2008 Williams Selyem "Litton Estate Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1094824 98 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is the best of the winery's new releases, both for drinking now and for cellaring. Combines power and elegance, with upscale flavors of cherries, currants, cola, rhubarbs, dried herbs and oak, wrapped into devastatingly rich tannins and a perfect touch of acidity. Should age well for 10 years. *Cellar Selection*  (2/2011)

95 points Connoisseurs Guide

 A bit darker in color than its mates and seemingly more fully extracted in its dark cherry, dried blossoms and slightly toasty oak components, this complex, driven wine is far and away more structured than its mates as well. It is at once bold and closed-in at the same time, and it finds intimations of chocolate and dried brush at the margins. More than any of the other Williams Selyem bevy of beauties, this one wants at least half a decade of quiet to show it best.  (2/2011)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 The Litton Estate Vineyard is now called the Williams Selyem Estate Vineyard in deference to Ridge's Lytton Springs in Dry Creek Valley. It surrounds Williams Selyem's new winery on Westside Road, where John Dyson and Bob Cabral planted pinot noir in 2002, a mix of heritage selections (including Pommard, Swan and Mt. Eden) with Dijon clones. The 2008 is pure black and red cherry flavor, presenting some of the cleanest, clearest fruit character we found in the vintage (there's nothing smoky about it). Bright and refreshing, the wine is smooth and round in the middle, firm in the end. It should age with grace.  (4/2011)

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Price: $74.99
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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 Sp├Ątburgunder 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. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- 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. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
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 Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.