2006 Williams Selyem "Rochioli Riverblock" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1051072 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 Accomplishes the impossible, stunning the palate with the most delicious flavors imaginable, yet with the structural integrity to age. Those flavors intoxicate with cherry pie, black raspberry tart, tangerine zest and mocha, finished with exotic spicebox and sweet, charred new oak smokiness, all enveloped in sheer silkiness and ultrarefined tannins.  (3/2009)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 This is a lush and generous pinot noir grown on the bank above the Russian River on deep deposits of gravel, stone and silty clay. It's a forward and approachable wine in 2006, with tart red cherry fruit that's bright and saturated, the tea-like tannins checking it with a pleasantly bitter edge. For duck breast served over lentils with raspberry coulis.  (4/2009)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 With a pronounced bent to ripeness that separates it from its siblings, this broad, somewhat viscous and positively mouthfilling wine smacks of cherries and black soils with flashes of chocolate showing here and there. While fairly full-bodied, it is very well-balanced, and its considerable richness comes with nary a hint of heaviness, and its persistent finish is unstinting in fruit. It will find its best place as a partner to richer dishes, and it should shine with the likes of well-seasoned pork roasts or a classic rack of lamb.  (2/2009)

Wine Spectator

 Good intensity and focus, if on a modest scale, with wild berry and black cherry fruit that's mouthwatering and firmly tannic.  (9/2009)

K&L Notes

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Dark red. Sexy, room-filling scents evoke raspberry, cherry preserves, blackberry, Asian spices and fresh flowers. Energetic red berry flavors stain the palate and are enlivened by tangy minerals. Strikingly fresh and focused wine with admirable finesse and finishing cut. One of the more lively pinots I tasted on my trip." (May/June '08) 90-92 points Robert Parker: "Displaying a similar style to the 2005, the elegant 2006 Pinot Noir Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard possesses the same gravelly character along with more raspberry and red cherry notes. It is well-made and medium-bodied with tart acidity and an attractive finish." (12/07)

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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.