2002 Williams Selyem "Flax" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (Previously $80)

SKU #1026684 92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Two Stars* Intriguing touches of dark earth, cloves and a wisp of vaguely woodsy spice lend singular personality to this very deep and impressively concentrated Pinot. Ripeness is more of an accent than the governing principle here, and solid, well-formed fruit is the wine's driving force. The wine has the velvety texture that good Pinot must, but its fleshy roundness is tempered by firming acids and a touch of integral tannin as it crosses the palate.  (2/2005)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright medium ruby. Complex aromas of blackberry, cassis, coffee, caramel and game. Begins very intense but rather lean, then builds and blossoms in the mouth, coating the palate with flavors of blackberry, cherry and rose. Ultimately lush but firmly tannic on the finish, in need of at least a couple years of additional cellaring. Like the Ferrington, this was aged in a relatively high 70% new oak. (ST)  (6/2004)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Aromas of coconut, pomegranate, sweet cherries, and blackberries emerge from the voluptuous, textured, layered 2002 Pinot Noir Flax Vineyard. Surprisingly accessible and plump for a Williams-Selyem Pinot ... (RP)  (2/2005)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 Another Williams Selyem wine that tasters had differing opinions about. Several liked its rich array of black cherry, spicy plum and smoky oak, and overall balance and lushness. But one reviewer found it flabby and soft, with some residual sugar. You decide.  (11/2004)

Wine Spectator

 A smooth and notably harmonious young Pinot, with supple plum and black cherry flavors that are focused and pure through the finish, where it shows a touch of cedary oak.  (8/2004)

K&L Notes

This 2002 Flax was made during the early years of winemaker Bob Cabral's tenure at Williams Selyem.

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.