Spring 2023 Newsletter
In 2023, a New and Renewed State of Mind
2022 Is In the Rearview
Many of our messages over the last year included news relating to the 2020 fires and the subsequent shortage of grapes from that vintage. The timing of this shortage couldn’t have come at a worse time, as we know many of you have been trying to refill your cellars after quickly depleting them during the Covid stay-at-home orders-thank goodness for wine, am I right?! Regrettably, our offerings from the 2020 vintage were sold in record time and many wish list requests were left unfulfilled. We heard you, felt your frustration, took your feedback to heart and we’re reconciling this issue with the spring release allocations, as the 2021 vintage is more abundant and you should expect increased allocation quantities in the 2023 spring and fall releases.
As you know, our beloved marquee vineyards (Rochioli, Allen, Williams Selyem Estate, Olivet Lane), will continue to be limited by the quantity of fruit produced by the vines planted in those vineyards. Thus, as we continue to look for new and innovative ways to keep your cellars stocked, we are also focused on strategically sourcing fruit from new and exciting vineyards. One new addition includes the Martaella Vineyard (pronounced ‘Marta-Ella’). This 58-acre property is planted to 42 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the heart of the Russian River. We look forward to sharing the inaugural vintage of this superb Pinot Noir with you in this release. We are also excited to share with you Cabernet Sauvignon from the famed Beckstoffer Heritage Vineyards, the To Kalon, Georges III, and Missouri Hopper Vineyards. These are just a few additions, and we look forward to sharing other new wines with you in the coming vintages.
Cheers to You
As things have slowly returned to something that resembles ‘normal,’ we want to thank you, yet again, for your enthusiasm for Williams Selyem. The best compliment we can receive is your referral. Please feel free to invite your friends to join us by having them sign up here to join the waitlist: www.williams-selyem.com/mailinglist. We want to remind you that, as a member, tastings are complimentary for you and your guests. We are fully staffed and ready to host you. When making your plans to visit, please keep in mind that we recommend scheduling your reservation at least two weeks in advance
of your preferred appointment date. If you’d like some assistance in planning your visit, please reach out. We can’t wait
to hear from you and share a glass in the near future.
A Note from Director of Winemaking Jeff Mangahas
Williams Selyem in Numbers
Our goal has always been to make the best wines, from the best grapes, from the best growers. Whether it is Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast or Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, our focus on meticulous farming practices, coupled with our unique and gentle winemaking techniques (like utilizing open-top dairy tanks), allows for the full expression of site to shine through each of the 51 wines we produce. In that, we mirror a very Burgundian concept, where a single domaine can have many different bottlings to show the distinctive expression of each vineyard site. At Williams Selyem, we proudly produce 28 different Pinot Noirs, eight Chardonnays, four Zinfandels, and now three Cabernet Sauvignons. We also make several aromatic whites, an old vine red blend, and, of course, a Vin Gris of Pinot Noir!
Here are a few interesting facts about the vast amount of sourcing that ultimately builds character in every Williams Selyem bottling:
- Number of individual vineyard plots: 45
- Clones and selections of all grape varieties: 45
- Combinations of all these variables: 216
- Rootstocks: 14
- Varietals: II
During the winemaking process, these variables are largely kept separate. For example, in the 2022 vintage we just completed, there were nearly 200 individual lots of wine that were methodically and precisely blended into 51 different bottlings. As a winemaker, I get to see the beauty and range of each vineyard and share that with you, whether in an appellation blend or as a vineyard designate.
Spotlight on the Russian River Valley
One of the wines I am most proud of is the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. The assortment of vineyard sites used in this wine have been meticulously sourced over the years and they collectively craft a quintessential Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Within the Russian River Valley, there are a plethora of elements like fog, soil type, and diurnal temperature variations which create nuance and can have a profound impact on taste and flavor in the finished wine. Arguably, these factors represent the Russian River Valley in unique and specific ways, but the sum of the parts makes for something more harmonious and memorable.
Look for the Smoked Duck Hash recipe provided by Williams Selyem Host Kathleen de Chadenedes. The Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is an excellent pairing with the rich, earthy flavors in this sumptuous dish.
