The Williams Selyem Evening

2007 Williams Selyem Pinot NoirEvery month, eight of us wine-minded friends visit a New Jersey BYOB restaurant for a wine-filled evening. It’s gotten to a point where each couple tries to outdo the others with not only top-notch wines, but also somewhat difficult-to-find bottles.

For last month’s dinner, I bought a bottle of 2007 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Central Coast from a reputable online wine seller. The wine came about 4 weeks prior to the scheduled dinner and it sat on my wine bar that whole time, staring at me, urging me to uncork it.

Well, I behaved and waited for the dinner party to uncork it, but was excited to show it off as Williams Selyem wines are top-rated, somewhat hard-to-buy wines that come close to perfection, in my opinion. After everyone sat at the table, my Twitter food and wine pal, Marty, and I unpacked our bottles at the same time and Marty had a 2011 Williams Selyem Papera Vineyard Zinfandel. What a coincidence, a very pleasant coincidence! We both laughed at our good fortune and truly enjoyed each bottle.

Here are my tasting notes for both bottles:

If you have an opportunity to sample any Williams Selyem wines, jump at the chance. Winemaker Bob Cabral is a genus.

Cheers,

Veronique

2011 Williams Selyem Papera Vineyard Zinfandel

2011 Williams Selyem Papera Vineyard Zinfandel

2011 Williams Selyem Papera Vineyard ZinfandelWas fortunate enough to have a friend bring this bottle of the 2011 Williams Selyem Papera Vineyard Zinfandel to a dinner party where I was able to sample it. What a big, bold, beautiful Zin.

The inky black color of the wine as it hit the glass was just gorgeous. The aromas of jammy dark berries with chocolaty notes were intoxicating. Who could pull away from this nose for a sip? Me, of course, but with difficulty. Ripe raspberry and blackberry flavors abound in the mouth along with fig jam and mocha undertones. Simply a big, concentrated and delicious mouthful.

Thanks Marty and Joan for sharing!

Pairings: Lamb, grilled beef or game, blue cheese

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Zinfandel

Region: Sonoma, CA, USA

Price: $70

2007 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Central Coast

2007 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Central Coast

2007 Williams Selyem Pinot NoirAs a huge Pinot Noir fan (and who isn’t?), I thought this 2007 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Central Coast was pretty outstanding. It’s not easy to find, and after buying through a reputable online seller, I was eager to sip it.

In the glass, it’s a beautiful, vibrant red color. The aromas are of dark raspberries and pumpkin pie spices with some floral notes. The palate offers big, ripe cherry flavors and that silky, velvety mouthfeel other Pinots wish they could attain. The finish is long and earthy.

Pairings: Duck, turkey, grilled chicken, any mushroom-centered dish

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Central Coast, CA, USA

Price: $75

2011 Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco

2011 Zuani Vigne Collio Bianco

2011 Zuani Vigne Collio BiancoI prepared a light vegetarian risotto and it was such a great match to this bright and fruity wine.

In the glass, this Italian white wine is vibrant yellow. A quick sniff offers fragrant fruity and wet stone aromas. The fruitiness continues on the palate with rich flavors of peach followed by a slightly honey-laced finish.

Pairings: Chicken, pork, light risotto

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Pinot Grigio

Region: Fiuli, Italy

Price: $24

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding to my repertoire as it is truly enjoyable.

2011 Castello di Amorosa Dolcino Gewurztraminer

2011 Castello di Amorosa Dolcino Gewurztraminer

2011 Castello di Amorosa DolcinoI just love Gewurztraminer. It’s right up there with Riesling as one of my favorite white varietals. The 2011 Castello di Amorosa Dolcino Gewurztraminer offers attractive nutty, spiced aromas with light floral notes. As soon as I took in the first sip, I knew I was going to be a fan. Big unctuous mouthfeel, rich, lightly honey-kissed sweetness, nice level of acidity make this an ideal wine for spicy foods or grilled fish.

Pairings: Thai or Vietnamese food, grilled fish

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Gewurztraminer

Region: Mendocino County, CA, USA

Price: $23

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding to my repertoire as it is truly enjoyable.

2011 Kellerei Kaltern Caldaro Pinot Bianco Weissburgunder

2011 Kellerei Kaltern Caldaro Pinot Bianco Weissburgunder

2011 Kellerei Kaltern Caldaro Pinot Bianco WeissburgunderMedium yellow in the glass, this Alto Adige Pinot Blanc offers a big noseful of Asian pear. The bright, fresh fruity flavors are of apples, pears and Meyer lemons. Nice level of acidity on the finish.

Perfect to serve summer party guests as they munch on light appetizers.

Pairings: Fish or served as an aperitif

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Blanc

Region: Alto Adige, Italy

Price: $16.99

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding to my repertoire as it is truly enjoyable.

2010 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Réserve

2010 Lucien Albrecht Riesling Réserve

2010 Lucien Albrecht Riesling RéserveI love Riesling. Sweet, semi-dry, dry – it doesn’t matter, I enjoy it all. While I’m partial to German and Finger Lakes Riesling, there’s no denying that the Alsatians do it very well also.

Pale yellow in the glass, this Alsatian Riesling offers aromas of apple and pear. In the mouth, it’s not sweet at all and has Asian pear and floral flavors. Enjoyable dry finish.

Pairings: Shellfish, especially lobster

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Riesling

Region: Alsace, France

Price: $20

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding to my repertoire as it is truly enjoyable.

2011 Heritance Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

2011 Heritance Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

2011 Heritance Sauvignon Blanc Napa ValleyThis Sauvignon Blanc and Roussanne blend offers bright citrus aromas typical of Sauvignon Blanc. The Roussanne rounds out the peach and tropical fruit flavors and softens the acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc. The finish is long and thoroughly enjoyable.

Paired this with Kurobuta pork chops and it was delicious.

Pairings: Chicken, pork, grilled fish

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): 88% Sauvignon Blanc, 12% Roussanne

Region: Napa Valley, CA, USA

Price: $24

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding to my repertoire as it is truly enjoyable.

Getting to Know Smith Madrone Winery

Getting to Know Smith Madrone Winery

Smith Madrone ChardonnaySmith-Madrone Winery is located in Napa Valley in the Spring Mountain District. The 200-acre estate has vineyards that sit at elevations up to 2,000 feet. Some of the vines are planted on slopes as steep as over 30 degrees.

Two of the Smith-Madrone wines I recently had the opportunity to sample are the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 Chardonnay.

  • 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) – nearly black and opaque in the glass, this California Cabernet Sauvignon features incredible aromas of ripe cherries with chocolaty, earthy and oaky undertones. In the mouth, it’s a big and bold wine with dark berry and licorice flavors balanced by just the right level of tannins.
  • 2009 Chardonnay ($35) – medium straw color in the glass, the California Chardonnay offers bright aromas of Asian pear with oaky notes. On the palate, cantaloupe and ripe apple flavors dominate. Toasted bread finish.

As far as idyllic California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon go, these are super examples.

These wines were provided to me for sampling and I am adding to my repertoire as they are truly enjoyable.

2009 Trimbach Pinot Blanc

2009 Trimbach Pinot Blanc

2009 Trimbach Pinot BlancLove the slightly greenish color of this Alsatian wine. Also love the very floral aromas if offers. The 2009 Trimbach Pinot Blanc is rich with flavors of peach and ripe lemons. This French Pinot Blanc makes me crave seafood.

Pairings: Fish, seafood, especially seared scallops

Style: White Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Blanc

Region: Alsace, France

Price: $16

This wine was provided to me for sampling and I am adding to my repertoire as it is truly enjoyable.