Had a Williams Selyem day...

We decided to do a theme day and tipple only Willaims Selyem wines…

  1. Started with the 2011 Drake Estate chardonnay. Well balanced wine, with no overemphasis on the lactic part of malolactic, some tropical fruit flavors, and a long long finish both on the back of the toungue and the top of the soft palate. (Maybe a hint of banana or lychee.) For my wife amd I, it was our chard of the year.

  2. 1993 Olivet Lane pinot noir.

Very fruity, with what I think of as positive potent sour cherry notes, with a little leather. Now “fully soft” so I would say it won’t be any better in ten years. A drink now treat.

  1. 2001 Ferrington pinot noir. For several people the wine of the night - loads of structure and complex flavors, Would hold up with any meat dish you’d like. A great wine in its powerhouse right now.

I would buy this on the secondary market, for sure.

  1. 2011 Block 10 - Mass selection Estate pinot noir.

Plentiful tannins, actually! Built kinda big and seems like it will have a long live in front of it. As the bottle sat open, the wine really blossomed, with great aromas detectable from a distance. I really liked this one. The fruit is maybe a bit austere, which I mean as high praise, and comes to you slowly…first taking off its glasses, then pulling out its hair pin and freeing its glorious main. It approaches, slower, slower…This wine is a solid librarian fantasy if I had to rate it.

  1. Zin time, and we went with the 2001 Forchini Vineyard “North Flats” and the 1991 Russian River Valley zins.

Both are ready to party right now. Sometimes, with zin, I think, “not so much aged as just still really good,” and these qualify. They still have what they did when younger, only rounder, and no hint of oxidized flavors - kind of like a two day old stew - the individual ingredients (flavors/sensations) have had time to blend and integrate, so you can tell it’s the same stew, only better, just not as vibrant. I would vote to drink these at their ages rather than trade for new.

  1. One we had only tried once before…we “Pobega’d” a WS 2008 Haystack Peak cab.

Globally, in the ‘smooth’ category of modern cabernets. Reminded me of the Foley Reserve from Chalk Hill, maybe like some of the higher end Hall wines.

Great range of flavors, and soft on the tannins. Disappears from the bottle more quickly than you think you are drinking it.

  1. 2005 Drake Estate Bland De Noir.

Nice light yeast on the nose, tiny little bubbles… :stuck_out_tongue:

Good mouth feel, and round flavors. Just right acidity. It was the favorite of several people. It has a refreshing/clean finish and leaves a 'good impression" on the palate. It succeeds by not being “too” anything - a good all around bubbly experience. (Consumed from the magnum.)

Bottom line, no clinkers!

I recently had the 93’ Olivet Lane and found it to be wonderful as well and can concur with the sour cherry notes. I also got a little earthy/meaty thing going on that I had trouble describing. . . probably similar to what you picked out as leather.

I can only assume that you visit the winery regularly as I know the Block 10 is winery only, and I’m guessing the same for the Cab Sauv (which I had no idea they made), as well as the Blanc de Noir.

Most of the Williams-Selyem days I’ve have were good days!

Enjoyable read. Thanks for posting, Anton.

Thanks for the notes, Anton. Sounds like a wonderful time was had. Never had a Williams Selyem wine that disappointed me.

I actually had a 2009 Drake Chard this weekend and it was excellent. Rich, but etched. Poured off half the bottle for the next day and the acid had mellowed into a different kind of great. I’m relatively new to the WS wines, but if you are on the list, they seem to over perform the price point.

We had the 2001 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and an 2006 Feeney Zinfandel, the other night, both were “gone”, but I found myself drinking most of the Pinot anyhow (there was a certain “something”). The other people moved on to other more recent wines.

Great write-up, thanks for posting. Great wines, maybe I need to drink a few over the holidays.

Thanks for posting Anton. This is one thing I enjoy about Wine Berserkers is living vicariously through others --whether it be wines I could never dream of tasting or update reports on wines I have in the cellar. Had the 2007 Russian River last night and it is drinking beautifully!

I had the 2003 Ferrington, Vista Verde and Flax at Thanksgiving. All were good to great (the VV was thje weakest), although the Flax was a real standout. Had a chinato aspect to it that i found compelling. 10 years is a sweet spot for the single vineyards (except the VV which seems to be the weakest offering).

I really liked the '08 Haystack Peak Cabernet when we tried it at the winery. One of my favorite CA Cabs this year.


Our EWG wine group had the 93 WS Olivet on Sunday, next to seven 1993 Burgs and the Williams Selyem was distinctly California and I think loved by most in our group. I thought it killed. I was amazed and the freshness but do agree that now is perhaps the best time to drink it.


Do you have any thoughts on how more recent vintages will age? I’ve been drinking through some 2005’s recently and quite enjoyed them…

I haven’t had any recently. I do have some 05s but I gave up on them after that vintage. It seemed to me that the post Burt wines were too inconsistent considering the price.