Burt Williams is coming back!

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Blake Brown
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Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #1  Postby Blake Brown » August 26th 2010, 2:05pm

Although I have alluded to this in posts on other threads, this requires a thread of its own.

Great news: Perhaps as soon as this winter and certainly before the end of the year, Burt Willaims will resurrect his prowess in making stellar wines especially vineyard designated pinot noir. His own vineyards are now in their 5-6 year period and are producing beautiful fruit already evidenced from wines from his daughter, Margi of Brogan Cellars and Chris and now Drake Whitcraft, of Whitcraft Winery. He is free and clear from his non compete agreement with the sale of the Williams Selyem Winery.

In fact, one of the best pinots I`ve had this year came from a 2007 Margi`s Block from her labeled My Father`s Vineyard which I believe is from Burt`s Morning Dew Ranch Vineyard. [As an aside, one of the other best pinots I`ve had this year was from the Brogan Cellars Buena Tierra, Helio Doro Block which Margi calls "sex in a glass". It`s a WINNER.]

Cheers.
Last edited by Blake Brown on August 26th 2010, 2:07pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #2  Postby M. Dildine » August 26th 2010, 2:07pm

Good news. Any chance he'll be doing any old-vine Zinfandel?
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #3  Postby Tim Corliss » August 26th 2010, 2:16pm

Is there a name for this new venture yet?
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #4  Postby Glenn L e v i n e » August 26th 2010, 2:39pm

I love Margi's wines and I am sure Burt's will also be excellent.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #5  Postby gene keenan » August 26th 2010, 2:46pm

ooh la la. where is the mailing list sign up?
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #6  Postby Blake Brown » August 26th 2010, 3:28pm

Mike- I don`t know if he`ll be doing the old vines Zinfandels of years past.

Tim- I do not know the label name he`ll use.

Gene- There will be an announcement down the line; I will post it here if it is not in an obvious release to everyone.

To all: I consider Burt a good friend and do not want to pry any more than what I have shared which has been OK`d to do. If I get more info down the line, I will definitely pass it on.
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Well....

Post #7  Postby TomHill » August 27th 2010, 6:38am

Tim Corliss wrote:Is there a name for this new venture yet?


I kinda like "Hacienda Del Rio"!!! [stirthepothal.gif]
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #8  Postby Tom Gutting » August 27th 2010, 11:02am

I've been hearing rumblings of this for more than a year, and this is great news. Hopefully we'll get details soon. I'd be in.
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Re: Well....

Post #9  Postby M. Dildine » August 27th 2010, 11:07am

TomHill wrote:
Tim Corliss wrote:Is there a name for this new venture yet?


I kinda like "Hacienda Del Rio"!!! [stirthepothal.gif]
Tom


HA!
Cheers,

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Re: Well....

Post #10  Postby TomHill » August 27th 2010, 12:02pm

M. Dildine wrote:
TomHill wrote:
Tim Corliss wrote:Is there a name for this new venture yet?

I kinda like "Hacienda Del Rio"!!! [stirthepothal.gif]
Tom

HA!


It's a bit subtle, Mike. Most people won't get it.

Hacienda Del Rio was the original name for Williams-Selyem. But the Hacienda Wnry just East of Sonoma sued
for trademark infringement and to avoid legal costs, they changed their name to Williams-Selyem. And the rest is history.
Don't know who own HaciendaWnry these days. Probablt FredFranzia.
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Re: Well....

Post #11  Postby N Weis » August 27th 2010, 1:40pm

TomHill wrote:
M. Dildine wrote:
TomHill wrote:
Tim Corliss wrote:Is there a name for this new venture yet?

I kinda like "Hacienda Del Rio"!!! [stirthepothal.gif]
Tom

HA!


It's a bit subtle, Mike. Most people won't get it.

Hacienda Del Rio was the original name for Williams-Selyem. But the Hacienda Wnry just East of Sonoma sued
for trademark infringement and to avoid legal costs, they changed their name to Williams-Selyem. And the rest is history.
Don't know who own HaciendaWnry these days. Probablt FredFranzia.
Tom

Very astute guess. You are correct.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #12  Postby Jboonsook » September 28th 2011, 2:54pm

Tim Corliss wrote:Is there a name for this new venture yet?


Morning Dew Ranch Winery

Just got the mailer! 2008 with November delivery date. $60 per bottle
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Re: Well....

Post #13  Postby Rick Allen » September 28th 2011, 3:15pm

TomHill wrote:
Tim Corliss wrote:Is there a name for this new venture yet?


I kinda like "Hacienda Del Rio"!!! [stirthepothal.gif]
Tom

I can remember, years ago, Burt driving up to Oregon to deliver the multitude of cases of Hacienda Del Rio that my brother and his friends bought.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #14  Postby Jboonsook » September 28th 2011, 3:24pm

How much concern should there be for smoke taint? Burt doesn't seem like the type of guy that would tinker with the grapes and uses what he has as a vintage showcase. Doesn't the smokiness eventually dissipate with bottle age?

