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.
Feeney Vineyard dates back to 1926. The vineyard is mostly Zinfandel but does contain a healthy amount of Alicante Bouschet and Grand Noir de la Calmette. A little Petite Sirah is interspersed as well.
Red in color. 14.9% ABV. Black fruits, anise and pepper on the nose. Medium body with a touch of acidity. Black cherry, blackberry, raspberry and plums on the palate. This wine has lost its baby fat and has developed into an exceptional claret style Zinfandel. The finish is long, spicy and supple. Drink soon.
My rating: 92 points.
Williams Selyem can periodically be found at retail, but the mailing list is highly recommended. Currently Williams Selyem is only producing a Bacigalupi Vineyard Zinfandel. The ’12 will be released this Fall for right around $50. Act fast if you want a bottle.
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