Lucky Bucket Brewing Co.

Lucky Rock Wine Co.

Mendocino Grenache 2020

Raspberry, cherry, currant, blueberry, licorice, flint and oak. Light-bodied and moderate tannins. — 4 months ago

Paul liked this

Williams Selyem

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016

David T

I would be remiss as a Sommelier if I didn’t pay homage to a Winery co-founder, Sonoma pioneer & legend, Burt Williams, who passed away this week at 79 due to complications of Parkinson’s.

For those of you that see my posts, soon after I fell In love with wine, I/we started traveling to as many world wine regions as we could. It was at that point, I fell in love with producers. For many, they just sip wine and like or love it. If my posts reflect anything, they hopefully convey a love and homage for producers.

It is a daunting challenge financially & a labor intensive investment to start a winery. Producers that do it well, do it out of love & passion. Somewhere around 50% is completely out of their It is a tremendous undertaking, hard work and why I have ultimate respect for producers and Burt is the rule, not the exception.

Williams Selyem has been a favorite Pinot of ours for sometime. We really enjoy them at 10 years plus in bottle. At that age, they take on a preferred Burgundian style. They long age effortlessly, beautifully and show so much more with that kind of time in bottle.

The nose reveals; ruby, dark cassis, blackberries, black raspberries, raspberries, both black plum & plum, boysenberries, blue fruits, pomegranate, Provence herbs, tree sap, charcoal notes, soft, savory meats, mint/eucalyptus, limestone, volcanic minerals, dry, powdery rocks, Lipton tea, mixed dark berry cola, dark, red, blue, purple flowers laid on top of distinctive Williams Selyem violets.

The body, this young is full & feels well extracted. The structure, tension are still big and need to round out. The length & balance are headed to the right place. Ruby, dark cassis, blackberries, black raspberries, raspberries, both black plum & plum, boysenberries, blue fruits, pomegranate, cherries, strawberries, Provence herbs, tree sap, pronounced dark spices with plate heat, chocolate cake w/ light frosting, clove, nutmeg,, cinnamon stick, some vanillin, charcoal notes, soft, savory meats, mint/eucalyptus, underbrush, limestone, volcanic minerals, dry, powdery rocks, Lipton tea, mixed dark berry cola, dark, red, blue, purple flowers laid on top of distinctive Williams Selyem violets. The acidy is near perfect. The long finish needs time but is; delicious, well balanced, elegant, falling into dark spice as it sets.

This will continue to improve over the next 15 years plus.

I didn’t know Burt personally but, I have enjoyed his craft & legacy over the years. I will leave this post with what the winery sent out this week in tribute. They’ve done it far better than I could.

We are deeply saddened to announce that Burt Williams, founder of Williams Selyem, passed away yesterday due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Burt, along with co-founder Ed Selyem, started out with a few tons of free grapes in the 1970s. The two friends didn’t set out to produce wines for anyone but themselves, and they surely never imagined that their humble experiment in home winemaking would spawn a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Together, they set a new standard for American-made Pinot Noir, and elevated Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley to among the best wine growing regions in the world.

Born in San Francisco in 1940, Burt and his family moved north to Sonoma County after his dad passed. Upon graduating from Sebastopol High School, he went to work as a printer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

A self-taught winemaker, Burt found his way with the aid of many winemaking books and study of old-world winemaking techniques. In the early days, the winery had little money to spend so they improvised and used old stainless-steel dairy tanks for fermentors—a tradition we still carry on today. He was always fascinated by the terroir of the Russian River Valley and believed that the grapes grown here could make wines to rival the best in the world.

In 1992, Burt quit his day job to focus solely on the winery. After much success, he passed on selling to a few suitors, then made the decision to sell the winery to our current owner, John Dyson. Burt set a particular standard for whom they were willing to sell the winery to. The first condition was that the buyer must already be on the mailing list. The second condition was that the buyer must already be in the wine industry. “Kathe and I were really very lucky to be chosen by Burt and Ed. Kathe had joined the mailing list in the early 1990s and I already owned a winery in New York and a vineyard in California. We saw that as a true sign of Burt’s dedication to maintaining the quality of the wine and the business,” said John Dyson.

After the sale, Burt stayed in the wine industry and purchased a vineyard in the Anderson Valley, where he grew Pinot Noir. We made a vineyard designate from his grapes, called Burt Williams’ Morning Dew Ranch, until he sold the vineyard in 2015. Burt Williams was a pioneer of the industry and stayed a true friend of the winery. He visited the winery many times a year and was always interested in current goings-on. He would often come to events and pour wine and even sign bottles for customers. John Dyson said Burt once told him, “I have to say, John, I’m so delighted we sold to you. We could never have done anything like this ourselves and you really helped make what we started live on.”

Burt’s influence on the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, and Pinot Noir winemaking in general cannot be overstated. He was considered a trailblazer in the industry and is credited with helping put Sonoma County Pinot Noir on the map. He was also an influence on, and a mentor to, an entire generation of winemakers. VP of Winemaking Jeff Mangahas said, “Burt had a profound impact on my way of thinking of winemaking and it was some of his early wines that fueled my interest in the Russian River Valley. It is truly an honor to be the steward for Williams Selyem wines today and continue to make wines in the spirit of Burt.”

