Legendary California winery Williams Selyem will hand over control to a French producer
One of the most famous Pinot Noir producers from California is preparing to hand over control to one of the most famous Pinot Noir producers from France. On Wednesday, Williams Selyem Winery in Healdsburg announced that the Faiveley family, of Domaine Faiveley in France’s Burgundy region, has purchased a minority stake. A price was not disclosed.
John Dyson, who has owned Williams Selyem with wife Kathe Dyson since 1998, said the motivation for selling a stake was to secure a succession plan, since he and Kathe hope to retire in a few years. He called the partnership “a culmination of many, many years of looking for the right people to succeed us.” They had many interested parties, he said, but had some specific criteria.
“What I was looking for was a family, not a corporation, not a private equity group, both of which have done significant damage to brands of this quality in California,” Dyson said. “And preferably a family that knew something about Pinot Noir,” he added.
VINTAGE 2016 / The harvest in 2016 took place in excellent conditions and fermentations were rapid. The 2016 vintage is promising.
The 2016 weather conditions were challenging, the year divided into three distinct periods, all offset from a normal year.The winter was very mild. There were no full days in which temperatures stayed below zero as would be normal in Burgundy. Yet gradually, from early March, average temperatures cooled down, with high rainfall and early morning temperature nearing zero.
On April 27, Puligny woke up wrapped in a large veil of white frost. Everyone here understood the catastrophe in the making. The rain of the evening before had brought high humidity which combined with temperature just below zero before dawn turned into fine crystals. The pure blue sky of the morning showing a beautiful sunrise quickly settled the disaster : the sun rays burned delicate young shoots on the twigs. In Puligny, the Grand crus concentrated most of the damage with some areas down 70% and even 90% in some areas like Le Montrachet.
The bad weather continued throughout the month of May and June. The rain never stopped, doubling the rainfall levels of previous years. The flower was rather late in June and disease set in with strong attacks of mildew attack strongly, especially in the lower lying areas, Bourgogne Blanc and Puligny Villages.
From mid-July the weather changed and hot weather set in for many weeks. Water reserves established during the spring allowed vine to grow steadily. There was almost a heat wave that lasted until early September and vine growth slowed. A salutary period of rain event occurred in mid-September and the vine sucked up sap.
The harvest began on September 21 under a sumptuous sky and in cool temperatures. If nothing could compensate for the damage caused by frost and mildew, where ever grapes remained, they are beautiful, fleshy, very healthy, especially in the first growths. Fermentations were fast and resulting in good balance with a nice mineral structure. This vintage has excellent quality potential.
The 2014 Vintage -wines are vibrant and show a nice minerality
The 2013-2014 was overall lukewarm with high rainfall until the first days of March. Spring was throughout a dry and sunny period. In this favourable weather, the bud burst started around March 25 and we started to wonder if 2014 would be another early year. April started equally dry but temperatures dropped mid month and until early may causing the vineyard to slowdown it's growth. Taking advantage of a summer-like May, the growth resumed it's vigor with the dry weather containing any excess. The first flowers are observed on May 22 and the full flower arriving on June 2nd and 3rd in a very warm environment.
June remained hot and dry and the vineyard develops at a fast pace. We are preparing actively for an early vintage. On June 28, all these favourable conditions came brutally to an end with a hail storm affecting mainly the top of the hill in the northern part of Puligny and more severely the winewards of Meursault, Monthélie, Volnay, Pommard, Beaune.July and early August are unusually humid and fresh for the season. The vine development slws down. Summer-like conditions resumed in the second part of August and became very favorable to a good maturation.
The harvest starts on September 10. The alcoholic fermentation proceed in a very conventional manner until November immediately followed by the malolactic fermentations. The last batch finished their fermentation in July. The 2014 wines are vibrant and show a nice minerality signing the best terroirs of Puligny.
THE RECORD-BREAKING LEGENDARY COLLECTION OF ROBERT CAINE
Zachys once again proved itself as the premier auction house for single owner collections on Friday, February 12, as The Legendary Collection of Robert Caine broke auction records for Coche-Dury and achieved monumental results. This extraordinary session was the second day of Zachys’ La Paulée Auction in conjunction with Daniel Johnnes’ La Paulée de New York, and Burgundy lovers from across the country and around the globe converged on New York City for the single greatest collection of Burgundy ever to come to auction. The Legendary Collection of Robert Caine was 100% sold and surpassed pre-sale estimates of $1,798,100-2,754,450 for a total of $3,486,434; combined with Thursday, February 10th’s session the two day auction totaled $6,208,752 (versus estimates of $3,489,750-5,343,550).
From Domaine Leflaive, the ultra-rare Montrachet drew heavy bidding interest. Highlights included:
• Lot 1269, 2 magnums (1.5L) Batard Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1985
SOLD $7,865, estimate $3,000-4,600
• Lot 1271, 5 bottles Chevalier Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1983
SOLD $5,808, estimate $2,000-3,200
• Lot 1279, 5 bottles Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1991
SOLD $24,200, estimate $12,000-18,000
• Lot 1280, 2 bottles Montrachet Domaine Leflaive 1992
SOLD $13,310, estimate $5,000-8,500