winery in 2002 and moved it to Sonoma Valley in 2005.

Westwood produced a Haynes Pinot Noir continuously from 1985 to 2005 (2006 was declassified), pulled from the same 1.5 acres. Located on the east side of the Napa Valley near Coombsville, the site is slightly warmer than the Russian River Valley. The Haynes story is complex. The land had been in Duncan Hayne's family since the 1880s. At the time he inherited it, he was Louis Martini's lawyer. Louis advised him to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and assisted Duncan in obtaining white budwood from Wente (or Stony Hill?), and cut the Pinot Noir budwood himself from his vineyard in Carneros. Louis was giving budwood away to many people who were getting started with Pinot Noir in the 1960s. Kelly's understanding is that he gave each a different selection according to his whim or some plan known only to him.

The original Pinot Noir budwood at Haynes was pulled from Martini's experiments with clones, before the wood went to University of California at Davis for clean up and development of the certified "Martini" clones. Kelly believes the Haynes selection was unique and yielded a one-of-a-kind wine. Over time yields diminished and Ken Bernards advised Duncan to plant Swan selection and the original vines were to be pulled out. Kelly asked vineyard manager Fernando Delgado for some budwood. At Haynes, the Pinot Noir was grafted on St. George, planted on 9' x 12' spacing and pruned to 2 to 4 canes and 4 spurs on a 3 wire sprawl.

At Annadel Estate, the wood was grafted in 2007 onto 101-14 rootstock, planted to 4' x 6' spacing, and pruned to 2 canes and 2 spurs on a vertical trellis. There are 1.5 acres planted at Annadel to the Haynes budwood selection and the first fruit was pulled off the vines in 2010.

There are a total of 13 acres of Pinot Noir planted at the biodynamically farmed Annadel Estate. Besides the Martini selection, plantings include Dijon clones 115 and 667 planted in 2001-2002 and Dijon clones 777 and 943 planted in 2006. The oldest vines are fully mature. In 2009 additional Dijon clone 943 was planted along with Mt. Eden, Calera and Chambertin selections and Pommard clones. Syrah, Grenache, Counise, Mourvedre, Rousanne and Viognier are also planted among the 37.4 acres. The vineyard site is unique in that there are four soil types.

A Pinot Noir was also produced from purchased grapes from the Nicholson Ranch Vineyard in Sonoma Valley.

The wines, including library wines, were sold online with some retail distribution. The winery's Tasting Salon was located in downtown Sonoma at 11 East Napa Street.

Kelly had written an informative online diary since 2004 (www.winemakernotesblog.com).

In September 2014, Kelly noted in his blog that he was no longer a partner in the investor group that owned Westwood Winery and Estate Vineyard. He stepped aside amicably as winemaker, general manager, vineyard manager and head of marketing and public relations. Kelly had struggled with chronic under capitalization of the winery operations for years.

In 2014, Carl Stanton, a long-time Westwood partner and wine lover teamed up with winemaker David Ramey. Ben Cane joined to lead the winemaking team after seven years heading Twomey Cellars. Westwood's 2014 Clone 37 Annadel Gap Vineyard Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir score 99 points and "Best of the Best" award at The Press Democrat's 2016 North Coast Wine Challenge.

Cane is a native Australian who relocated to Sonoma in 2006 to work at Joseph Phelps Vineyards Freestone Vineyards. He moved to Twomey Cellars where he crafted outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at the winery's facility on Westside Road.

Production is less than 3,500 cases in small lots with the inaugural 2014 vintage under new ownership.

