Articles Tagged west of west wine festival 2011

Best Of The West: Has Pinot Noir Found A New Spiritual Home In West Sonoma Coast?

Vinted on August 25, 2011 binned in California wine, elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road

Burt Williams might speak softly and have a relatively unassuming appearance, but when it comes to age-worthy, elegant Pinot Noir he is one hundred percent deadly Jedi Knight.

That much was clear during the recent West Of West festival in Occidental, CA (I attended as a media guest), where Littorai’s Ted Lemon interviewed Williams to kick things off.  It was tough for me to pay attention, because a) there were Sonoma Coast Pinots sitting in front of me ranging from `96 to `01, and I was ready to geek out, and b) I found the entire event confusing, because I’m an anal Right Coast guy who requires exposition and purpose stated clearly up-front, and the WoW Fest proceedings launched without much detail on either.

Fortunately, possessing a formal plan is not a prerequisite for making great wine.  In fact, to hear Williams tell it, very little about Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was planned in the early days when he first starting making Williams Selyem wine in his ‘spare’ time. “We got a call from an ATFA agent,” he mentioned, “who basically told us that we should get bonded before we got arrested; so, we got bonded.”

Williams also told us that “if the wine is balanced… if you pick the fruit before it’s really ripe… I know Sonoma Coast [Pinot Noir] can age!”  Proof is in the vinous pudding: the 1996 Williams Selyem Riverblock Pinot Noir (about $100 if you can find it, and an ‘A’ rated wine if I’ve ever had one) is delicate, earthy and svelte, with cherries, plums, spices and hints of game meat. The finish could accurately be described as gorgeous; it’s a wine that doesn’t smack you over the head, but seduces you.

And it’s in drinking wines like that 1996 Pinot – wines which seem to be made at a more-than-expected frequency in the West Sonoma Coast area – that you say to yourself (if you’re me, anyway): F*ck Napa Valley Pinot – this is where it’s AT!”

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West Of West Wine Festival Giveaway!

Vinted on July 15, 2011 binned in giveaways, wine industry events

The 2011 West of West Wine Festival is almost around the corner – held in Occidental, CA, the festival will showcase cool-climate (well, cool-climate for CA, that is!) Pinots, Syrahs and Chardonnays; limited production wines from wineries that are not usually open to the public. These are West Sonoma Coast producers who are making vino that is not easy to get your grubby wine-lovin’ hands on – unless you’re selected as the winner of our latest giveaway, that is.

I’ve got one ticket to the the West of West Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting on Saturday, August 6th from 3:00-6:00 pm in Occidental, CA – a $125 value, which we’re giving away to one lucky randomly-selected commenter! The giveaway also includes free access to the Barrel Tastings & Open Houses on Sunday, August 7th (details to be provided in the Grand Tasting).

The skinny: YOU leave a comment on this post, letting us know your fave Sonoma wine recommendation (in keeping with the theme, Coastal recommendations are preferable but let’s keep it open to all of Sonoma). At 8PM ET on Wednesday, July 20 I will randomly select a winner from the commenters, who will be notified via e-mail.  Easier than suckin’ down a chilled Sonoma Coast Chard on a hot Summer night. So get crackin’, peeps!

The fine-print: This ticket admits one person to the above-described Grand Tasting event on August 6th and includes free access to the event’s Barrel Tastings & Open Houses on August 7th. No travel, meals, accommodations, “escorts,” hovercraft (though that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?), monkeys (also awesome) or anything else provided.

Looking forward to reading about your faves!

Cheers – and good luck!!

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