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2017 Tasting Notes

WesMar Winery Hellenthal Vineyard 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard

As we have mentioned before, the Hellenthal vineyard can span a range of expressions. Some years it shows itself to be bold and brawny, while other years it is timid and feminine. This vintage offers a Pinot Noir that is more the former. Although shy on the nose at this stage, there are aromas of dark berries, brown sugar and vanilla. On the palate are concentrated flavors of dried cranberries with lesser influences of dark stone fruits. This tannin structured age worthy wine has an encompassing mouthfeel with a concentration that hangs on the palate. Hellenthal lovers rejoice.

WesMar Winery Balletto Vineyard 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

We have always considered the Hellenthal vineyard the bellwether in the years in which it has excelled, but lately the Balletto vineyard has closed the gap, not only with its consistency, but with its depth of flavors. The Balletto has the most revealing nose from this vintage at this early stage. It displays aromas of candied dark fruits, rose petals with a lesser hint of that typical white pepper. A taste offers a velvety entry of black plum that softens to red plum mid palate. There is brisk acidity, drying fruit tannins, a slight pepper essence leading to a long finish to round out the experience. It is becoming more clear to Kirk what has always been clear to Denise and many of you.

WesMar Winery Oehlman Vineyards 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

The Oehlman vineyard can wear two distinct masks based on the harvest brix and/or the vintage. Picked earlier with less sugar its profile can be light delicate red fruits quite nuanced by orange zest, baking spices while remaining light on its feet. On the other end of the spectrum, in vintages where the fruit is harvested later with more brix or stemming from a more structured vintage, the expression is bold red fruits, not nearly as nuanced but stronger in flavor and more similar to our other Pinots. This vintage reflects the later. While the nose shows prettiness to it, suggesting delicate red fruits and a dash of spice. On the palate the experience is dark red berries, perhaps mixed with some dried red plum, tailing off with a suggestion of honey or wafer. This vintage is more structured than normal with stronger fruit tannins than most vintages. In spite of its departure from a typical Oehlman, this wine will please due to its strength of experience and will pull in those who might find the Oehlman on the lighter side.

WesMar Winery RRV 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Oh boy are we excited about this wine. Is proud parenthood showing through? We know that our estate fruit only makes up 25% of this blend, with 50% being comprised of Oehlman fruit and the other 25% being Balletto fruit. Although our 5th leaf (5 seasons of growth) fruit is young, its components definitely added to the blend. The R.R.V. shows the red fruits from the Oehlman, the body and mouthfeel from the Balletto and a brambly forest component that we are attributing to the estate fruit. This blend shows its true R.R.V. heritage with red fruit elements, tea, modest fruit tannins finishing long on the palate.

WesMar Winery Sonoma Coast 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma Coast is a blend of the Hellenthal vineyard (66%) and Balletto vineyard (34%). This wine marries the lush dark fruits from these coastal vineyards and delivers a power packed experience. The nose reveals aromas of black stone fruits, cocoa with a hint of spice leaching from Balletto’s white pepper. A taste reveals a deep brooding experience with candied dark stone fruits, mixed berries, structured tannins with a finish that hangs in the mouth. Due to its blend expect this wine to hold its own against the designates.

By |2020-08-25T20:20:24+00:00August 25th, 2020|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on 2017 Tasting Notes

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds you happy and most importantly healthy. By now we are all well aware of the severity of the Coronavirus. It has been a difficult course to navigate as we are constantly learning and adapting to the new realities, all the while the uncertainty is quite unsettling to say the least. That being said, we are focusing our energy on positivity and gratitude. Thank you for your support as friends and fans of our wines. Your impact has been immeasurable.

We spent much of the first half of the year continuing to work on our tiny house, which in its former life was a water tank house. It has been extremely rewarding watching the progress day to day and it has helped us focus on that which we could control. As the year has progressed we have spent more time in the vineyard, stringing new irrigation lines to propel juvenile replants, removing unwanted growth and mowing. This all helps to create just the right environment for a fruitful harvest.

As our attention turns to our busiest time of year each fall, we are planning for the bottling of the 2019 vintage, the labeling of the 2018 vintage and of course harvest is right around the corner. It is a wonderful time of year.

Estate Bottling

Many of you knowingly and some unknowingly tasted the first little bit of our estate fruit from its inclusion as part of the 2017 vintage Russian River Valley Pinot Noir blend. The 2018 vintage will offer the first stand alone bottling of our estate fruit. We are tickled to be able to offer you an appellation bottling from the Green Valley of Russian River Valley appellation. The majority of this sub appellation is encompassed among the rolling hills between the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations and it comprises an area of 19,000 acres of which only 3,600 acres are planted to grapes. Vineyards continue to share this area with apple orchards and other cool climate crops. The dominant soils are Goldridge and Sebastopol sandy loam which are both extremely fine grained which helps to limit vine vigor. The hallmark of the appellation is the cool climate, sea breezes and fog. The easterly limit of the Green Valley appellation is a mere twelve miles from the Pacific Ocean.