Reviewed Wines

2015 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir Rosé

13.3% alc., pH 3.39, TA 0.56, RS 1.2 g/L,102 cases, $25. Released May 2016. Estate grown. 77% Pinot Noir clones 115, 667, 777, 943, Pommard, Calera, Mt. Eden, Chambertin, and UCD 90, 12% Mouvedre, 11% Grenache. Harvest Brix average 24.0º-25.3º. A saignée, barrel fermented with feral yeasts in seasoned oak with occasional lees stirring, partial native malolactic fermentation. Aged on the lees for 5 months. Bottled with minimal filtration and fining. · Moderately pink salmon color in the glass. The scent of cherry, strawberry, cranberry and underbrush leads to a core of cherry, cranberry, blood orange and peach flavors with a savory, earthy thread in the background. A bit rustic, with inviting richness of fruit, soft in the mouth, finishing with noticeable generosity. Score: 89. Reviewed September 7, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.56, RS 0.1g/L, 780 cases, $44. Released June 2015. 115, 777, 943 and Calera clones. Native fermentation, 20% whole clusters, 5 to 6-day cold soak, berries kept whole with each clone separated, native yeast fermentation, aged on lees in French oak barrels, 30% new, for 6 months. Gentle fining with no filtration. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of black cherry, earthy flora and barrel. The mid weight black raspberry and blackberry flavors are complimented by a waft of oak. Seductively suave in texture with silky tannins. Noticeable harmony and forward drink ability. Score: 89. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Clone 37 Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.79, RS 0.8g/L, 98 cases, $54. Released December 2015. Mt. Eden clone. 5 to 6-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, basket pressed, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. Gentle fining and filtration. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. Inviting aromas of dark berry preserves and underbrush lead to a mid weight plus core of tasty black cherry and black raspberry fruits. This is a seamless wine that finds balance between fruit, tannin, acid and oak. Enjoyable now, with a lingering sweet berry finish that leaves behind a memorable impression. Score: 92. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Clone 90 Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., pH 3.56, TA 0.57, RS 0.6g/L, 98 cases, $54. Released December 2015. Chambertain selection (90). Berries kept whole, 5 to 6-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, basket pressed, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Gentle fining and filtration. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The cherry and raspberry fruit flavors of this wine are seasoned with savory notes of sous-bois and damp pine needles. The wine is still a bit tight, with the redder-toned fruit searching for expression. Nicely composed, with a light imprint of oak, integrated tannins, and a refreshing finish. Score: 91. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Heritage Clones Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.57, RS 0.8g/L, 98 cases, $54. Released December 2015. Pommard and Mt. Eden clones. Berries kept whole with 20% whole clusters, 5 to 6-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, basked pressed, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. Gentle fining and filtration. · Moderately dark reddish purple color in the glass. The nose reluctantly offers scents of dark fruits and a hint of vanilla. Robust and structured, showing delicious flavors of black raspberry, boysenberry and plum with a compliment of oak, finishing modestly with a wave of non astringent tannins. Great potential here, but needs more time in bottle. Score: 90. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Pommard Clone Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., pH 3.67, TA 0.66, RS 0.6g/L, 98 cases, $54. Released December 2015. Berries kept whole and included 20% whole clusters, 5 to 6-day cold soak, native yeast fermentation, basked pressed, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 45% new. Gentle fining and filtration. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. The aromas of dark cherry, forest floor and shaved oak lead to middleweight flavors of oak-kissed black cherry and blackberry fruits. The tannins are generous and mildly astringent on the sweet black cherry finish. There is a good acid underbelly. When tasted the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the astringent tannins still stood out. Score: 88. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »

2014 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Reserve Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir

14.6% alc., pH 3.65, TA 0.56, RS 0.8g/L, 220 cases, $64. Release March 2016. Pommard and 667 clones. 20% whole clusters, 5 to 6-day cold soak, native yeast fermentations, basket pressed, aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Gentle fining and filtration. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Uplifting aromas of cherry pie and baking spices lead to a luscious and structured array of black cherry, raspberry and black tea flavors augmented with a deft touch of oak spice. The wine’s most remarkable feature is the finish, which is filled with aromatic cherry energy and lasts for what seems like a minute. Clearly, an exceptional but young wine that will continue to improve in the cellar and may be worthy of a higher score down the line. Score: 93. Reviewed January 17, 2016 ARTICLE »



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