The 2004 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Chardonnay was the winning bottle in the May installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was opened and poured immediately. We paired it with a pasta dish featuring chicken, Kalamata olives and feta cheese.
Williams Selyem Winery began when Ed Selyem and Burt Williams started making wine as a hobby in 1979 in Forestville, California. Their first commercial release was in 1981, and in less than two decades they created a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Setting a new standard for Pinot Noir winemaking, they put Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley at the forefront of the best Pinot Noir regions in the world.
Today, John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased the winery from Burt and Ed in 1998, work with winemaker Bob Cabral to carry on the passion for Pinot Noir without compromise.
Williams Selyem gets the vast majority of their publicity for their Pinot Noirs. In recent years though, I have begun to think their Zinfandel and Chardonnay lineups rival the best of their Pinot Noirs.
Howard and Ann Allen grow both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Williams Selyem. Allen Vineyard was planted in 1970 and is in the very heart of Russian River Valley on Westside Road.
The wine is lightly straw colored with just a touch of cloudiness. 14.8% ABV. Rich aromas of apple, lemon and honey. Tropical fruits, custard, honeysuckle, spice and lemon on the palate. Oily and luscious. Great mouthfeel and acidity. Everything is in balance here. At 9 years of age this wine has lost its youthful exuberance but has truly aged into a sublime expression of California Chardonnay. Drink over the next year or so. My rating: 93 points.
Williams Selyem can periodically be found at retail, but the mailing list is highly recommended. Current vintages of the Chardonnays run $55 off the mailing list.
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