Our Newest Addition
It is my pleasure to share with you a new vineyard designate Pinot Noir from the Martaella Vineyard. Located in the Santa Rosa Plain area of the Russian River Valley, this vineyard is farmed impeccably by Winemaker/Co-Founder Mike Sullivan and Chris Kangas of Benovia Winery, which is owned by Joe Anderson and Mary Dewane.
Older vines planted in 1994, and younger vines planted in 2009, comprise this terrific new offering. The mixture of well-draining loamy, volcanic, and sedimentary soils, coupled with a coastal fog influence, afford the vines an opportunity to develop slowly and surely. Planted to a higher density of nearly 2,200 vines per acre, the plants compete with one another, which effectively increases their struggle to create fruit and thus the berries are more intensely flavored. One of the fundamental concepts when it comes to growing premium grapes is the fact that adversity builds character. There are many ways to create struggle. Whether it is on top of a mountain, on a rocky hillside, on well-draining Goldridge sandy loam, or through competitive high-density planting, the concept of character-building is the same.
Having worked with Martaella grapes since 2019, it has been a terrific journey to discover the various aspects of this vineyard. In a lot of ways, this region shares some similarities to the Middle Reach Neighborhood of the Russian River Valley in its fog influence, earlier bud break times, and earlier-to-ripen regions, but with different soil types, of course. The wines made from this area (similar to those at Saitone and Olivet Lane) can be described as refined with plush and generous tannins, with a purity of fruit. For all the work that goes into making this, and all our wines, we hope you enjoy this terrifically layered and complex bottling from the Martaella Vineyard.
2021 Vintage Summary by Jeff Mangahas
With only about 14 inches of rain for the 2021 growing season, the plants were challenged from the outset of the year. A cold and dry late winter and early spring brought some uneven growth and in general the plants were more stressed than usual due to the drought conditions. The canopies were a little smaller than average going into the flowering and thankfully the weather was ideal and mild. Flowering is the most important time as it determines the quality and quantity and 2021 yielded an average to slightly below average crop size with outstanding quality. Largely, the growing season saw mild temperatures but with several heat events scattered throughout the season. Due to the changing climate, fog intrusion has been minimal the last few vintages. Fog is important in keeping the nighttime temperatures cool while refreshing the plants and keeping them hydrated, especially under severe conditions. 2021 thankfully saw the return of the fog and saved the vintage and the season finished up around the historical average for temperatures. August and September did see some elevated temperatures, but the morning fog and slow ramp up of daily temperatures were ideal and mitigated any heat damage to the fruit. Despite the inauspicious start to the year, the wines showcase terrific verve, character, and site specificity.
Pinot Noir – Elegant
2021 Central Coast Pinot Noir $45 14.2% alc. San Benito County AVA
Plum and blueberry fruit aromas jump out of the glass in this elegant and soft expression of Pinot Noir from younger vines at the Vista Verde Vineyard. Hints of red fruits mix with a savory complexion that add layers and depth. Supple and fresh on the palate, the Central Coast Pinot Noir offers flexibility in food pairings and can be enjoyed on the early side.
2021 Sonoma County Pinot Noir $45 13.9% alc. Sonoma County AVA
Layered and complex, the Sonoma County Pinot Noir offers strawberry and cherry fruit notes with hints of oolong tea. Clove and wood spices add further depth and intrigue. Sourced from many parts of the Russian River Valley and the Coast, this wine offers a broad brushstroke of the beauty of our diverse fruit sources. Red fruits on the palate with citrus peel undertones overlay onto the supple tannin structure that is refined and elegant.
2021 Terra de Promissio Vineyard Pinot Noir $75 13.5% alc. Sonoma Coast AVA
Pinot Noir is about perfume and Terra de Promissio consistently epitomizes that. Delicate aromas of red cherry, fresh flowers, dried herbs, and citrus all meld together in a subtle way that offers wonderful balance. Similarly in the mouth, the wine has terrific purity that is seductive and alluring. Very refined in tannin structure and modest in acidity, the wine reaches a terrific sense of balance.
