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 Jeff Mangahas to carry on the passion for Pinot Noir without compromise. Other varieties bottled at Williams Selyem include Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Chenin Blanc.
Papera Ranch is situated in the Russian River Valley at the intersection of Piner and Olivet and was planted in 1934 by Charlie Papera. Most vineyards from this era are comprised of a number of mixed black varieties. Papera, on the other hand, is almost entirely Zinfandel.
Papera made my list of Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.
Crimson in color. 14.5% ABV. Pretty nose of red fruits, peach, baking spices and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity. Lush, rich and packed with bright, juicy fruits. Impeccably balanced. Cherry, raspberry liqueur, anise and pepper on the palate. Tremendous length on the finish. Fantastic Zinfandel from an iconic vineyard that has aged brilliantly. Best over the next 1-2 years.
My rating: 95 points.
Williams Selyem can periodically be found at retail, but the mailing list is highly recommended. The 2020 version of this wine should be released this Summer although I am uncertain of the fires in 2020 and their impact on the Williams Selyem portfolio. If you are a member of the Williams Selyem mailing list you would be well advised to buy any Zinfandel they offer on their next mailer in 2022 including the Papera.
I wrote about Williams Selyem previously in Reflections on Two Days in Russian River Valley and The 2020 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.