Bottle Notes, Zinfandel

Zinfandel of the Month – 2015 Williams Selyem Zinfandel Papera Ranch

Zinfandel of the Month is a regular feature on Zinfandel Chronicles. Keep in mind that although the Zinfandel of the Month might be an older bottle, the current vintage will be one you can find at retail or via the mailing list.

The January Zinfandel of the Month is the 2015 Williams Selyem Zinfandel Papera Ranch.

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, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc.

I chose this wine as the 2021 version should be in the upcoming Williams Selyem mailer. Last year I did not order quick enough and the wine sold out. Williams Selyem has moved to a guaranteed allocation for senior list members so hopefully I can secure a bottle this time around.

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 with the exception of the Bedrock block that is the one part of the vineyard with more mixed blacks.

Papera made my list of Top 10 Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyards.

Crimson in color. 14.4% ABV. Stunning nose of red fruits, peach, anise and pepper. Medium body with mouth watering acidity and perfect balance. Absolutely packed with bright, juicy fruits. Cherry, strawberry, raspberry liqueur and pepper on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Charming Zinfandel that is aging brilliantly from a treasured vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Best over the next several years.

My rating: 96 points.

I wrote about Williams Selyem previously in Reflections on Two Days in Russian River Valley and The 2020 Zinfandel Chronicles Power Rankings.

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