For many years we have communicated the ups and downs of our vineyard. How it was originally diseased, necessitating a replant. We have yearned to promise that there would be great fruit coming from our estate vineyard located on our homesite in this wonderful little sub appellation located on the western edge of the Russian River Valley. Up until now it has all just been wishful thinking. With the release of the 2018 Estate Vineyard we can finally stop hoping, stop talking and let the wine tell its own story. Although the vines are still young at this stage, we are quite excited about what the future holds now that we have been able to taste three consecutive vintages, with each successive vintage offering more fruit maturity and depth of expression. Stay tuned for the 2019 vintage which may offer our first designated estate bottling.

2018 Vintage Retrospect

This was a growing season to cherish. 2018 started with a mild spring leading to an even bloom which provided a consistent fruit set. Summer temperatures were mild throughout which allowed for a slow and even development of the grapes. A long slow growing season void of any early fall rains allowed the fruit a long hang time which provided fully mature fruit resulting in naturally balanced wines. These wines will be appreciated right out of the gate and even more so for those that can allow the wines some additional development.

TASTING NOTES

The 2018 vintage of Pinot Noirs is comprised of three vineyard designated bottlings and three appellation bottlings. These Pinot Noirs offer very aromatic wines of lush and bold fresh fruits, modest tannins, low pHs, pronounced acidity and complimentary oak nuances. The tasting experience is one of balance, expressive finishes and the oh so important keep you coming back for another taste component. These wines can be enjoyed immediately, but will reward those that cellar their WesMars.

2018 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard

Passing a glass beneath one’s nose offers inviting aromas of stone fruits, hints of cocoa, a dash of creamy vanilla and perhaps a touch of forest brush. The mouth reveals bold flavors offering a palette of fruits from plum, peach, maybe even some apricot upfront followed by darker elements that suggest blackberries or black currants. The whole of this experience is a pretty Hellenthal with supple tannins, showcased acidity, forthright and weighty, yet feminine by nature that finishes long on the palate.

2018 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

While the Hellenthal offers a mélange of aromas and flavors due to its multiple clonal make up, the Balletto is unabashedly aromas of dark berries, spice, anise and caramel or toffee. The mouth reveals flavors of black and blue berries, some tart cherry, that typical white pepper and hints of citrus rind. There is a wonderful balance between the fruits, acid and tannins that drive this experience to its voluptuously long and engaging finish.

2018 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

A waft from your glass delivers aromas of red fruits, raspberry cream, rose petals and a pungent floralness that borders on perfume. Once tasted, flavors of lighter reds such as raspberries come first followed by red cherries, a slight suggestion of cinnamon or clove, with a touch of orange rind. This is one of those vintages in which Oehlman has a more masculine personality with a big bodied finish.

2018 Pinot Noir, Green Valley of Russian River Valley Estate Vineyard

One of our pre-purchase attractions to our home was the fact that our future vineyard would be in the Green Valley appellation. The Green Valley appellation is unique in that it shares traits with both the Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast appellations. The wines produced from Green Valley are typically darker and more tannin driven than its Russian River Valley neighbor to the east, but lighter and prettier than its Sonoma Coast neighbor to the west. This bottling is exclusively Martini clone. The nose reveals dark plum, grape aromas, cola and minerality. The palate confirms flavors of black plum, currants, dried cherries, with hints of tea leaves and an acidity that is refreshingly crisp. This experience is long lived and invites you to take another sip.

2018 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

This year’s Russian River Valley has captivated us from the first tasting. It has interesting and thought compelling aromas that offer both light and dark fruit expressions, perhaps a black tea or all spice, in addition sandalwood or forest floor. A taste offers an explosion of fruits that spans the whole spectrum with stone fruits, fresh berries, some dried fruit elements mid palate all wrapped up with ample fruit and barrel tannin structure that holds the finish in high regard. As is frequently the case with appellation blends, the varied elements that make up this blend are extremely cohesive.

2018 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

This year’s S.C. blend is a slight departure from the typical make up with a larger percentage of Hellenthal used in the blend. The aromas offer the best of both worlds with both black and blue fruits, a hint of white pepper and a vanilla undertone. The palate follows suit with flavors of black ruby plum, blackberries, notes of cocoa, a mere suggestion of white pepper, modest tannins, coupled with a zippy acid edge that creates a palate quenching long finish.

Is it a high alcohol wine or not?

Many wine consumers lock in on a wine’s alcohol percentage. Is this the right approach? It certainly is important to be aware of the alcohol level of any wine that one consumes. It can tell a part of the story.