We will all miss Burt greatly.

Burt is survived by his wife Rebecca, two daughters, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Photos of; Williams Selyem, two photos of Burt & the “Morning Dew Vineyard” that I hope he is walking and producing heavenly vintage from in his hereafter.
— 3 years ago

Eric, Deborah and 30 others liked this
Peter van den Besselaar

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Good post. Fine tribute!
Stephen Pierron

Stephen Pierron

@David T Well said sir and excellent tribute! I have not had the opportunity to try their Pinot Noirs, but hope to very soon. Starting one's own winery is no easy feat - I'm always glad to see others recognize the sacrifice and truly appreciate all aspects of wine much passion goes into it. Cheers!
Brian Reedy

Brian Reedy Premium Badge

What a wonderful man. He is missed

Garage Wine Co.

Single Ferment Series 215 BC Ferment Secano Interior Portezuelo Pais 2019

First wine grape planted in North America? You have my attention. Fascinating history of this varietal that I highly recommend reading up on if you’re lucky to have a friend like @Brendan Devine buy you the Wine Grapes tome. The wine itself is really tasty, desert-like in your mouth and has that full almost raisiny note that a lot of natural wines have. Give it a shot. — a year ago

Brendan, Mike and 1 other liked this

Waylan Wine Co.

El Camino Real Vineyard Grenache Noir 2016

If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these consider yourself fortunate as it’s one of the best Grenaches I’ve ever had — 4 years ago

Sue EstradaBrad SaarloosGreg Saarloos
with Sue, Brad and 1 other

Lucky Rock Wine Co.

County Cuvée Pinot Noir 2017

Cherry, raspberry, cranberry, currant, vanilla and oak. Good structure and well-integrated tannins. — 4 years ago

Neal liked this

Punt Road

Napoleone Vineyard Shiraz 2015

Dark crimson with youthful purple tinges. Primary nose of raspberry spice and pepper. On the palate same delicious spice and pepper with good body and weight. As good as it is now it will be better with cellaring. From the near perfect growing season in the Yarra in 2015 it has a 1.5% splash of Viognier co-fermented with the Shiraz. 20% whole bunches. This Wine won the Trevor Mast Trophy for Best Shiraz at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show in 2016 and also the Best Single Vineyard Wine. At only $30 a bottle and a limit of 6 bottles it flew out the door and I was lucky to get a 6 pack back in October 2016. — 4 years ago

David, Jonathan and 10 others liked this

Lucky Rock Wine Co.

County Cuvée Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Grapefruit, apple, lemon, dried apricot, blood orange and lime zest. Racy acidity and great minerality. — 2 years ago

Paul liked this

Stone Brewing Co.

Stone 22 Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA


I’m from British Columbia the home of so many great beers not to mention our own. But San Diego California also has some of the greatest craft beers on the planet. Stone Brewing is among the best in a tough market. It’s hard to beat their IPA and visiting their brewery is on my bucket list. Bill @Bill Bender of San Diego this one’s for you. Stone Brewing well done and congratulations. — 3 years ago

Ron, Bill and 25 others liked this


@Bill Bender My kinda place Cheers 🍻


Wonderful choice! We had our honeymoon at San Diego. Amazing place - great restaurants and weather .


@Raul Puga Raul you’re got one cool dog 🐶 Cheers 🍻

Enfield Wine Co.

Citrine California Chardonnay 2015

Day 2 and this is firing on all cylinders. Gorgeous wine. Silly value. @John Lockwood is lucky this isn’t the 1600s or he would be accused of witchcraft. — 4 years ago

Carl, Shay and 5 others liked this

Freewheel Brewing Co.

FSB Session Beer

Gary Westby

Such balance, perfection and freshness right in my backyard. I am pinching myself- so lucky! Alisha makes low alcohol, real ale in Redwood City and I can drop by for a pint whenever I want! — 5 years ago

Ellen, Matt and 5 others liked this
Ellen Clifford

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I wish I wish I liked beer. I've managed to turn my taste buds on scotch and gin but as for beer..,well I'll try this if I see it just to try but I've yet to find a beer to turn me! That's a bad side of me though not a disparagement to beer. I sincerely am hoping I'll find my way with it at some point. The closest I can enjoy (I can "handle" more) is, say, a Sour.
Gary Westby

Gary Westby Influencer Badge

@Ellen Clifford I think it is a good thing we don't like it all! I have a big blind spot for sake myself, and I know they can be top class drinks... It is not my thing. Same for low acid, aromatic whites... Single vineyard Condrieu is up there with the best in wine, but I just don't like it. The only advantage to loving beer is that it is cheap and available!!!!
Ellen Clifford

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@Gary Westby interesting to hear your wine dislikes--the high quality stuff I can't get into that I feel I "should" are dessert wines...I know Sauternes is supposed to be the epitome of deliciousness but I can do without it. I do like saké though!