2011 Williams-Selyem "Vista Verde Vineyard" San Benito County Pinot Noir

SKU #1140924 92 points 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)  (5/2013)

90 points Vinous

 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)  (2/2014)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 *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.  (2/2014)

Connoisseurs Guide

 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.  (2/2014)

Wine Spectator

 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)

K&L Notes

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.

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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. 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.