Many of you would be surprised to know that wineries are legally allowed to label their wines with an alcohol percentage that is within 1.5% of the actual alcohol in wines above 14% alcohol and within 1.0% on wines that are below 14% alcohol. Therefore a wine labeled at 14.0% could in actuality be 15.4%. The importance of just what is stated on the label may have already lost some relevance to you.

What if we were to tell you that wineries are legally allowed to add any amount of water to their fermenting grapes that they deem necessary to successfully complete fermentation. This is a practice frequently employed to significantly lower the alcohol level for taste or tax reasons or both. To say it differently, when grapes are harvested with an extremely high percentage of sugar and then diluted back down to a low level of sugar this produces a wine with a low level of alcohol. Is this a low alcohol wine or a wine with very ripe flavors diluted by water?

Our approach is and has always been to harvest the grapes at the earliest opportunity with the least amount of sugar and the most natural acid negating the need for water additions or altering the alcohol on the wine label. Regardless of the actual alcohol percentage we know this method consistently makes the best tasting and longest lasting wines. This difference in a wine’s longevity becomes magnified over time.

Visiting WesMar Winery

We missed you.

Spring came and went with no open house, shelter in place we did and it was as quiet as a mouse.

The sound of the cork popping as pulled from the bottle, was the one thing that made us feel coddled.

Should another stretch without you, as wretched as this, last much time, we will surely be amiss.

Perhaps together we can make it alright, if you were to join us, it would send our spirits out of sight.

Shall we set a date, virus be damned, as safely as possible is our present plan.

With hands washed and distance a plenty, masks in place on exit and entry.

The wine will flow at safely distanced stations, for it is the 2018’s that you are sure to be tasting.

Should you feel as strongly as us, please know that in us, your safety can trust.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

We want to thank you for the opportunity to present our wines to you. We are very pleased with the 2018 vintage wines and know they will please your palate as well.

Sincerely, Kirk “Wesley” and Denise “Mary”

By |2020-08-26T20:31:11+00:00August 25th, 2020|Newsletter|Comments Off on Fall 2020 Newsletter

Fall 2019 Newsletter

Fall 2019

Dear Friends,

Wishes of health and happiness for you and your loved ones. Each year that thunders by reminds us of the preciousness of life. We strive to enjoy each other, our families and friends each and every day.

In addition to our many winery duties we have been busy working around our property tending to everything from the home vineyard to various maintenance items around the houses. Earlier this year we did a minor remodel of the original circa 1910 one bedroom house. Most recently we have started to undertake a major remodel of the original water tank house that once upon a time held a large redwood tank three stories high to supply pressurized water to the 1910 house. It has been both exciting and rewarding to work towards preserving these two historical structures. For fun in early January we ventured off to one of our favorite little Mexican villages for a relaxing vacation. Subsequently, we spent a lovely week in Maui with family helping them to celebrate a monumental wedding anniversary. We are now turning our attention to fall which brings about the lion’s share of the year’s work. We labeled the 2017 vintage in June, which will be released in November. The 2018 vintage was transferred from barrels to bottles in late July. This newsletter was finalized in early August. As you read this we are checking vineyards, placing fermentation tanks, checking harvest equipment and taking one last deep breath in preparation for the 2019 harvest. Crazy, yes. Hectic, yes. Our favorite time of year, YES!

Estate Vineyard Update

A new day has dawned. Our estate vineyard has been growing without issues for the last two years demonstrating tremendous vine growth and development. The numerous missing plants due to death by natural causes, gopher consumption or unfortunate tractor incidents have been replanted so that the vineyard is at full capacity. Our once troubled adolescent vines have turned the corner to exhibit young adult maturity. The vines have developed quite a trunk girth in the last six years. We have been able to pull back on irrigating as the roots have extended deeper into the subsoil. As we currently look out of our windows we stare into a jungle of vine canopy some seven to eight feet tall signifying a happy vineyard. We are not only verbalizing the estate vineyard’s maturity, you will experience a taste tease from this years Russian River Valley Pinot Noir which is comprised of 25 percent of our estate fruit. There is a bottling forthcoming next year which is 100 percent estate fruit. We are very excited by the flavor development of our young vineyard and we look forward to sharing it with you.

2017 Vintage Retrospect

Sonoma County’s growing season was anything but “normal”. It started off with record setting rainfalls that were applauded after five years of drought. The increased rainfall delayed the start of the growing season, as the vines waited for the warmer soil temperatures before they pushed their first buds. As the flowering started in spring we experienced a wide variety of weather conditions with late lifting fog, windy days, unusually early heat spikes, all of which made for a diverse mix of conditions. Early summer brought a normal cyclical pattern consisting of a few days of above average temps followed by a week of average temperatures. July brought numerous hot stretches without the morning fog that helps to mitigate the extremes. As August turned to September Sonoma County was hit with soaring temperatures in the upper 90’s causing the sugars in the grapes to spike, so we harvested all of our fruit in the first six days of September. The harvest season was in a total fervor mode. As the season was winding down the northern California fires started on the evening of October 8th. Fortunately at this time 90% of grapes across the counties had been harvested. Everyone in Sonoma and Napa Counties will remember 2017 as anything but “normal”.

