Williams Selyem was founded in 1981 when Ed Selyem and Burt Williams, friends who shared winemaking as a hobby, decided to make a commercial vintage. The men were neighbors in the Russian River Valley with full time jobs that were unrelated to winemaking. Nevertheless they purchased grapes and made Zinfandel, then single-vineyard Pinot Noir. Williams Selyem Pinots quickly earned a cult following. In 1998 the founders sold the winery to John and Kathe Dyson, former customers with backgrounds in wine production and business. The winemaker is John Cabral. Though the estate is best known for Pinot Noir, it also makes Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Says Robert M. Parker Jr: “The overall style of Williams Selyem Pinots remains one of elegant, high-acid wines that can age….”
Sonoma Coast AVA runs from San Pablo Bay in the south to Mendocino County in the north. It includes 7,000 vineyard acres and earned AVA status in 1987. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean means it gets double the rainfall of nearby inland appellations and the ocean gives the appellation a relatively cool climate. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir can thrive in these conditions, and there are numerous producers making critically acclaimed Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.