Be careful to trust a person who does not like wine.
I will have to agree with Marx on this subject and I will add this caveat for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Lovers- Do not trust California oenophiles that do not like the wines of Kistler Vineyards, Williams Selyem and Kosta Brown Winery. There are few things that every major critic agrees on but the quality that these three producers make some of the best wines when you speak of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
We just received a bunch of older vintage wines from these three producers so I figured it was time to host an event to see which one of these three wineries make the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Join us as we do some serious scientific work with these three wineries to see who makes the best wines with these two varietals.
If you can’t make the tasting I have included all of the wines from these three producers on this offering on SALE!
The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $275 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
KISTLER, KOSTA BROWN AND WILLIAMS SELYEM WINE TASTING
FEATURING VINTAGE CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAY AND PINOT NOIR
Thursday, October 12, 2023
2014 Kistler Chardonnay Trenton Road House
2014 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill2014 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River
2014 Kosta Browne Chardonnay One Sixteen Russian River
2014 Williams Selyem Lewis Macgregor Estate Vineyard Chardonnay Russian River
2014 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River
2014 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Block 10 Mass Selection
2014 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir Luella's
2014 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
2014 Kistler Pinot Noir Cuvee Natalie
Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie
Strawberry Spinach Salad with Almond Crusted Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Fettuccini Alfredo with Speck and Fresh Mint
Duck Breast with Cherry Pinot Noir Reduction and Truffle Shoestring Fries
Cranberry Vichyssoise with Vanilla Scented Crème Fraiche
The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $275 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail email@example.com. Please let us know when you make your reservations if you are allergic to Vichyssoise or if you don’t like a good duck and chefs Toni and Dani will be happy to accommodate you.
A bit about Kistler Winery:
Opinions about Kistler are as unanimous as anything can be in a business where subjectivity can be all across the board. Clive Coates, the foremost wine critic in Great Britain, thinks Kistler is one of a handful of California Chardonnays that competes on a world-class level. Robert Parker JR. says Kistler is "clearly one of California's brightest stars"; Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine, which anoints its best wines with “Puff” ratings, has given more of these quixotic puffs to Kistler than any producer in the twenty-two year history of the publication; The Wine Spectator has waxed poetic about Kistler Chardonnays with numerous 90+ ratings and picked the '92 Kistler Vineyard Chardonnay as its highest rated Chardonnay (94) in 1995. Although some producers can rival Kistler's efforts with very small quantities of top Chardonnay, no producer in the past four decades even comes close when one considers the fact that Kistler produces significant numbers and has done so at an awesomely high level of quality and consistency.
The winery got off to a grand start with a trio of 1979 Chardonnays that were ballyhooed by every authority in the business, but the 1980 Kistlers were bottled too early and had problems with sulfide. Kistler took the very difficult and unprecedented step of recalling what could be salvaged - but not before the critics had a field day trashing them and dismissing Kistler as a "flash in the pan." Right from the start Kistler was an innovator with winemaking methods that were once considered "out on the edge". Malolactic fermentation was one such technique - they were the first winery to undertake it on a serious scale. Today it is accepted gospel among many California producers. They didn't - and still don't - cold stabilize their wines. In the beginning filtration wasn't part of the plan - though some are now lightly filtered.
Bixler goes into the vineyards every day at 5 a.m. during harvest to make sure that those blocks promised for Kistler are not picked until they reach optimum ripeness. "When I talk to other wineries about range of sugars, I am amazed about what extent they find acceptable - by and large we look for a very narrow range", says Bixler. "Steve is back at the winery - I'm out there in the vineyards during the picking, doing the sampling, and determining when we pick. I have a degree of care, attention, and concern; and Steve has the same extreme interest. It is very advantageous to have two different people doing two different jobs with an equally high interest in the outcome". The winery has learned that about 40% new French oak is the right formula for aging their Chardonnays, but some bottlings receive as much as 100% new oak.
The key to quality at Kistler is more than just the result of a highly talented team, lots of hard work, and intelligent effort - it is the special nature of their vineyards. Kistler owns outright only two of its six vineyard sites - the Kistler Vineyard, a 20-acre parcel that sits on the divide between Sonoma and Napa some 2000 feet up in the Mayacamas mountains and their new property on Vine Hill Road. Besides the winery's own vineyards, the relationship the partners have with their growers is crucial. Dutton Ranch in Sonoma's cool Green Valley has been in the Kistler camp since 1979 - Kistler gets very favored, low production sites on hilltops within Warren Dutton's famed vineyard. Another site which has yielded terrific Chardonnays for Kistler has been the Durell Vineyard. Although other wineries have produced Chardonnays that bear the Durell name, apparently Kistler also gets the most favored vines at Durell. Kistler's 1989 and 1990 Durell Chardonnays were our back-to-back picks for "Best Chardonnay of the Year" for 1991 and 1992 respectively. Kistler has high expectations for a new property, Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard, located just two miles from the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 2000 feet in Northern Sonoma County. This vineyard has yielded its first fruit from the '93 vintage - small amounts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were forthcoming in early 1997.