TASTING NOTES

The 2017 vintage of Pinot Noirs is comprised of three vineyard designated bottlings and two appellations bottlings.These Pinot Noirs offer weighty wines of firm fresh fruits wrapped in a voluptuously bodied expression. The long lasting flavors are complemented by grainy fruit tannins in the background. These wines are very expressive at this young age and with time will continue to harmonize.

WesMar Winery Hellenthal Vineyard 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard

As we have mentioned before, the Hellenthal vineyard can span a range of expressions. Some years it shows itself to be bold and brawny, while other years it is timid and feminine. This vintage offers a Pinot Noir that is more the former. Although shy on the nose at this stage, there are aromas of dark berries, brown sugar and vanilla. On the palate are concentrated flavors of dried cranberries with lesser influences of dark stone fruits. This tannin structured age worthy wine has an encompassing mouthfeel with a concentration that hangs on the palate. Hellenthal lovers rejoice.

WesMar Winery Balletto Vineyard 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

We have always considered the Hellenthal vineyard the bellwether in the years in which it has excelled, but lately the Balletto vineyard has closed the gap, not only with its consistency, but with its depth of flavors. The Balletto has the most revealing nose from this vintage at this early stage. It displays aromas of candied dark fruits, rose petals with a lesser hint of that typical white pepper. A taste offers a velvety entry of black plum that softens to red plum mid palate. There is brisk acidity, drying fruit tannins, a slight pepper essence leading to a long finish to round out the experience. It is becoming more clear to Kirk what has always been clear to Denise and many of you.

WesMar Winery Oehlman Vineyards 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

The Oehlman vineyard can wear two distinct masks based on the harvest brix and/or the vintage. Picked earlier with less sugar its profile can be light delicate red fruits quite nuanced by orange zest, baking spices while remaining light on its feet. On the other end of the spectrum, in vintages where the fruit is harvested later with more brix or stemming from a more structured vintage, the expression is bold red fruits, not nearly as nuanced but stronger in flavor and more similar to our other Pinots. This vintage reflects the later. While the nose shows prettiness to it, suggesting delicate red fruits and a dash of spice. On the palate the experience is dark red berries, perhaps mixed with some dried red plum, tailing off with a suggestion of honey or wafer. This vintage is more structured than normal with stronger fruit tannins than most vintages. In spite of its departure from a typical Oehlman, this wine will please due to its strength of experience and will pull in those who might find the Oehlman on the lighter side.

WesMar Winery RRV 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Oh boy are we excited about this wine. Is proud parenthood showing through? We know that our estate fruit only makes up 25% of this blend, with 50% being comprised of Oehlman fruit and the other 25% being Balletto fruit. Although our 5th leaf (5 seasons of growth) fruit is young, its components definitely added to the blend. The R.R.V. shows the red fruits from the Oehlman, the body and mouthfeel from the Balletto and a brambly forest component that we are attributing to the estate fruit. This blend shows its true R.R.V. heritage with red fruit elements, tea, modest fruit tannins finishing long on the palate.

WesMar Winery Sonoma Coast 2017 Pinot Noir2017 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

The Sonoma Coast is a blend of the Hellenthal vineyard (66%) and Balletto vineyard (34%). This wine marries the lush dark fruits from these coastal vineyards and delivers a power packed experience. The nose reveals aromas of black stone fruits, cocoa with a hint of spice leaching from Balletto’s white pepper. A taste reveals a deep brooding experience with candied dark stone fruits, mixed berries, structured tannins with a finish that hangs in the mouth. Due to its blend expect this wine to hold its own against the designates.

Recently Tasted Oldies But Goodies

I frequently get into trouble for objecting to opening any of our oldest library wines without company with whom we can share them. My dear wife usually says, “Aren’t I special enough for one of your best cellared wines?” As you can probably tell at this point it would behoove me to come up with the correct answer to her question. So, WE decided to open some oldies and share some of our most recent experiences with some aged WesMars.

2003 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (a blend of Balletto and Oehlman)

We married these two because they are both Pommard clone. This was the first year that we worked with the Balletto fruit and it was the only year that we purchased the Pommard clone from the Oehlman’s. The wine showed mature melded fruits, both lush and complex. It had the perfect blend of fresh and aged qualities. Should be consumed near future.

2007 Oehlman Pinot Noir

Perfumey aromatics that lure you in, integrated cran-raspberry fruits that are still so fresh, but so harmonious with the added bottle age. Can easily go another 2-4 years.

