Williams Selyem, Summa Vineyard Pinot Noir 1988
In the course of writing my regional profile on the so-called True Sonoma Coast last year I had the great fortune to interview Burt Williams over lunch. Until his early retirement after the sale of Williams Selyem winery in 1998 Burt made some of California’s best Pinot Noirs, inspiring and delighting alike with his wines. The 1988 Summa Vineyard—Burt’s penultimate bottle—is cruising along beautifully, bursting with wild strawberry and raspberry fruit complemented by an exotic blend of blood orange, Asian spice and dried rose petals—the signature that always seems to appear in wines from this site. On the palate the wine is glossy, with fully-resolved tannins, but just impeccable balance and no signs of decline. Superb! Wines from Burt’s era are becoming harder and harder to find, and it’s alway a pleasure to taste them.
Taster: William Kelley