2006 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1051067 94 points Wine & Spirits

 There's something in this wine that's rivetingly true to its place, a classical simplicity, as if smelling cherry blossoms in a coastal forest, or picking raspberries along Westside Road. It has the gentleness of great Russian River Pinot, and a bright, happy flavor that lasts for minutes. From five neighboring vineyards, including Rochioli and Flax, with 90 percent of the fruit coming from Williams Selyem estate plantings at Drake and Litton. Winemaker Bob Cabral believes it's his best Russian River Pinot Noir in years.  (10/2008)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Deep red. Captivating, perfumed bouquet of spicy raspberry, blackberry and fresh rose. Sappy and broad, with deep but energetic red fruit flavors, supple texture and no obvious tannins. Gains power on the finish, which delivers a wallop of sweet raspberry and candied blackcurrant. (ST)  (5/2008)

Allen Meadows - Burghound

 While similar in character, here the fruit aromas are slightly more deeply pitched than those of the Sonoma coast and lead to noticeably fuller and richer flavors that retain the same detail and precision on the moderately more complex and persistent finish. Delicious but not simple.  (10/2008)

Connoisseurs Guide

 Sporting the red cherry fruit one looks for in Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs, this pleasing expression of grape and place comes with a veneer of enriching oak that lifts its aromas nicely and fills out its tasty, youthfully energetic flavors. Full in body at entry and somewhat supple across the palate, this wine delivers its fully fruited flavors with an added fillip of a stony, minerally underpinning. Look for it to age for several years and to be a fine mate to game birds and veal chops. *One Star*  (6/2008)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2006 Pinot Noir Russian River, which is primarily from their estate vineyards, is a beauty, showing nice, earthy, berry fruit, with hints of strawberry, underbrush, and loamy soil notes. (RP)  (12/2008)

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Price: $59.99

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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.


- 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 Gew├╝rztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.