2002 Williams Selyem "Allen Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1033184 96 points Connoisseurs Guide

 *Three stars* A brilliant wine of exceptional range and complexity, the Allen Vineyard bottling starts with a fascinating suggestion of dark soil just slightly beneath its outgoing themes of vanilla, root-beer, bacon and pure, cherry-like fruit. Ripe and very well-measured in all of its parts, it is full and wonderfully rounded in feel, and its deep and involving flavors of minerals, cherries and spice hold on and on at the finish. As with several of its cellarmates, it will take real self control not to drink it up in the very near term, but it has the beauty depth and balance to improve for four or five years.  (2/2005)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The terrific deep ruby/purple-tinged 2002 Pinot Noir Allen Vineyard offers a smorgasbord of aromas and flavors, including crushed minerals, black raspberries, forest floor, and strawberry jam. (RP)  (2/2005)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Good full ruby-red. Highly aromatic nose combines black fruits, minerals, pepper, Asian spices, flowers and sexy oak. Dense, intensely flavored and rather powerful, but with the seamless texture of the best examples from this superb vineyard. Very ripe and concentrated but still quite young. Black fruit flavors are nicely framed by espresso and sweet oak notes on the lingering finish. 93+ (ST)  (6/2004)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Wonderful perfumed aromas of ripe Pinot, rose petals, black cherry and plum, this wine makes a statement about how polished and elegant Russian River Pinots can be, with its soothing, caressing texture. The finish brings the core Pinot flavors to the forefront, with a long, luxurious aftertaste. (JL)  (8/2004)

92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 *Outstanding* Perhaps it's just the name but I have always admired what W&S has accomplished with the fruit of this vineyard over the years. A stunning nose of striking complexity soars from the glass to reveal high-toned and wonderfully complex spicy red pinot fruit nuanced by earth and game hints followed by gorgeously seductive and textured medium full flavors underpinned by a firm spine of ripe tannins and excellent length. This is a showy effort but not one given to excess as it's balanced from start to finish and while there is a bit of toast in evidence, this should be absorbed over the 5 to 7 years this will need to be at its best.  (7/2005)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 The Allen vineyard, adjacent to and farmed by the Rochiolis on the western bank of the Russian River, grew this gentle, fragrant pinot noir. Its velvet texture carries tart raspberry and strawberry flavor, a fruit-driven wine with oak providing an understated chocolate richness to the structure. Serve it now with salmon in a red wine reduction, or let it develop in the cellar.  (2/2005)

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Price: $89.99
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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 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.