Review: 2005 Williams-Selyem Pinot Noir Westside Road Neighbors

Last night I splurged on this bottle of Williams-Selyem Pinot Noir. It may be the most I’ve ever spent on a 750ml bottle of wine in a restaurant, and it is arguably one of the best bottles I’ve ever drank, too.

Williams-Selyem’s Westside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir comes, exactly like it sounds, uses fruit from a bunch of growers on the Westside Road in the Russian River Valley. It’s a surprising Pinot, immediately grabbing you with popping aromas of spice and black pepper, with cloves clearly on the nose. Drinking it: It’s textbook Pinot, a black cherry core laced with smoky oak. None of the skunky earthiness of Burgundy — this is new world Pinot at its height.

The wine opens up in the glass, losing some of its spicy heat and mellowing out nicely. It’s not a wine to gulp down, but over about two hours I watched this wine go from peppery firebreather to smooth and silky operator, never complaining once.

A / $65 and up (retail) / williamsselyem.com

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