There was so much that I didn’t want to like about Sonoma’s storied Williams Selyem.
- The too-cool-for-school exclusivity of their mailing list.
- The imposing fortress-like facade of their “barrel-evoking” tasting room and its “wall of bottles.”
- The fact that they used terms like “barrel-evoking.”
- That current owners John and Kathe Dyson were former mailing list members (how cute!).
- That the label typeface they use was so old that it had to be recreated from scratch when their printing went digital.
- The way that their wines get collectors all google-eyed, shooting prices up on the secondary market.
- The friggin’ goats.
The problem with trying to be a Williams Selyem hater, though, is that when it comes to their affable, knowledgeable staff, and their consistently excellent wines, there’s just not enough bad there to hate…
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Pssst! Hey! Wanna vote Naked?
I was recently a judge for a contest that Naked Wines is running, in which winemakers made video pitches describing what fantasy/dream wine they would create if they had an extra $100Gs laying around (for more info. on what Naked Wines is all about, check out the interview we did with founder Rowan Gormley).
In this case, however, one of the winemaker finalists in the contest can actually win the $100Gs to go and make the wine.
I helped whittle down the numerous video entries in order to select the eight finalists. The judges also included Naked Wines Archangel Kent Reynolds, Naked Wines staffers Matt Parish (chief winemaker) and Anne Saunders (US managing director), as well as few notable friends of mine: Jeff Siegel (of WineCurmudgeon), Tom Wark of Fermentation, and #winelover founder and globetrotting-firend-to-just-about-everyone Luiz Alberto.
While some of the video entries certainly made excellent cases for why some people are better suited for making wine than for making videos, for the most part the pitches were excellent, the finalist group diverse and interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing which one of these wines makes it to the birthing stage.
You can go vote for your favorite online (so, theoretically, you could actually vote naked) until July 4th over at https://us.nakedwines.com/winemakerfantasy2016.