In a recent interview with Burt Williams of Williams Selyem he had the following to say about the W&S Chardonnay production--"We've been producing Pinot Noir and Zinfandel commercially since 1981 with two releases of Muscat Canneli in 1984 and 1991 and decided to begin producing Chardonnay because we were aware of the stellar quality of the fruit. The uniqueness of the Allen Vineyard fruit is attributable to exceptional farming practices also the fruit exhibits a unique spicy element of cinnamon and clove that is evident even as the fruit is being crushed. The fruit also comes in with an exceptional pH balance and maintains it throughout fermentation. New François Fererè oak barrels were used with the 1990 and 1991 vintages. Starting with the 1992 vintage, Burt Williams introduced one or two Sequin Moreau barrels into the Chardonnay program. Also in 1992 the barrel program was modified to 50% new and 50% one or two year old barrels. Production averages 200 cases from the Allen Vineyard. The average fermentation has been six weeks to eleven months, with 1991 the shortest and 1994 the longest.

The 1990 Chardonnay, Allen Vineyard, Russian River Valley has a perfumed nose of baked apple, ripe tropical fruits, peach, geranium, honeydew melon and toast. The flavors of apples, pineapple, mango, papaya and butterscotch and round and balanced, with good depth, followed by a medium long, creamy, toasty finish (90).

The 1991 Chardonnay, Allen Vineyard, Russian River Valley has a perfumed bouquet of tropical fruits, apples, citrus, cinnamon, carnation, apricot, drawn butter and minerals. The flavors of pineapple, mango, kiwi, vanilla custard, almond and butterscotch are very well balanced with very good depth and texture, followed by a creamy, fruity finish with firm acidity (91).

The 1992 Chardonnay, Allen Vineyard, Russian River Valley has a fabulous bouquet of tropical fruits, lemon custard, roasted nuts, carnation, pear, praline, vanilla and clover. The flavors of pineapple, kiwi, pear, coconut and apples, with mineral highlights, are very complex with exceptional depth and balance followed by a long, fruity, spicy finish with crisp acidity (94).

The 1993 Chardonnay, Allen Vineyard, Russian River Valley has an exotic bouquet of pineapple, mango, peach, lemon/lime custard, quince, green apple and spice with floral highlights. The flavors of rich pineapple, lemon, pear, apple and lichee nut are complex with exceptional depth and texture, followed by a fabulous, creamy, fruity, mineral-etched finish (94).

The 1994 Chardonnay, Allen Vineyard, Russian River Valley has a perfumed nose of ripe apples, tropical fruits, tapioca, pear, clove and toasty vanilla. The flavors of pineapple, citrus, coconut, kiwi and custard are very well balanced, followed by a very complex, fruity, expansive finish -- Needs time (90).

The 1995 Chardonnay, Allen Vineyard, Russian River Valley has a fabulous nose of pear, pineapple, peach lichee nut, red apple, apricot, minerals and vanilla with a hint of cinnamon. The exotic flavors of tropical fruits, flint, clove, citrus zest, quince, praline and minerals are very rich and complex, with exceptional depth, followed by a long, lingering, fruity, spicy finish with firm acidity -- Needs a bit of time (94).

Williams Selyem was purchased by former New York Stage Commissioner of Agriculture John Dyson in early 1998. A proprietor of Pebble Ridge Vineyard and Wine Estates he also owns Millbrook Vineyards and Winery in New York, the Mistral and Vista Verde Vineyards on the North Central Coast of California and the Villa Pilio Estate in Tuscany. With the acquisition of Williams Selyem, John Dyson has acquired arguably the finest producer of Pinot Noir in the United States. Founded in 1981 by co-owners Burt Williams and Ed Selyem, W&S has developed a cult following over 17 years of production and twice yearly sells its entire production to loyal customers on its mailing list. Demand has been so high the W&S has had to allocate its supply in small quantities. John Dyson takes his stewardship of Williams Selyem quite seriously. The acquisition is the culmination of his lifelong interest in wine. Dyson has been quoted as saying "Lovers of Williams & Selyem will not see any changes in the wine".

-The Insiders' Wine Line-

Williams Selyem / 6575 Westside Rd. / Healdsburg, CA  95448 / 707-433-6425

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