2011 Williams-Selyem "Vista Verde Vineyard" San Benito County Pinot Noir
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Ruby-red. Candied cherry, Asian spices, fresh flowers and cocoa powder on the highly perfumed nose, along with a touch of sexy oak spices. Juicy, energetic and focused, offering sweet red fruit and rose pastille flavors that gain weight in the glass. Shows impressive power and clarity on the long, palate-staining finish. For such a potent wine there's real finesse here. (ST)
The 2011 Pinot Noir Vista Verde Vineyard is one of the darker, firmer wines in this range. A wine of considerable structure, the 2011 could use another 6-12 months for the tannins to soften. Dark cherries, plums, mocha, new leather and spices flesh out in an inviting, dense wine. This is a decidedly imposing, virile style of Pinot, but all the elements are in the right place. (AG)
*Cellar Selection* This is not the winery’s best bottling, but it is distinctive, coming from a county south of San Francisco on the way to Monterey. It shows the mouthwatering acidity of the vintage, along with cola, red currant and sandalwood flavors wrapped into ageworthy tannins. Give it six years at least.
It should come as no surprise that this one from the Central Coast strikes out on a path of its own, and its woodsy, half-meaty, faintly earthy aspects very much make it the black sheep of the family. It is fleshy and full and less about fruit than it is about extract and spice, and, if not a proponent of Pinot Noir beauty, it is an interesting, somewhat rustic riff on the grape.
Offering intense, deep flavors amid firm, drying tannins, this promises to reward, as the mix of dark berry notes gains depth and range while holding focus. The tannins make a statement. Drink now through 2023. (Web Only—2014)
Although somewhat far-flung, in the rolling hills outside of Hollister in San Benito County on a former cattle ranch, Vista Verde is actually an estate Pinot Noir vineyard owned by Williams Selyem. Fun fact for viticulture geeks: Part of the vineyard is trained to the Smart-Dyson system, so-named for viticulturist Richard Smart and Williams Selyem owner John Dyson.