Pinot Noir – Medium-Bodied
2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir $65 13.7% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
A quintessential Russian River Valley character of red fruits, lavender, and citrus jump from the glass. Sourced from diverse sites throughout the AVA, the wine represents the best of the Middle Reach, Green Valley, Santa Rosa Plain, and the Laguna Ridge area. Each site has its unique signature and together they offer a complete picture of the beauty of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. On the palate, the wine showcases the grace and power of perfectly ripened tannins with juicy acidity and an alluring finish of black tea and bergamot. There is broad appeal with this wine and it has a wide window of drinkability.
2021 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $65 13.8 alc. Sonoma Coast AVA
Aromatically, the nose on the Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir has a cooler fruit character with undertones of dried herbs and wood spices. The cooler coastal hills often present wines with less fruit overtones and more savory notes. There is terrific coverage on the palate with soft acidity and broad tannins that tell the story of more adversity during the growing season. Red berry fruits and hints of graphite and cedar further add to the unique quality found in cool coastal climates.
2021 Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir $75 13.4% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
The inaugural release of the Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir showcases the best of the Santa Rosa Plain area of the Russian River Valley. The climate is tempered by some fog intrusion, but this region enjoys warm days to allow for perfect maturity. Perfumed with red and purple flowers, the fruit elements combine to showcase an explosively aromatic wine. Planted on clay loam soils with volcanic and sedimentary elements, the wine highlights a lush tannin profile with cool, aromatic fruit undertones. Juicy and refreshing on the palate, it finishes with a sensation of black tea. Harmonious and impeccably balanced, this is a site to watch out for.
2021 Westside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir $85 14.1% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
This Pinot Noir is aromatically alluring with cool fruit character and spice undertones. Notes of citrus, sassafras, and cedar shavings are layered into this very complex wine owing to the diversity of vineyards sourced for the Westside Road Neighbors. Plush and round at the entry, the wine gives way to red fruits and citrus peel in the mid-palate and finishes with the signature refined tannin structure and mineral sensation. Stunningly complex, this wine will develop nicely over time but is irresistible today.
2021 Olivet Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir $85 13.8% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
Black cherry top notes mix with tangerine peel and hints of leather and cedar. Interesting point-counterpoint elements that create an incredibly layered wine. The Olivet Lane Vineyard Pinot Noir is one of the few wines in our portfolio that is a single clonal selection, but the diversity of the site and the old vine character of nearly 50-year-old vines is what creates its richness and complexity. The wine builds on the palate with red fruits and peaks with black tea-like tannins and a citrus freshness.
Pinot Noir – Full-Bodied
2021 Eastside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir $70 13.8% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
Berry fruits and earthy notes combine in this deeply layered wine. Hints of lavender and dried flowers lift the aromatics while hints of citrus and vanilla brighten up its brooding nature. Soil inflected flavors along with red and black fruits mix with a sensation of citrus peel. The black tea like tannins give way to a gravelly, crushed rock finish. Pair the Eastside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir with more robust dishes to balance out the structure.
2021 Unoaked Chardonnay $42 13.6% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
Sourced from older vines in the Russian River Valley, the Unoaked Chardonnay showcases the beauty and purity of Chardonnay. Aromatics of apple, pear, and quince abound and are wrapped up with hints of white flowers and fennel pollen. With a great extract on the palate, the wine has wonderful balance and precision. Acidity from cool sites, coupled with lees stirring, help create a wine with verve and harmony.
2021 Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay $65 13.7% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
A classic Chardonnay from the Heintz Vineyard, this wine is highlighted by yellow apple and Gravenstein apple notes, with hints of musk melon, fresh cut pineapple, and tangerine layered underneath. Situated on a hilltop in a very cool part of the Russian River Valley, the vineyard enjoys a slow and methodical ripening cycle. Layered on the palate, the wine shows off with orchard fruits and zesty citrus flavors and finishes with a dusty, mineral driven sensation.
