4th of July with great wines incl 97` Williams Selyem Rochioli and more

Tradition held form on the 2015 version of the 4th of July celebration as we once again thoroughly enjoyed the annual event held at Burt William`s Santa Barbara home overlooking the harbor, ocean and channel islands as well as the city itself and more importantly on the this occasion, the fireworks display emanating from the beach down below.

As always, we ate extremely well and drank just a tad better. With magnificent panoramic near and far views on a bluebird day, we celebrated our Independence in style starting with:

NV LAURENT- PERRIER BRUT ROSE- this is such a perfect segue into drinking Pinot Noir with a fruit profile of fresh strawberry, raspberry and red cherry along with a touch of toast and spiciness; it please all the way through and held on to coat the palate with its treasures well after sipping; were ready to go for the gold and its coming.

2003 BROGAN CELLARS RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY RESERVE PINOT NOIR- 1.5L; absolutely fabulous and a great example of Margie`s prowess in styling fine wines in her own right having grown up with a great mentor, father Burt Williams; this treat gave up a bountiful of rich, layered, vibrant dark fruit especially black cherry/ berry with a sprinkle of cinnamon, spice and toastiness; it was full throttle yet sophisticated and easy on the palate; the structure vividly states this has the stuffing to go a long way gaining maturity and moving into even more dimensions of bliss.

1997 WILLIAMS SELYEM COASTLANDS PINOT NOIR- in addition to the Rose, this was my contribution to the mix and thankfully so; Ive had many of this gem and this was a really good bottle expressing the elegance and class as those before it; the fruit profile is my preferred light red Pinot Noir flavors of strawberry and raspberry with a bit of red cherry showing up by mid palate; its all embellished with some talc, wood spice, baking spices and clove and as suggested by Burt, some orange rind; this is beautifully balanced, still youthful and so giving; I went back a few times.

1997 WILLIAMS SELYEM ROCHIOLI PINOT NOIR- 1.5L; in the past, Ive not found a better Pinot Noir from California or Oregon and Im still of the mind, this is the finest Pinot Noir ever produced by Burt although hed argue a few others were as good and who am I to dispute? My notes herein do not serve the descriptors of merit; yes, its perfectly balanced, amazingly round and seamless and has that Rochioli trademark vibrant black fruit, mostly of black cherry and the perfectly blending in of spice, cinnamon and cola; yes, it has incredible mouthfeel with a silky smooth lush texture and orgasmic length extending the sensory pleasure; and yes, in a magnum format, it was so youthful and evolving in the glass that new depths kept on unfolding and delivering more; I`m in Pinot Noir heaven.

2003 BROGAN CELLARS RUSSIAN RIVER RESERVE VALLEY ZINFANDEL- 1.5L; another star amongst stars on this night and another winner from Margie who had to be delighted at the treasures her 2 wines offered on this night; there are some notes that would delineate this as a Zinfandel in a blind tasting and yet its was not just another Zin; it was very fruit forward from the aromatics on and had an abundance of cranberry, cherry in a concentrate that reached out to all parts of my palate and taste buds; this makes a statement to some of my friends who may pass on it because its ZINFANDEL; I`m a big fan of this one and a few others.

1988 CHATEAU DUHART-MILON PAUILLAC- when the cork was pulled, it split into 2 pieces with the smaller top of it smelling so corky, TCA like which cautioned the nest step of getting the nose and follow through; as it turned out, all was good; no corkiness and good wine; it had a bit of earth and leather to complement the nice black currant and black berry fruit with a hit of plum coming in late; it was easy and long on the palate and paired perfectly with the sausages and meats.

With a stellar 20 minutes fireworks display in front of us and a satiated smile on all of our faces, we embraced the show and celebrated the occasion in grand style.


Mmmmm…Williams-Selyem Rochioli made me go chase the Rochioli list. So far, the Rochioli wines do not hold the same interest as the Williams-Selyem (and I’m off the list, but cellaring a few vintages of designates that I held on for while I was on). I wish there was more of this around (and Riverblock too, even), but alas, it is not so.

I always enjoy your notes on these as your depth of experience provides a good reference point.


Fred, thanks for your reply. I realize we all have our high points re a specific wine and Ive reached mine more than a few times on this 97 Rochioli. When Burt put this on the table, he turned the label away from me and stated its time for some Olivet Lane and I fell for it. He poured a taste and without questioning, I had a BIG idea he was spoofing and the gleam in his eyes confirmed such. It took 2 tastes before I could claim the ID as certain. Ive got to improve on this.