Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Localization: Russian River Valley, California, USA
Tasting Notes: Quintessential Pinot Noir is all about perfume and elegance and the 2019 Russian River Valley typifies that. Sourced from varying parts of the AVA, this bottling seems to get better each year. Dark cherry notes and a bouquet of dried rose petals and lavender are evoked from the glass. Citrus peel, clove, anise, and dried herbs mix to add depth and complexity. The palate is equally complex with savory herbs and dark red fruit flavors abounding. Tenacious and saturating on the tongue, the flavors are very tightly woven together while the acidity provides freshness all the way to the tea-like finish.
The Domain: Like most good stories, the history of Williams Selyem owes much to serendipity. If a grower with an abundance of fruit hadn’t given Burt Williams a few tons of free grapes in the 1970s, Burt might never have discovered his love and flair for winemaking. And if Burt and his partner Ed Selyem had been able to afford the French Burgundies they both favored, they might never have tried making their own Pinot Noir.
The two friends didn’t set out to produce wines for anyone but themselves. And they surely never imagined that their humble experiment in home winemaking would spawn a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Together, Burt and Ed set a new standard for American-made Pinot Noir and elevated Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley to among the best wine-growing regions in the world.