2009 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Hellenthal Vineyard (317 cases)

Many vineyards produce grapes of good quality year in and year out. The Hellenthal Vineyard is more fickle. We have always liked the wines produced from this vineyard, but the outstanding vintages have set the bar so high, that a more normal year is almost disappointing. This 2009 offering is one of those outstanding vintage examples from this vineyard that sits on a mountain top in the hills above Cazadero. The vineyard is such a mixture of clones and rootstocks that it is hard to pin down flavor characteristics that may have derived from a particular clone or rootstock. However, this melange of seductively enticing flavors and nuances is unparalleled in the WesMar lineup. This Hellenthal exhibits robust dark and red fruit flavors, defining tannins, lots of structure and a finish that is still going. The telling characteristics here are the strength, concentration and linger of the flavors.

2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard (74 cases)

The Salzgeber Vineyard is on the northern end of the Russian River Valley appellation, located approximately a half a mile from the river in Healdsburg. This vineyard is unique in that Jack and Phyllis Salzgeber have planted multiple varietals that would normally excel in more distinctive varietal districts. One would think it strange that Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc would grow on the same plot of land. In this vineyard it meets with success. We have worked with this vineyard since the 2004 vintage. Every year the vineyard has produced a wonderful Pinot Noir with deep red fruits, more red cherry than strawberry, with a plum like acidity, vibrant fruit tannins that compliment the fruit strength, finishing robustly.

2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard (194 cases)

We have been producing wine from this vineyard for eight years. While John Balletto farms approximately 1% of all of the grapes produced in Sonoma County (and that is a lot of grapes) we are always appreciative of his small farmer practices. The care and quality that goes into his vineyards is of the utmost importance to him and these efforts are apparent in the end result. He is always available to hear our comments on vineyard conditions that we encounter while monitoring our block of ripening fruit. When we first began buying fruit from John, we had our choice of a multitude of clones, rootstocks and trellising systems. Due to the proximity of this vineyard to the influences from the Bodega Bay breezes flowing off of the Pacific Ocean we chose the Pommard clone due to its earlier ripening. This decision has turned into a winemaking joy. This earlier ripening fruit produces wines that are very dark in color, very aromatic, fruit flavors that are a jubilee of berries, clearly defined acidity, and an unmistakable touch of white pepper and spice.

2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard (194 cases)

Although the Oehlman Pinot Noir has always been one of Denise’s favorites, we have watched as its popularity has grown immensely. At first it was the folks from the east coast who could appreciate the Oehlman as a likeness for some of the Burgundies that they were accustomed to enjoying. Now it has become one of our most popular Pinot Noirs on the west coast as well due to its personality which is unlike so many of its Russian River Valley counterparts. It is appreciated for the very defined acidity that is more and more missing from California Pinot Noirs, red fruits along the lines of raspberries and strawberries that compliment but do not overshadow the experience, a subtle vanilla flavor, tea leaves, citrus and baking spices.

2009 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (281 cases)

Every year we blend a Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley appellation. These wines are almost exclusively a blend of the vineyard designates from the given vintage. What we offer you in this blend is a superb value. This bottling is always very expressive and will age with the same grace as the vineyard designates. In fact, we have found that as each vintage’s wines age, the appellation wines frequently out shine the vineyard designated bottlings during early developmental stages. You can count on this wine to be a crowd pleaser (see “WesMar wines from your perspective”). This wine showcases classical appellation characteristics of rich red fruits, wonderful body, a textured mouthfeel, accents of cinnamon, vanilla, mocha, with staying power in the finish.