2000 Sur Lees 1.5L

Our first vintage offering intense aromatics, sweet vibrant fruits although dominated by aged characteristics; after 3 hours open it still offered a captivating experience.

LIBRARY RELEASE SPRING 2020

In spite of our best personal efforts to control inventories one bottle at a time, we are losing the battle. We have cellared every wine that we have ever produced for educational and personal enjoyment. As you can imagine, after 18 years averaging 6 wines released per year multiplied by 2 to 4 cases… well we are sure that you get the picture. Starting in spring 2020 look for an offering of library wines.

What is in a name? Plenty if we are talking about WesMar’s estate vineyard.

We need help in naming our home vineyard. We have considered many of the obvious possibilities such as “WesMar Vineyard” or “WesMar Estate”, but these have come across to us as too generic. What best describes a vineyard? Is it a sense of place or a sense of people? Is it a reference to a plot of land or to the wine produced from the land? Or is it simply something fanciful that might capture the imagination? Is it something that might capture our early challenges in getting the young vines to grow? As you can no doubt gather, we have too many thoughts running through our Pinot Noir influenced minds. HELP!

To give you some background, the vineyard is located in the Russian River Valley’s sub appellation of Green Valley, perched on a hilltop. Due to the vineyard’s location in the southwestern corner of the R.R.V. it is cooler than the R.R.V. proper, but warmer than the Sonoma Coast appellation to our north and west.

Do you have any name suggestions for our vineyard?

Visiting WesMar Winery

We are open by appointment for visits and tastings. We look forward to meeting new people and catching up with old friends. As soon as you know the dates that you will be in our area please reach out so that we can save the date for your visit. We hope to see you soon.

We want to thank you for the opportunity to present our wines to you. We are very pleased with the 2017 vintage wines and know they will please your palate as well.

Sincerely, Kirk “Wesley” and Denise “Mary”

By |2020-08-25T18:45:11+00:00January 29th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Fall 2019 Newsletter

Tasting Notes 2016

2016 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard

This vintage of Hellenthal is wonderfully balanced offering an elegant, weighty wine in a more feminine style. On the nose are aromas of stone fruits, anise and vanilla beans. A taste reveals integrated flavors of blueberries and blackberries in front of a light vein of red cherries coupled with a touch of minerality, a dusting of anise and hints of honeysuckle. The abundant fruit tannins highlight the structure offering a very balanced long finishing wine that will age gracefully for years to come..

2016 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

A wonderful nose of blue and black fruits mixed with the characteristic white pepper that is so vibrant in many vintages of Balletto. While the flavor profiles from this vineyard can vary from vintage to vintage, the consistency does not. Flavors of black cherries, candied black plums mingle with the vibrant white pepper that morphs into more of a spiciness as the wine opens. There is a quenching citrus essence and lively acidity married to some additional stem tannin that couples with the fruit elements to showcase a wonderful wine whose flavor continues to linger and linger.

2016 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

Intense floral aromas lead the experience alongside red fruits and tea. It opens with a bursting entry of raspberry jam, joined by a sweet cranberry flavor which is nuanced by orange rind, followed by black tea leaves and those typical baking spices that the less ripe vintages of Oehlman highlight. These elements are framed by fruit tannins leading into a long palate holding finish. This is one of those ah ha vintages of Oehlman.

2016 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

This pretty Russian River Valley owes its base to the Salzgeber vineyard with lesser support from the Oehlman and Balletto vineyards. The aromas in this blend offer lively red fruits, cocoa and spice. There are flavors of strawberries, salmonberries and black cherries up front with some cola, honey and toasted nuts further down the line. The fruit tannins so ever present in the Salzgeber vineyard offer the structure to carry the beautiful fruits to the finish..

2016 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Owing to its parents (Hellenthal and Balletto) the Sonoma Coast offers a nose suggesting both black and red fruits with of course that white pepper from Balletto. On the palate are fruit flavors that run the spectrum from dark stone fruits to dark candied red fruits offering structuring stem tannin and a spiciness. The fruit flavors lurch to the forefront and fill the mid-palate, offering a density and complexity that allow a lingering finish. This wine is after all a Hellenthal entry, a Balletto mid-palate and a matrimonial finish.

2016 Pinot Noir, Sonoma County (aka Salzgeber Vineyard)

Aromas of dried red fruits and plum. The palate shows red cherries, plums offered through the vibrant entry well into the mid palate. The traditional Salzgeber fruit tannins are harmoniously integrated with the fruit expression. There is a freshness and palate quenching essence that carries through to the mouth coating finish.