The luxury of picking and choosing exactly what will wear the Kistler name has placed Mark and Steve in a very enviable position. At the end of the 1987 vintage Fred McCrea approached them and asked if they would take his grapes. The McCrea Vineyard is a low-yielding, extremely well-situated property with thirty-year-old chardonnay vines that yield Kistler about 2500 cases of wine. Kistler's first seven Chardonnays from McCrea fruit have been outstanding. Several years ago Kistler purchased a thirty-year lease on this vineyard, so the winery essentially controls the fruit from vine to bottle. That lease, and others being negotiated, are part of the Kistler/Bixler game plan, which calls for less reliance on growers and eventual total control over all grape sources used in Kistler wines. We would be remiss if we did not mention the tiny amount of a seventh Chardonnay called "Cuvée Cathleen", first released from the 1992 vintage. This wine is a selection of the finest barrels from all the vineyards - about half of it comes from the Kistler Vineyard. In June of 1996 we had an opportunity to taste with Mark Bixler both the 1993 "Cuvée Cathleen" and the 1993 Kistler Vineyard in a side-by-side comparison - both were fantastic wines with the edge going to the more opulent and flattering Kistler Vineyard bottling. An eighth Chardonnay from the Hudson Vineyard in Carneros was added in the 1994 vintage, would it be a surprise if we told you that this wine was another home run.
Up until late 1991 Kistler made all their wines at a small, antiquated winery located next to the Kistler Vineyard on Sonoma Mountain. However, Kistler purchased a new twenty-acre vineyard site on Vine Hill Road a few miles west of Santa Rosa. There Kistler built an ultra-modern winery to handle all their grape sources. The adjacent new vineyard (referred to as the Vine Hill Road Vineyard) was planted in 1988 and first bore fruit in time for the 1990 vintage; the new winery was fully ready to receive the fruit beginning in the '92 harvest. This is a facility that was designed by a winemaker especially for his wines (not for tourists!), with many unique features that appear to have taken Kistler to an even higher level of quality.
Kistler also produces a small amount of Pinot Noir from the Vine Hill site, which supplements the Pinot Noir it now produces from the Dutton Ranch. Kistler has discontinued the Cabernet it once produced and has replanted the Kistler Vineyard with pinot noir. There is also a Pinot Noir from the aforementioned Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard. The eventual plan is to offer as many different Pinot Noirs as Chardonnays.
Kistler blends fruit from all of its vineyard sources to produce a Sonoma Coast bottling. The Kistler Sonoma Coast is the least expensive Kistler Chardonnay and is made in the greatest quantities (almost 7,000 cases). Essentially it's "leftovers"...of the sort we will be glad to drink anytime! The fantastic 1994 Sonoma Coast bottling was our pick for "Best Chardonnay of 1995" in The Wine News. The 1995 Sonoma Coast bottling was even better than the 1994 - the price also began to approach the single vineyard bottlings. 1996, amazingly, produced another excellent wine, released a little too late to be a candidate for the “Best of” awards. Kistler has become a perennial overachiever when it comes to Chardonnay. It would appear that Kistler is selecting much more carefully for this wine, and it is reflected in the price and the incredible quality. Kistler introduced two new bottlings to their line-up with the 1998 vintage, the Carneros appellation bottling and the Les Noisetier. The Carneros bottling is the lightest and most elegant in the line, almost untypical for Kistler to produce an elegant and lighter styled wine, however there is still evidence of Kistler’s hallmark style, over-the-top toasty, rich, ultra-ripe. In addition to the Carneros Kistler is also bottling a wine called Les Noisetier, this is a blend of Dutton, Durell and a bit of Sonoma coast.
The Sonoma Mountain bottling is just a shade lighter in depth and richness from the single vineyard bottling. Kistler’s wines are produced solely by native yeasts. Their barrels are crafted from French oak that is aged to our specifications and specifically tailored to our program. All of Kistler’s wines are bottled unfiltered and unfined.
Kistler Chardonnay is barrel fermented in Kistler’s subterranean, gravel floor barrel rooms, and is aged sur lie in those same barrels, remaining for eleven to eighteen months until bottling.
Williams Selyem Wines on SALE!!
Like most good stories, the history of Williams Selyem owes much to serendipity. If a grower with an abundance of fruit hadn’t given Burt Williams a few tons of free grapes in the 1970s, Burt might never have discovered his love and flair for winemaking. And if Burt and his partner Ed Selyem had been able to afford the French Burgundies they both favored, they might never have tried making their own Pinot Noir.
The two friends didn’t set out to produce wines for anyone but themselves. And they surely never imagined that their humble experiment in home winemaking would spawn a cult-status winery of international acclaim. Together, Burt and Ed set a new standard for American-made Pinot Noir, and elevated Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley to among the best wine growing regions in the world.
Kosta Brown Wines Available at Wine Watch on SALE!
Founders Dan Kosta and Michael Browne started out with humble beginnings while working together in a local restaurant in 1997. Full of passion but short on capital, Michael developed relationships with key growers in Northern California, while Dan, along with the help of a third partner, Chris Costello, worked to market and sell the wines.
In 2011 we were named Wine Spectator’s #1 Wine of the Year with our 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. It was an honor that could only fuel our steadfast dedication and focus on quality. We have remained committed to embracing innovation, pushing boundaries and we welcome unconventional approaches in the cellar to make irresistible Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines of elegant intensity.
These varieties reflect their growing conditions and winemaking approaches like no other and we are obsessed with capturing the individual expression of the state’s finest growing regions—the rugged and diverse Sonoma Coast, the foggy Russian River Valley, the chilly Santa Lucia Highlands, the coastal proximity of the Sta. Rita Hills and the wild, untamed Anderson Valley.
Through the artful blending of our vineyards and their individual blocks and rows, we strive to create the purest expression of each appellation’s unique personality.