Orchard fruits, jasmine flowers, and musk melon combine to form a medley of aromas in the glass. The layered and complex bouquet makes it difficult to point out […]Read More
|25% new, 25% 1 yr., 25% 2yr., 25% 3+ yr.
Orchard fruits, jasmine flowers, and musk melon combine to form a medley of aromas in the glass. The layered and complex bouquet makes it difficult to point out any singular fruit characteristic due to the mixture of clones interplanted in our Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard, which are harvested all at once. On the palate the wine is as equally layered as it is on the nose, with orchard fruits and melon flavors dominating the profile. The soft acidity is overshadowed by a mouthcoating texture that saturates and clings to the palate throughout the finish.
The 2020 growing season started out very dry with 60% of average rainfall. Dry winters usually bring early bud break, but the nights were colder than average and bud break was delayed. Early spring rains recharged the soil profile, but periods of extreme cold caused many frost events throughout the Russian River Valley. In some areas, frost was an issue and had the effect of lowering the crop. Bloom weather was overall very good, but was interspersed with a few cool periods with scattered showers which created a “hens and chicks” cluster morphology. Late spring yielded ample sunshine and moderate temperatures, and the plants responded very well with excellent canopy growth. Slightly looser clusters and excellent viticultural timing set the stage for good exposure of fruit for color and tannin development. The consequent wines for 2020 have deep color and very refined tannin owing to the early season sunshine. The season ended up approximately 12% warmer than average, and did not have any heat spikes until August. Shoots and stems were well lignified, and seeds were brown—these are all indicators of maturity. The warmer parts of the Russian River Valley were near harvest already so the decision to start picking was made. Harvest started in haste on August 12, ahead of an extreme heat wave. On the night of August 16, the weather changed and there was a rare dry lightning storm that sparked a fire on a hillside in remote west Sonoma County. This fire would later be named the Walbridge Fire. In the Russian River Valley, it took a number of days for smoke to settle along with that were concerns of smoke taint. Based on test results for smoke taint on the grapes, several vineyards were not picked due to the threat of tainted wine. These vineyards were mostly on the Coast. For the vineyards that were picked, either before the fire or before the smoke settled, the result was concentrated wines with a darker, more brooding complexion. The polish of the tannin, coupled with excellent concentration, should allow for a wide drinking window.
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Wine & Spirits
John and Kathe Dyson purchased the land for their estate winery in 2002, above a bend in the Russian River, where John worked with his team to plant 20 clones of chardonnay. Jeff Mangahas harvests those vines as a field blend, producing this crisp and savory white, a cooling wine that speaks of the breezes racing upriver from the coast. It’s a chardonnay with forest greenness, the wildness of an apple tree in the woods, its fruit lively and crisp. —J.G.