By |2020-01-29T22:49:29+00:00January 29th, 2016|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on Tasting Notes 2016

Tasting Notes 2015

2015 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard

The usually shy aromas of Hellenthal are on full display offering an alluring mix of both red & black stone fruits, mixed berries, cocoa and earthy elements. Upon savoring the palate, complex layers of dried black plum, concentrated wild black berries exist harmoniously alongside citrus elements, honey, minerality and fruit tannins that showcase a completely captivating wine experience. The depth and longevity of flavors are intoxicating.

2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard

This vintage offers a seductively prettier Salzgeber than the more normal strong fruit tannined version. The nose suggests rich red fruits, cola and river stones. A sip encourages finding full flavored Satsuma plums, Rainier cherries, notes of cinnamon, hints of toasted oak that lead to this vineyard’s signature fruit tannined framework, highlighted by a plush and velvety finish.

2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

This 2015 bottling is another outstanding example from this consistent vineyard. The bouquet is perfumery and very florally driven displaying blueberries, rose petals and hints of chocolate. The piquant flavors of blackberry jam lead, followed by more subtle supporting blueberries sprinkled with a dusting of chocolate. The white pepper essence always present in young Balletto bottlings is masquerading as nuanced allspice. This wine has a voluptuous mouthfeel, strength of fruit and engulfing body all bundled inside the bottle.

2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

Most years the Oehlman bottling vacillates between its more feminine and delicate flavored profile to its bigger bolder expression depending on vintage and harvest brix. This vintage the Oehlman displays the elegance of the lighter profile with the robustness of the bigger and riper vintage. The typical Oehlman aromas exist offering lighter red fruits, orange blossom, tea and spices. The palate flavors are supportive of the aromas, but very robust in nature. The cranberry/raspberry flavors are bold and intense, the orange essence is more orange zest or juice than blossom, followed by black tea and baking spices. These flavors are in a holding pattern in the mouth while the mind races to catch up to the experience.

2015 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

This seductive blend of Russian River components will make one’s nose perk up to the lively aromatics of dried red fruits, anise, citrus and tea. The flavors derived from the blend showcase the makeup: Balletto’s dark fruits & spice with everything nice 43%, Rochioli’s bold red fruits 25%, Oehlman’s cran/rasp & orange zest prettiness 17% and Salzgeber’s dried red fruits and fruit tannins 15%. Warning! Must be tried to be believed.

2015 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

Yes, you read the headline correctly, Chardonnay from WesMar. As our Pinot Noirs are crafted, this is fruit forward and acidicly driven. The 2015 Russian River Valley Chardonnay assaults your nose with tropical aromas that snap one’s head back making one think of the floralness of Viognier on the nose. The palate offers sweet tropical fruits, lesser notes of lemon cream, Golden Delicious apple all framed in a viscous, minimally oaked, lasting experience.

By |2020-01-29T22:49:19+00:00January 29th, 2015|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on Tasting Notes 2015

Tasting Notes 2014

2014 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard

Every vintage we struggle to describe the Hellenthal Pinot Noir. Sure, most years it is the richest fruit with which we work, but we find ourselves asking: what is its predominate fruit makeup, why is the nose so shy in its early development, do those background flavors come from the earthy or mineral side, why are some of the clusters large berried and others tiny berried. After conferring with the Hellenthals, we can honestly tell you it is still a mystery. What we do know is that the vineyard is planted to three different clones, two whose profile should be dark fruits and one that should be lighter red fruits. These inter-planted clones create a wonderful mélange of flavors that challenge traditional tasting notes. The 2014 Hellenthal is just such a bottling, displaying a vibrantly sweet yet elusive nose. On the palate dark berries lead with more subtle red fruits trailing, offering an intense concentration of flavors. There are notable fruit tannins that add structure and definition. The complex flavors offer a depth of layers and the staying power to persist on the palate seemingly forever. As we recently acknowledged to each other, the best Hellenthal vintages have another gear that most wines do not posses. Welcome to a Grand Cru bottling.

2014 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard

The Salzgeber vineyard located very near the Russian River is true to its appellation. The Salzgeber offers one the most varietally accurate expressions of Russian River Pinot Noir. It has aromas of red fruits and a touch of minerality. In the glass one discovers red cherry and red plum flavors, balanced with the typical Salzgeber drying fruit tannins that add a texture to the experience, finishing with notes of tea, cinnamon and vanilla.

2014 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

As is typical of the Balletto vineyard, some years more than others, this vintage has an initial nose of light white pepper with dark fruits lingering behind. On the palate can be found a mouthwatering entry of blueberries, secondary flavors of black plum and a velvety texture. The hints of white pepper that are found in the nose morph into spiciness on the palate. This full bodied finish is so long it stains the palate.

