2021 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Region: Russian River AVA, Sonoma
Wines worth the wait.
Burt Williams and Ed Selyem started their winery in the Russian River Valley with two lofty goals: to craft wines that set the standard for excellence and to come to know and serve their customers personally.
We continue to serve those goals today, committing to do whatever is necessary. Extra time, extra effort, extra manpower, less sleep, a near-fanatical attention to detail… if it contributes to the quality of our wines and service, it’s worth it.
The number of cases we produce is based purely on how much outstanding wine we can coax out of our grapes, and that amount will vary, from vineyard to vineyard, season to season.
Processed with minimal interference.
From fermentation to bottling, our methods do not include pumping, filtering or other processes that could unsettle or compromise the quality of our wine. We’ve learned over the years: Never rush our grapes. Respect the grapes and the wines will always reward your efforts.
It’s all about the details.
We are fanatical about details and it’s fanaticism you can taste. Each tiny individual piece of our process adds to the quality of our wines,from the old-world methods of foot treading the grapes (in very clean fishing waders!); to punching down tanks every 6 hours; to manning the bottling lines; each one done to the best of our abilities, to make the best wine possible
Williams & Selyem, LLC produces and sells wines. It offers pinot noir, chardonnay, zinfandel, and late harvest wines. Williams & Selyem, LLC was formerly known as Hacienda del Rio and changed its name to Williams & Selyem, LLC in 1983.
A quintessential Russian River Valley character of red fruits, lavender, and citrus jump from the glass. Sourced from diverse sites throughout the AVA, the wine represents the best of the Middle Reach, Green Valley, Santa Rosa Plain, and the Laguna Ridge area. Each site has its unique signature and together they offer a complete picture of the beauty of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. On the palate, the wine showcases the grace and power of perfectly ripened tannins with juicy acidity and an alluring finish of black tea and bergamot. There is broad appeal with this wine and it has a wide window of drinkability.
The 2021 growing season experienced only about 14 inches of rain, challenging the plants from the outset of the year. Late winter and early spring were cold and dry, bringing some uneven growth and stress to the plants. The canopies were a little smaller than average going into the flowering, however the weather was ideal and mild. Flowering determines quality and quantity, so it is the most important time. The 2021 season yielded an average to slightly below average crop size with outstanding quality. Largely, the growing season saw mild temperatures but with several scattered heat events. 2021 thankfully saw the return of the fog, which saved the vintage by keeping the nighttime temperatures cool, refreshing the plants, and keeping them hydrated under severe conditions. Due to the changing climate, fog intrusion has been minimal the last few vintages. The 2021 season finished up around the historical average for temperatures. Despite the inauspicious start to the year, the wines showcase terrific verve, character, and site specificity.
Erich Bradley and Craig Haserot, co-founders of Sojourn Cellars, are Pinot Noir addicts. The small brand produces about 11,000 cases a year of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and some Cabernet Sauvignon at the custom crush facility Vinify in Santa Rosa, located in a warehouse on Coffey Lane just 200 yards from where the Tubbs fire swept through in October, destroying thousands of homes and structures. Most of these are site-specific, vineyard-designated wines. The pair work with growers in Sonoma (and a few in Napa for the Cabernets), sourcing fruit from top vineyards including Reuling, Sangiacomo and Rodgers Creek. Erich makes the wines while Craig runs the business side of things, meeting clients and focusing on sales and marketing.
The two met in the early 2000s; Erich was working at Arrowood Winery, making wines from Rhône and Bordeaux varieties, and Craig had recently left his 16-year career in the software business. A great lover of Burgundy, Craig had been exploring the California expression of the grape via the mailing lists of producers like Williams Selyem and Kistler. Erich had winemaking experience but had yet to try his hand at Pinot Noir. “We decided to make Pinot Noir mostly because we love to drink it,” Craig explains. “Pinot Noir was our addiction.” Erich adds, “Sojourn was how I could scratch my Pinot Noir itch.”
“We didn’t know what we were doing,” Craig says of the early days of Sojourn..