Winemaker note: There is initially a smokey aroma that combines with a dark berry fruit component with hints of roasted nuts and earth, medium rich palate, ripe tannins and berries on the finish. To sum this wine up in a more poetic vein 'the veil of the vintage present as it should be does not obscure the strength of the terroir.' My suggestion with this wine is to decant it for aeration, after the wine is aerated for a while the smoky components recede a bit and the fruit comes forward showing berry and pie cherry complexities. The wine at all stages pairs well with grilled salmon, lamb, veal and pork.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #15  Postby Paul Hiyake » September 28th 2011, 3:34pm

Is there any contact information for the winery?
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #16  Postby Jboonsook » September 28th 2011, 3:39pm

Paul Hiyake wrote:Is there any contact information for the winery?


old school pen and paper:
Morning Dew Ranch Winery
PO Box 487
Forestville, CA 95436
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #17  Postby Paul Hiyake » September 28th 2011, 3:40pm

Jboonsook wrote:
Paul Hiyake wrote:Is there any contact information for the winery?


old school pen and paper:
Morning Dew Ranch Winery
PO Box 487
Forestville, CA 95436



Thanks for the info... [cheers.gif]
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #18  Postby JKim » September 28th 2011, 5:42pm

Jboonsook wrote:Winemaker note: There is initially a smokey aroma that combines with a dark berry fruit component with hints of roasted nuts and earth, medium rich palate, ripe tannins and berries on the finish. To sum this wine up in a more poetic vein 'the veil of the vintage present as it should be does not obscure the strength of the terroir.' My suggestion with this wine is to decant it for aeration, after the wine is aerated for a while the smoky components recede a bit and the fruit comes forward showing berry and pie cherry complexities. The wine at all stages pairs well with grilled salmon, lamb, veal and pork.


The smoke notes are concerning. Where is this vineyard in relation to the fires in '08?
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #19  Postby Russ Schultz » September 28th 2011, 7:32pm

Is there a website?
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Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #20  Postby Tim Corliss » September 28th 2011, 8:15pm

Russ Schultz wrote:Is there a website?


Nope, PO Box only.

He mentioned those who buy 08, get first crack at 09

I'm in for two, I'd go three but the mention of smoke has me raising an eye brow at $60/bottle (and $30 to ship 3 bottle ground)
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #21  Postby Blake Brown » September 28th 2011, 11:27pm

Tim Corliss wrote:
Russ Schultz wrote:Is there a website?


Nope, PO Box only.

He mentioned those who buy 08, get first crack at 09

I'm in for two, I'd go three but the mention of smoke has me raising an eye brow at $60/bottle (and $30 to ship 3 bottle ground)



After having talked to Burt and daughter Margi, I went for a lot of the 08`. Margi`s comment was this was the best of all of the 08` that was smoke affected and it is lessened by decanting the wine in advance and dissipates more in time allowing for the beauty of the wine to take over. I trusted this to purchase a few cases.

BTW, he will only be doing 2 vintages and then out. The 09` will be his last offering and as stated above, those who purchase the 08` will have a priority for the it.. Most of the fruit from his vineyard will go to Williams Selyem.
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Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #22  Postby Tim Corliss » September 28th 2011, 11:32pm

Wow. Two vintages. Wow.

Will brogan continue to get the fruit?
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #23  Postby Blake Brown » September 28th 2011, 11:35pm

Yes and I believe Whitcraft will also and there may be another, but not many.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #24  Postby JDonner » September 29th 2011, 12:09am

confirmed on Williams Selyem getting the Fruit. They have not finalized a name for it yet though.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #25  Postby John Ammons » September 29th 2011, 12:13am

Based solely on the 1993 Williams Selyem "Sonoma Coast" Pinot I had tonight (no fruit left but very interesting aromatics and riveting texture...just sublime and a dead ringer for Burgundy...and 13.3%) this could well be one to covet.

I ran across a 2005 Whitcraft Morning Dew Ranch Pinot in Santa Barbara last fall (no idea why such an relatively old wine was on the shelf) for $25 so I took a shot at it. It was simple but had some allure.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #26  Postby Blake Brown » September 29th 2011, 12:51am

I`m constantly amazed and delighted at the longevity, depth and balance Burt`s older wines are still showing even from 750s. He opens up mags of these wines and they are unbelievably youthful and vibrant. Waiting to open up a 94` Allen probably on my special birthday next year.

