2014 Williams Selyem "Hirsch Vineyard" Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (Previously $130)

SKU #1286104 96 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Winning highest honors among the splendid new lot of Williams Selyem Pinots for its vibrancy and textbook varietal precision, the winery's best-ever offering from the Hirsch Vineyard marries classic, very pure, ripe cherry fruit with a deft touch of sweet oak and wispy hints of dried flowers. Although bright and balanced to firmness, it exhibits a little more fruity richness than other vintners manage to coax from this very cool site, and the wine's firm spry spine is always an integral piece. It is a Pinot Noir that is guaranteed to grow with age even if there is nothing about it that dissuades drinking now, and we would not be surprised in the least if it continues to improve even as its tenth birthday nears.  (10/2016)

94 points Vinous

 The 2014 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard is arguably the most reticent wine in this range. Still raw and not fully formed, the Hirsch only hints at its ultimate potential. The sensual aromatics typical of this site only emerge with quite a bit of time in the glass, but more generally, the elements need time to come together. Today, the Hirsch is a bit compact and folded in on itself, while the oak is prominent. Still, the wine's persistence and silky tannins bode well for the future. There is certainly plenty to look forward to. 94+ (AG)  (8/2016)

92 points Allen Meadows - Burghound

 There is a background hint of reduction that is just enough to shave the top notes from the otherwise well-layered red and dark pinot fruit aromas that are liberally laced with both spice and floral nuances; if you're going to try a bottle upon release, I would advise allowing this 30 minutes or so in a decanter. There is excellent volume and in particular mid-palate concentration to the rich and velvet-textured flavors that coat the palate with dry extract that also serves to buffer the moderately firm tannic spine shaping the impressively long if mildly austere finale where a hint of asperity appears. Like several of the wines in the range this built-to-age effort needs to develop more depth but everything appears to be in place such that this eventuality will likely occur.  (6/2017)

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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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).