96` Henriot Brut in magnum; 74` Ridge Zinfandel; 92` Williams Selyem Allen Pinot Noir

We recently entertained Burt Williams and his lovely wife Rebecca for dinner in our home. Starting with appetisers on the rooftop on a magnificent blue bird day, we enjoyed a fine magnum of champagne and then moved downstairs to feast on a creative dinner put together with a South America theme.

I typically supply the bubbly plus a bottle of Burt made Pinot Noir, but in this case, Burt brought the champagne.

1996 HENRIOT BRUT MILLESIME- magnum; a great combination of a stellar vintage from a fine producer in a magnum format makes for a winning combination which this fulfilled; this bottle was at its peak maturity; with a yellow gold colour, it had mature notes of butterscotch, honeysuckle and caramel in the nose; the taste profile had more peach, pear, apricot and lemon with a lightly honeyed undertone; it had a creamy mousse, bright acidity and a crisp, refreshing finish; consumed.

1974 RIDGE LYTTON SPRINGS ZINFANDEL- I had promised Burt that wed share this bottle which I recently acquired and tonight was the night; the colour was a deep, dark purple with no signs of ageing; it had a good amount of spicy dried blueberry which beautifully dominated the taste profile; additionally, some black cherry, cranberry and plum also came in; Burt mentioned this had some Petit Sirah in it and I then checked the label to discover it was 92% Zinfandel and 8% Petit Sirah with an abv of 13.3%; the quite informative label also stated the vines were 80 years old, 1974 was an excellent harvest, the wine was bottled in November 75, the tannins were higher than previous years and it needed 5 years to develop; we certainly achieved that last qualification.

1992 WILLIAMS SELYEM ALLEN VINEYARD PINOT NOIR- its always a treat for me to bring out a wine that Burt made and share it with him; that typically leads to discussion about the vintage, the vineyard, harvest, etc.; Joe Rochioli was the vineyard manager for Allen and Burt praised his knowledge and expertise in viticulture; he gives credit to Joe for this fabulous wine; Ive only had great bottles of this 92` and this one may have been the best ever; the colour was a milky, velvety red with no signs of ageing; the nose had spice and cinnamon flavoured red raspberry which continued on and was joined by a dollop of strawberry; the texture was silky smooth and the flavours crescendoed into a grand climax; this was in perfect balance and so elegant with grace and charm, a tie with the first 2 wines for WOTN.

Another fabulous evening with friends with food and wine as the intermediary.


Please excuse typos and unintended auto-corrects


Great info as usual. I think there may be an error here with the Ridge though - you say that it was a '74 and that it was bottled in November, 1974. My guess is that it was bottled in perhaps 1975?


Always love your notes Blake. The 92 Allen was one of the greats. Alas no more WS in the cellar.

Thanks for the heads up Larry. It most assuredly was bottled in 75 and Ive edited it in to the notes. Here`s the back label:

Sean, sorry to hear of the absence of older WS in your cellar. I need to put together a tasting for many on this board who have expressed the same thing. I`m not sure how to go about it, but it could be a fun event and perhaps I can get Burt to attend as well.

I can’t wait to lay away years of WS and drink it year after year like you do! How many years worth of Burt wines do you have left?!

Bryan, I have wines from 85-97 including Zinfandels, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with 90% being the latter and most all being 91-97 and in 750ml.