2014 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

Due to its lower alcohol this vintage of Oehlman is showing its more traditional self, offering a nose of orange rind, tea leaves and honeysuckle. Luscious flavors of sweet Orange/Cranberry fruits with an almost candied nature exist within a framework of soft tannins with a subtle oak impression, lingering long on the palate. The Oehlman’s lighter fruit profile and feminine nature couple with wonderful mouthfeel and balance to create a harmonious experience.

2014 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

The Russian River Valley offers a multitude of aromas ranging from light to darker red fruits through to floral notes and baking spices. This wonderful blend showcases many of the fruits of its origin offering the beautiful Oehlman entry with its sharply focused flavors and interest, followed by the boldness of the Balletto fruit, accentuated by the fruit tannins of the Salzgeber. A truly rich and rewarding experience that shows off the best that the vintage has to offer.

2014 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Aromas of dark berries and sandalwood. This weighty Pinot Noir is an exotic blend of red and dark stone fruits. A sip reveals a blend of Hellenthal and Balletto that fills the mouth and continues delivering highly concentrated and addicting fruit flavors, with moderate fruit tannins in the foreground leading to an extremely fulfilling long finish.

By |2020-01-29T22:49:09+00:00January 29th, 2014|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on Tasting Notes 2014

Tasting Notes 2013

2013 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard

The Salzgeber Vineyard has continued to mature over the years. The overt tannin structure and more course fruit flavors that existed in earlier years have changed to offer a wine that is now lead by softer pretty fruit with supportive background fruit tannins. The Salzgeber has aromas of dark red fruits leading into the usual flavors of red and black cherries, cocoa, cola and sandalwood. (128 cases).

2013 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

Even though we have worked with this vineyard and these particular rows for over ten years now, we are still amazed that the vineyard characteristics differ year in and year out. The white pepper that has been present in recent vintages has been replaced this year by a subtle blend of baking spices. Aromas of berries and spice. Flavors of palate quenching black plums, blueberries with a touch of anise. This wine has a great mouth feel and long lasting flavors. (148 cases)

2013 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

The Oehlman Vineyard has always vacillated between a lighter cran-raspberry profile and a more robust bright red cherry profile depending on the vintage and brix at picking. This year is more like the latter. The first impression is a jubilee of red fruit aromas and citrus. These alluring aromatics entice you to linger here before moving onto a taste. On the palate are sweet red cherries, dried cranberries, citrus rind and dark tea. This weighty experience of rich and bright red fruits is more Californian than some of the Burgundian like examples from the Oehlman wines of the past. (172 cases).

2013 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

A wonderful marriage or ménage a trios as it is between Oehlman on the entry, Balletto in the mid palate and framed by Salzgeber’s structure in the finish. Although Kirk almost always prefers the Sonoma Coast bottling to the Russian River Valley bottling, this vintage has caused him to take pause. This delightfully rich glass of Pinot Noir is unabashedly Russian River Valley with its complex flavors of red fruits that span the spectrum, finishing with a note of cinnamon and a touch of oak. (186 cases)

2013 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

After flirtatious thoughts that the Russian River Valley blend this year might be my favorite, I (Kirk) can once again pledge my allegiance to this Sonoma Coast bottling. There is just something special about how Hellenthal and Balletto Vineyards cohere. This year the Hellenthal fruit offers a little more structure to compliment the more revealing fruit side from the Balletto. The palate entry is a blast of dark berries and cocoa that leads to lively red berries mid palate and finishes with a long brisk viscosity. (141 cases)

2013 Pinot Noir, Fort Ross-Seaview

This bottling from the relatively new sub-appellation of Sonoma Coast will still be familiar to you. Like in 2006, we declassified this 100% Hellenthal Vineyard to note its departure from a typical Hellenthal profile. This 13% alcohol bottling offers sweet red raspberries, lively acidity while being structured but feminine. Due to its lighter profile, we expected the flavors to taper after tasting from the same bottle over four days. We were pleasantly surprised by its staying power. Like the 2006, the 2013 may take longer to come around, but will offer the rewards in the end. (148 cases)

2013 Pinot Noir, Sonoma County

The 2013 Sonoma County bottling is from a single vineyard source off of Westside Road in Healdsburg. This approachable full bodied wine has aromas of strawberry jam and cinnamon while the palate shows sweet ripe strawberries, dried cherries with complementary acidity and structure. Some of you will find this bold and rich Pinot Noir to be your favorite. (87 cases)

By |2020-01-29T22:49:00+00:00January 29th, 2013|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on Tasting Notes 2013

Tasting Notes 2012

2012 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard

Aromas of stone fruits & spice. A very interesting array of both black and red fruits, making it very difficult to describe as it is quite complex. Predominately stone fruits that dance on the palate for a very very long time. This wine will pair beautifully with any rich meats, my choice would be lamb loin chops.

How is it that the most fruit forward wine on the palate can be so shy in the nose? The Hellenthal has a multifaceted fruit profile due to numerous clonal selections comprising the block from which we source. The Hellenthal has typically been either bold or timid depending on that years vintage. The 2012 is the best of both worlds with great fruit strength but oh so alluring.

