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….”
Mendocino AVA was established in 1984 and amended in 1989. It includes numerous sub-appellations. Mendocino AVA is entirely within Mendocino County, and the AVA is known for its Mediterranean climate. Vintners successfully grow Carignan, Charbono, Grenache, Zinfandel, Petit Sirah and Syrah. In cooler parts of the region Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are also grown. Mendocino County is home to nearly 600 vineyards, and many have been certified organic for decades, thanks to the region’s famous “green and sustainable” approach to agriculture and nearly everything else. Mendocino was named for 16th century explorers, a pair of brothers whose last name was Mendoza. Winemaking, however, didn’t start until the 19th century when some would-be gold miners decided it was more profitable to make wine than to pan for gold. Italian immigrants in the late 19th century continued to establish winemaking ventures.
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.