We just returned from the Williams Selyem Fall Release Pick-up Weekend event in Healdsburg. It was overcast and drizzly at times but instead of bringing us down, it created a wonderful mood for this Halloween Weekend wine tasting event. Plus, everyone knows that red wine tastes better when it is a bit cool outside.
This time it was particularly thrilling because WS unveiled their new visitors center. The building turned out beautifully! Not only is the architecture very pleasing, the site they chose offers spectacular views of the Russian River Valley all the way to the mountains. Though true to their roots, the actual wine tasting happened in the traditional, for this place, white canvas tents out in the dreary weather. Plus they didn’t let any of the visitors see much of the building’s interior beyond the first, grandest room. And I didn’t see any signs for tours, either. Strange. I guess that some things never change.
I was excited and a bit apprehensive on our arrival: would we be disappointed, feel underdressed or get snubbed with the updated look? We heard Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma playing over the loud speakers and instantly felt right at home with the new “corporate” WS image.
As at previous pick-up events, the winery offered tastes of some of their wines and had some local boutique food producers on hand to offer samples of their cheeses, olive oils, chocolates, etc.
The fall weekend event is all about the single vineyard pinot noirs. Overall, we really enjoyed what we tried. Sadly, they sold out of the 2008 Block 10 Estate Vineyard Mass Selection Pinot Noir, which was a bit of a tease as some of the tasting notes suggested that it was available for purchase right there—in limited quantities, naturally.
They’ve a huge following and virtually sell out of all their wines through their subscriber list in a few weeks. It’s a maddening situation! You cannot easily buy these delightful pinots most places and once you’ve become a subscriber, there’re so many restrictions! Now, whether or not I have the money, I snap up all the reds that they offer me immediately and pray that they’ll sell me a few measly bottles more from my wish list. I get that desperate. What do psychologists say? Intermittent rewards are the best way to shape behavior. Well, Williams Selyem, you guys are diabolical geniuses!
2008 Limestone Ridge at Vista Verde Chenin Blanc: The wine was a transparent very pale yellow. Hegui thought it had a nose of green grapes and green apple. It was completely dry with medium to full body. Oddly, it reminded us a little of a chardonnay without all of the butter. Hegui says, “It’s good for white.”
2008 Bucher Vineyard Pinot Noir: This was a brownish red color. We noted cherry, mocha, raisin, red berries and a bit of barnyard on the nose. It had medium to full body with a metallic mineral-y taste with lots of sour cherry. This was the only one that we weren’t sure about. Hegui said, “It’s not horrible, but…”
2008 Weir Vineyard Pinot Noir: This was a purple-ish red color with hints of garrigue on the nose. It had a rounder mouthfeel compared to Bucher with a creamy long ending. That’s more like it!
2008 Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Pinot Noir: This was a brownish, purplish red. We noted a lot of earth and barn in the nose. The structure was unbelievable, coming on strong in the attack and peaking in the middle. Then it slightly drops off before a second, slightly less pronounced flavor peak leading to a very long finish. It simply floods your whole mouth. It had lots of bright red fruit. Amazing!
2008 Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir: This was purplish red with a lot of tobacco and tar on the nose. It had lots of ripe cherries and raspberry as well as cola notes. The finish was long. We thought it would be even better with a few years of age.
2008 Block 10 Estate Vineyard Mass Selection Pinot Noir: I’d like to know more about this particular wine, as it was incredible and incredibly impossible to buy! It was a brownish red color with a distinct nose of hard Christmas candy, cherry, hints of licorice and moss. It had a lot of mineral notes, supple tannins, with an exciting bite on the long finish.
2008 Papera Vineyard Zinfandel: This was a dark purplish red with an amazing nose of caramel, chocolate, toffee, and dulce de leche. This is a very bold, powerful wine that takes no prisoners. It is so chewy that you feel like you’re almost eating it, rather than sipping. We loved the black pepper on the finish.
So that’s it. We hope to return in Spring 2011 for the next WS Pick-up Weekend. Maybe we’ll see you there!!!!