I'm having a great time on a week-long vacation to California. Will get home in time to launder clothes and repack for MO'COOL. I am using a public computer in the Casa Munras in Monterey so will report in pieces or after I get home.
First wine of the journey was a Witness Tree Estate Pinot Noir from Oregon in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport between flights (a 2008 or 2009?) Deep garnet color with some transparency. Candied cherry-berry nose; silken entry, medium to full body; medium to long fiish.
Spent Thursday night in San Francisco and dined at Fleur de Lys (Hubert Keller is the chef.) Terribly blustery and cold in San Fran but I enjoyed the dinner.
Friday I drove up to Sonoma County and before the West of West Festivl kicked off, I had an appointment at WILLIAMS SELYEM for a tasting. Two other couples there and at least one of them was from Charlotte, NC. The other man has a restaurant in Auburn, AL. One of the couples had lived in Prague for awhile.
The Williams Selyem owner, John Dyson, has built a beautiful office. winery, shipping area and tasting room venue with vaulted ceilings, offices around a loft area, glass bottles making up one huge wall feature, lovely redwood ceiling and wine racks, etc. Designed by a New York architect who had not previously designed a winery. We also toured the area with tanks and barrels and concrete "egg" and it was kept very clean.
The tasting consisted of the 2011 UNOAKED CHARDONNAY, 2006 VISTA VERDE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR, 2008 RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR, 2008 SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR AND THE 2007 FEENEY VINEYARD, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY, ZINFANDEL.
The grapes for the UNOAKED CHARDONNAY came from a property across the street from Williams Selyem and were fermented in stainless steel tanks. Lightly lemony, acidic, refreshing, light and easy. 13.1 abv. I think I ordered two bottles of this for later shipment. It has not yet been released to the public.
2006 VISTA VERDE PINOT NOIR, CENTRAL COAST. i have one bottle of Vista Verde P.N. at home but without checking CellarTracker I'm not sure what vintage. This was 14% abv. with flowery aromatics. Also red fruit, cherry/berry. Rich, lasting fiish.
The 2008 RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT was also 14% abv. Mostly estate fruit from Drake Estate which John Dyson purchased in 2007. I didn't take notes on this wine.
The 2008 SONOMA COAST PINOT NOIR, also listed as 14% abv. had a spicy note not present in the Russian River Valley P.N.
The 2007 FEENY VINEYARD ZINFANDEL, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY, was an elegant Zin at 14.1% abv. I ordered a bottle for later shipment.
Nice relaxed visit in a beautiful setting. They recently had a photo-journalist there to do a feature on the building for a women's magazine.
More later about the Hirsch, Lioco, Red Car dinner, West of West Festival seminars and the grand tasting and Whole Hog Feast.