2011 Williams Selyem "Allen Vineyard" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

SKU #1256858 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* You can taste the California sun in every sip of this gorgeous Pinot Noir. It brims with luscious raspberries and cherries accented by brisk acidity and a hint of sweet, smoky oak. It's terrifically complex, with notes of mushroom, orange zest, cola, rosehip tea and persimmon. Dry and elegant, with a wonderful mouthfeel, it's gorgeous now, but will gain earthy complexity over the next 15 years.  (2/2014)

94 points Connoisseurs Guide

 If slightly restrained at the outset, this very well-focused young Pinot exhibits plenty of pure, red-cherry fruit and seems to gain in volume, complexity and depth as it goes, and its striking brightness and balance ensure that it will continue to do so for years ahead. It is rich and yet wonderfully light on its feet at one and the same time, and its combination of precision and fruity depth tags it as one the best wines of the very fine Williams Selyem lot. *Two Stars*  (2/2014)

93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright ruby. Black raspberry, cherry-cola and fresh flowers on the highly perfumed nose. Fleshy, nicely concentrated red fruit preserve flavors are braced by gentle acidity and complicated by a candied floral quality. Becomes weightier in the glass while maintaining its vibrancy, finishing sweet and long, with persistent florality. Very sexy already but this Pinot is balanced to reward at least mid-term aging. (ST)  (5/2013)

92 points Wine & Spirits

 The Allen Vineyard is one of the older Pinot Noir plantings in Sonoma County; most of the vines for this bottling date back to 1970, when Howard and Ann Allen first established their vineyard on a slope above the Russian River. Vine age and thinner hillside soils both contribute to the wine’s notably firm structure. This feels polished and energetic, its richness held in tension against ample natural acidity given by a cool year, the flavors suggesting dark cherries and bay leaf in their deep, savory length. It feels balanced to age.  (4/2014)

Wine Spectator

 Although a little rustic and tannic around the edges, this remains impressive, with subtle shadings and an appealing core of earth-laced plum and raspberry flavors. (JL, Web-2014)

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Price: $109.99
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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.