2009 Williams Selyem "Hirsch Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

SKU #1138291 95 points Wine Enthusiast

 Soft and ripe enough to drink now, after a decent decanting, it shows pure raspberry, blueberry and cherry fruit flavors, subtlely accented with cola and baking spices, and all of it wrapped into thick but smooth tannins. Good as it is, it will gain traction over the next 15 years. *Cellar Selection*  (2/2012)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby. Spicy red and dark berries and cherry-cola on the nose, with complicating notes of dried rose, white pepper and fruitcake. Light on its feet but very concentrated, offering powerful red fruit and floral pastille flavors that expand in the mid-palate. Becomes deeper and smokier with air while maintaining its balance and focus. This leads with finesse but there's sneaky power as well. Finishes racy and pure, with an echo of bitter cherry and excellent persistence. (ST)  (6/2011)

94 points Wine & Spirits

 A selection of three blocks from David Hirsch’s far-coast vineyard near Fort Ross, this is made up of three heritage clones: Mt. Eden (block 4B), Pommard (5E) and Swan (6F). Give this time in a decanter and the delicate weave of flavor opens into a peacock’s tail of colors and intricate patterns, the vanillin of the oak, the black olive tones of the tannins, the high-toned strawberry and orange-scented fruit all secondary to the refinement of the presentation and the energy that drives it. A joyous young vintage, this will age for a decade or more.  (4/2012)

90 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Drawn from an especially cool coastal site, this lively, somewhat leaner look at Pinot is at once bright and firmly balanced without sacrificing incisive, red-cherry fruit. Its acidity is obvious from the outset, and it does lean to tartness on the palate, but its fruit holds and holds, and it should relax a little with age. It is not one for drinking with hearty fare, but it will shine when matched up with the likes of ahi tuna or salmon in creamy sauces. *One Star*  (2/2012)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard weaves across the palate with layers of expressive, ripe red fruit. The Hirsch impresses for its delineation and nuance, both of which are on full display here. Sweet dark berries, spices and licorice add complexity as the wine opens up in the glass. (AG)  (12/2011)

Wine Spectator

 This trim, balanced Pinot shows a mineral, wet-rock edge to the snappy berry flavors. Medium-bodied, refreshingly vibrant and mouthwatering. (JL)  (4/2012)

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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:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).