Williams Selyem Winery2004 Pinot Noir, Allen Vineyard
(Russian River Valley)
When John Dyson bought Williams Selyem Winery in 1998, it was initially believed that the intention was to make a lot more wine than had been made by the Russian River Pinot specialist. But Dyson, a New York political figure (he was deputy mayor under Mayor Rudy Giuliani), also was the owner of Millbrook Winery in New York as well as Villa Pillo in Tuscany, and the man clearly bought Williams Selyem to make great wine. Total production wouldn’t be arbitrarily increased.
If anything, Dyson has expanded Williams Selyem’s production only in giving wine maker Bob Cabral a chance to seek fruit from other regions than just the Russian River Valley that fueled the winery’s rise from its tiny Hacienda del Rio beginnings in 1982 to the present, where it remains one of the most sought-after wineries in the country.
To that end, Cabral has bought Pinot fruit from the Sonoma Coast, Central Coast, Mendocino (Yorkville Highlands as well as Anderson Valley), and other locales that make Pinot Noirs of distinctiveness.
This one, from the ranch of grower Howard Allen, is from one of the Russian River’s most reliable sources of fruit, now seen by some locals as even better than the nearby Rochioli Vineyard. This wine’s attributes are bright cherry/strawberry fruit, a perfectly balanced though lighter styled mid-palate with a lot of French oak showing a tad strongly now. But aeration cures that and gives this wine a lush yet still acid-balanced perfection that works brilliantly with rare roast beef.
Reviewed May 17, 2007 by Dan Berger.
Dan Berger has been reviewing wine for 30 years, always seeking character related to varietal type and regional identity. He has never used numbers to rank wine and doesn’t plan to start any time soon. He believes that weight and concentration aren’t the only worthy aspects of wine and is especially smitten by cool-climate and food-friendly wines that offer distinctiveness.