The 05` Whitcraft was from the early sourcing from this vineyard and very young vines.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #27  Postby Adam Lee » September 29th 2011, 2:57am

Jim Laube wrote up an online column about it, with some notes on the wines, over on the Wine Spectator's website. May be subscribers only:

http://www.winespectator.com/blogs/show/id/45707

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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #28  Postby J Sullivan » September 29th 2011, 6:31am

Thanks for the info on this, folks! Had to sit down and write myself an old fashioned letter. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #29  Postby Jeff Fish » September 29th 2011, 7:33am

What am I missing? $60 plus shipping for smoke tainted pinot? [scratch.gif]
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #30  Postby Howard Horwitz » September 29th 2011, 12:51pm

This is a tough pass for me. I have always loved Burt's wines and admired his skill. I was so excited to hear he was back and even more excited to receive his mailed offering yesterday. I have no doubt he has pared down the '08 wine being offered to only those bottles that will show the least smoke taint. And I am sure the wines are exactly as described following aeration, etc. Yet Burt's skill is in allowing the pinot fruit to show through with minimalist intervention, which I think is the antithesis of even mild smoke taint. Ordinarily I would still have purchased a few bottles of such out-of-character (for Burt) wine, knowing what would be coming in the future. But with only one vintage ('09) in that future, I am going to have to pass. I am really saddened by this, and by the report that Burt is done as a winemaker after the release of his '09. What a huge loss for all lovers of his wine.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #31  Postby e chin » September 29th 2011, 1:05pm

JDonner wrote:confirmed on Williams Selyem getting the Fruit. They have not finalized a name for it yet though.


I thought I heard this will be blended and not given a single vineyard bottling.

Do any of you know if letters sent to the PO Box will make the offer list or will he be using an old list from his WS days?
Ed

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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #32  Postby Tom Lee » September 29th 2011, 2:52pm

Howard Horwitz wrote:This is a tough pass for me. I have always loved Burt's wines and admired his skill. I was so excited to hear he was back and even more excited to receive his mailed offering yesterday. I have no doubt he has pared down the '08 wine being offered to only those bottles that will show the least smoke taint. And I am sure the wines are exactly as described following aeration, etc. Yet Burt's skill is in allowing the pinot fruit to show through with minimalist intervention, which I think is the antithesis of even mild smoke taint. Ordinarily I would still have purchased a few bottles of such out-of-character (for Burt) wine, knowing what would be coming in the future. But with only one vintage ('09) in that future, I am going to have to pass. I am really saddened by this, and by the report that Burt is done as a winemaker after the release of his '09. What a huge loss for all lovers of his wine.


This mostly sums up my thought process on the offer as well. If, however, for some reason I am still offered the 09's then I would likely be a buyer if only for sentimental reasons.

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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #33  Postby Tom Gutting » September 29th 2011, 4:16pm

When tasting at Williams Selyem last month, Mark mentioned they are doing a collaboration with Burt on Morning Dew fruit ... I think this may just be a one-off. But it will be a special bottling of some kind. A real shame the separate Morning Dew bottling will be two vintages. Some really nice wines from that vineyard. I've really dug what Woodenhead has made from them.
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Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #34  Postby Tim Corliss » September 29th 2011, 8:26pm

Tom Lee wrote:
Howard Horwitz wrote:This is a tough pass for me. I have always loved Burt's wines and admired his skill. I was so excited to hear he was back and even more excited to receive his mailed offering yesterday. I have no doubt he has pared down the '08 wine being offered to only those bottles that will show the least smoke taint. And I am sure the wines are exactly as described following aeration, etc. Yet Burt's skill is in allowing the pinot fruit to show through with minimalist intervention, which I think is the antithesis of even mild smoke taint. Ordinarily I would still have purchased a few bottles of such out-of-character (for Burt) wine, knowing what would be coming in the future. But with only one vintage ('09) in that future, I am going to have to pass. I am really saddened by this, and by the report that Burt is done as a winemaker after the release of his '09. What a huge loss for all lovers of his wine.


This mostly sums up my thought process on the offer as well. If, however, for some reason I am still offered the 09's then I would likely be a buyer if only for sentimental reasons.

Tom
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I've decided to pass as well. Only one more vintage is a bummer. If I get offered any 09 I might buy a couple for the same reasons as Tom.
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Re: Burt Williams is coming back!

Post #35  Postby Robert Grenley » September 29th 2011, 9:23pm

Blake Brown wrote:
Tim Corliss wrote:
Russ Schultz wrote:Is there a website?


BTW, he will only be doing 2 vintages and then out. The 09` will be his last offering and as stated above, those who purchase the 08` will have a priority for the it.. Most of the fruit from his vineyard will go to Williams Selyem.


Really? He is only making 2 vintages? Is this for sure?
Do you know why he would return to wine making after his non-compete expires, and then give it up after 2 vintages?
I have been waiting for Burt's return to wine making for several years, so this is disappointing, and i would be less interesting in buying 08 wines that I would have to work with to "lessen" their smoke taint just to get first access to his 09's when he is not planning to make any more wine after that.
I would love to know more about what the story is.
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