2021 Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay $65 13.8% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
Yellow pear, apple, and quince notes combine with aromas of lime and citrus. Wood spices add depth while a hint of tarragon adds lift and intrigue. Sourced from old vines and planted to old Wente Chardonnay, this wine has terrific concentration and depth while maintaining a lively, refreshing palate structure. Round and graceful, the palate is subtly mineral driven with a quinine-like finish.
2021 Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard Zinfandel $70 15.2% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
Perfumed with sun-ripened red and black fruits, the Fanucchi-Wood Road Zinfandel is a classic. Hints of peach cobbler are layered into the beautiful aromatics that add an interesting counterpoint along with notes of anise and fennel. Juicy and focused, the wine unravels on the palate with terrific tannin structure and a rich mouthfeel. These old vines are unmatched in their ability to produce a wine with both grace and power.
2021 Papera Vineyard Zinfandel $70 15.2% alc. Russian River Valley AVA
The distinctive aromatic profile of blackberry and brambles permeates the nose and is leavened with a red currant undertone. Purple flowers add a wonderful highlight to the complex aromatics. Zesty and refreshing on the palate, the Papera Vineyard Zinfandel showcases black fruit flavors along with citrus peel and a finish of cocoa nibs. A terrific pairing with richer dishes due to the wonderful acid freshness.
Late Harvest Gewurztraminer
2021 Vista Verde Late Harvest Gewurztraminer $40/375mL 9.5% alc. San Benito County AVA
Star fruit, lychee, and jasmine flowers jump from the glass in this highly aromatic wine. Notes of poached pears and citrus are layered in along with hints of vanilla and wood spices. Vibrant and fresh in the mouth, the wine showcases sweetness along with terrific acid and tannin balance that lightens up the palate and finishes clean. The wine’s flavors of pears, stone fruit, and wood spices would be a terrific complement to a summer fruit tart with frangipane.
On the Wine Library page, you will find tasting sheets in PDF format for each of these new releases as well as most of our library wine. These down-loadable documents include tasting notes, technical information, and a vintage summary. A recommended cellaring timeframe can be found on the wine page. To access this information, visit www.williamsselyem.com and navigate to the ‘Wine Library’ section where you can search by wine name, varietal, vintage, vineyard, or region (AVA).
Smoked Duck Hash
Recipe by Williams Selyem Host Kathleen de Chadenedes
This dish pairs beautifully with our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Cooked smoked duck breast is available in most places that sell charcuterie.
3 medium boiling potatoes such as Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into ½” dice
6 tbsp duck fat
10-12 fresh sage leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into ½” dice
2 medium purple top turnips, peeled and cut into ½” dice
8 oz cooked smoked duck breast, cut into ½” dice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cook potatoes in salted water until barely tender. Drain and spread out on a sheet pan to cool.
Heat a 10” heavy gauge skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp duck fat. When fat is hot, add sage leaves. Cook 2 minutes then remove from pan with a slotted spoon and blot on paper towels.
Add onion to hot skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring until onion is translucent and lightly caramelized. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Repeat process with turnips. Add cooked turnips to mixing bowl.
Return skillet to heat, increasing heat to medium high. Add 2 tbsp duck fat. When fat is hot, add potatoes in a single layer, taking care not to crowd pan. Cook in two batches, if necessary. Allow potatoes to get crispy and golden on one side before stirring to evenly brown all sides. Add potatoes to mixing bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add remaining duck fat to skillet over medium low heat. Add vegetable mixture, pressing mixture into the bottom of the skillet. Cook about 10 minutes, checking to see if underside is brown and crispy. Using a spatula, flip mixture over to brown the other side, pressing mixture into the bottom of the skillet. Cook until the second side is brown and crispy.
Fold in smoked duck breast and cook until duck is just warmed.
Serve over a bed of spicy salad greens (optional) and top with poached egg. Garnish with fried sage leaves.
March 6 | Shipping to Hot States AL, AZ, FL, GA, LA, NC, SC, TN, & TX
March 20 | Shipping to Most Areas
Various Dates | Pickups at WS Estate, by appointment only
April 28-30 | Pickups at Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY
-Online ordering is strongly encouraged! To access your allocation, use the customized hyperlink in the email we’ll send to you on the opening day of the release. Or, sign in via our website using your user credentials.