2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard

Aromas of dried cherries. Flavors of strawberries, cherries and a hint of chocolate that tantalize the palate upon entry, carrying through the mid palate and right through the finish. An oven roasted chicken and a bottle of Salzgeber equals a great night.

Flavors of bing cherry, red plums with generous acidity lead to a velvety mouth feel offering that wonderful fruit tannin that we have come to love from this vineyard.

2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard

Aromas of black plums & tea. Flavors of black plum, blueberry, dark tea and a slight touch of tobacco are accompanied by a lovely spiciness that is intriguing all the way through to a bright long finish. Enjoy this wine alongside a barbequed steak & portabella mushrooms.

Following the 2011 Balletto which offered a robust fruit experience accented by black pepper, this vintage is a throwback to the standard dark fruits, slight white pepper and this year a hint of tobacco.

2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard

Aromas of pomegranate, Earl Grey tea and cocoa. Flavors of sweet dried cranberries folded into a honeysuckle essence with a dusting of orange peel. The long and viscous finish lingers & lingers. This very feminine yet independent wine will shine through any presentation from our oceans.

Sweet cherries and strawberries with a candied concentration offer an exceptional mouthful of flavor.

2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Aromas of strawberry and raspberry. Flavors of bright raspberry, red plums and black tea are wonderfully accentuated by a brisk acidity and mouth watering finish. This wine would complement a duck confit salad with dried fruits.

Rich red fruits stream in offering nice acidity, lots of viscosity finishing in a long balanced experience.

2012 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Aromas of cherry cola. Flavors of black plums flood the palate carrying a mouthcoating array of baking spices balanced nicely with fruit tannins. With this long finish and enveloping viscosity it would pair well with a pork tenderloin topped with a wild berry glaze.

A wonderful marriage of the Hellenthal and Balletto vineyards.

By |2020-01-29T22:48:51+00:00January 29th, 2012|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on Tasting Notes 2012

Tasting Notes 2011

2011 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard (92 cases)

Aromas of bold red fruits and tea. Rich sweet cherries envelope the palate, the fruit tannins provide the backbone of this experience, notes of dark tea, finishing long and viscously. The Salzgeber has always displayed firm tannins, sometimes dominating the wine experience. The most recent vintages from this vineyard have shown a wonderful balance between the strength of the fruit and fruit tannins. (This is Denise’s favorite Salzgeber bottling to date).

2011 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard (193 cases)

Nose of jam like berry fruits and pepper. A concentrated array of dark berries and plum fill the palate carrying with it white pepper spice, great mid palate weight, a long lasting and complex finish.

2011 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard (192 cases)

Aromas of lighter red fruits, floral blossoms, citrus peel and a sweet spiciness. Sweet fruits of red cherry, strawberry and hints of citrus meld seamlessly with baking spices and vanilla. This bottling is a pretty expression of Pinot Noir.

2011 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (254 cases)

Aromas of dark fruits and spice. A rich and complex jubilee of blackberries and cherries, soft notes of oak and finishing long, viscous and complex. We confess that there are no inferior vineyard sources going into our blends. As is always the case, the Russian River Valley is a blend of the above components. Can you tell us what percentage of which vineyards?

By |2020-01-29T22:48:40+00:00January 29th, 2011|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on Tasting Notes 2011

Tasting Notes 2010

2010 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard (146 cases)

The Hellenthal always has a jam like concentration on the nose. Aromas of stone fruits. There are concentrated flavors of black plum, black cherry with hints of blackberry and a slight nuttiness towards the finish. This is a beautiful “Premier Cru” Pinot Noir.

2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard (146 cases)

This represents what we consider to be a classic Russian River Valley profile of flavors. Aromas of sweet red fruits. Rich flavors ofstrawberries and red cherries, with a creaminess mid palate, hints of vanilla and cola, finishing with wonderful structure.

2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard (195 cases)

Acute aromas of blueberries, with a mélange of baking spices. A sip reveals complex flavors ranging from dark to red fruits, the typical hint of white pepper and complimentary tannins throughout the long finish.

2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard (171 cases)

Ah! The nose. How can so much pleasure be derived by just the smell. The explosion on the palate is an intriguing mix of red fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, citrus blossoms and cinnamon. The long finish here gives one pause, as the natural tendency would be to rush for another pleasurable sip.

2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (212 cases)

The usual suspect. An outstanding blend of the above vineyard designates. Notes of cherries, maple essence and inviting acidity. This wine delivers a viscous, mouth coating and lingering experience.

By |2020-01-29T22:48:31+00:00January 29th, 2010|Tasting Notes|Comments Off on Tasting Notes 2010