– Orders are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Allocations are not guaranteed; they represent the number of bottles available to you until the wine sells out (which is often before the last day to order). Please place your order as soon as possible.
– For bottles beyond your allocation, please use the wish list column. These requests will be filled, if possible, after the close of the release on August 30. You do not need to include payment for wish list wines; we will charge or invoice your account later if the request is filled. – While online ordering is strongly encouraged, you may fax your completed order form to (707) 431-4862. If paying by check, please send via mail to 7227 Westside Rd, Healdsburg CA 95448
– Order confirmations will be sent via email. Please verify your email address!
– Faxed or mailed orders submitted without payment will not be filled; phone and email orders are not accepted.
-Unless otherwise specified or specifically requested, “hot state” (AL, AZ, FL, GA, LA, NC, SC, TN, & TX) orders will begin shipping on Monday, March 6 and orders to all other areas will ship on Monday, March 20.
– Some states do not permit direct wine shipments, or they may limit the amount of wine we can ship to you. Please see the back of your order form for more details and shipping/handling fees.
– We require a shipping address where someone 21+ years of age will be available to sign for the package during regular business hours.
– If you intend to pick up your wine at Williams Selyem Winery, make your selection of 6 or more bottles and choose the “CA Pickup” option on your order. We will reach out to you to schedule your pickup.
THIRD PARTY PICKUP
– If you prefer to have a third party to pick up on your behalf, please select this option from the drop-down menu in your shopping cart or note it on the ship-to section of your order form.
– WS does not apply a shipping/handling charge for CA Pickup going to these third-party vendors: All Ways Cool, 55 Degrees, Oeno Vaults, Vinfolio or VinDelivery – local deliveries only. Handling fees may be added by the vendor; see your contract or contact them directly for more info.
– You must establish an account with the third-party vendor of your choice prior to order pickup.
– Please also note that these vendors do not allow pickups from their location.
55 Degrees Napa Valley, in Napa (707) 963-5513
All Ways Cool, in Santa Rosa (707) 545-7450
Oeno Vaults, in Santa Rosa (707) 595-3612
Vinfolio, in San Francisco (800) 969-1961
VinDelivery – local deliveries only (415) 483-4646
– The Pickup Event at Millbrook will be held Monday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30.
– If you intend to pick up your wine at Millbrook Winery, select the “NY Pickup” option on your order and we will communicate event details as we get closer to the event.
Address: 26 Wing Road, Millbrook, NY 12545 | Phone: (845) 677.8383 ext. 21
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.millbrookwine.com
Spring 2023 Newsletter/in Newsletter
Fall 2022 Newsletter/in Newsletter
One of the questions we most frequently receive is, ‘How long should I wait to drink my Williams Selyem wine?’ As John says, ‘Following our guidelines, which were first drawn up by Burt Williams, can be a test of your moral fiber!’
Spring 2022 Newsletter/in Newsletter
Burt and Ed released the first commercial wine for Williams Selyem in 1981, and for the last 41 vintages a new chapter has been written with the stories of each growing season and the wines produced. Often, it’s the “easy” vintages, like 2014, that make headlines for great wine with cooperative weather and an evenly paced harvest.
Fall 2021 Newsletter/in Newsletter
A Note From John Dyson, Proprietor
We hope your life is beginning to feel normal again. We thank you for your support during the pandemic and we are grateful for things getting back to normal here at the winery.
Spring 2021 Newsletter/in Newsletter
What a tumultuous and strange year 2020 was. From all of us at Williams Selyem, we hope that you have remained safe, sane, healthy, well-rested, and fully stocked with your favorite Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. While there were some serious challenges, like many of you, we have learned to adapt, discovered new skills, and are focusing on the positive developments that have emerged.
Fall 2020 Newsletter/in Newsletter
Wine Unites Us
We recognize, now more than ever, how wine can bring us together when we are so far apart. To say it has been a wild couple of years in Sonoma County is an understatement! Fires, floods, rolling blackouts and now a global pandemic-whew! We are constantly learning and adapting how to best deal with the challenges this new normal presents.