Dear Friends, Fall 2012
Greetings, Salutations, and a warm Hello. We hope that everyone has been enjoying their summer to the fullest.
Our late spring/early summer has been spent managing a new vineyard. New vineyard? It’s true, it’s true.
After waiting five years…………...Yes, it finally happened. We are officially farmers. Our first two acres has been planted to two
blocks split evenly between clone 91 (certified Pommard ) and clone 15 (certified Martini ). Both are planted on rootstock 101-14.
Why did we plant the rootstocks and clones chosen? We decided to follow two of our favorite vineyards in choosing these clonal
selections. The Oehlman Vineyard, always one of Denise’s favorites is planted to the Martini clone, and the Balletto Vineyard, also
one of Denise’s favorites (huh, I sense a Denise theme here) is planted to Pommard. As for the rootstock we felt that the 101-14
was the most widely planted and proven in our area of Sebastopol. The vines were planted in mid May as green potted vines. This
means that the clone and rootstock sometimes planted and grafted separately, had already been grafted together at the nursery.
While we hope that the green potted vines will give us a slight head start, they also require more TLC to get them established. So,
we have been actively monitoring their water needs, weeding out the competition (pun intended), as well as monitoring for their
natural predators, i.e. gophers, moles, deer and of course Kirk on the tractor (the official terminology is Vineyard Tractor Blight). It
has been a very busy, but exciting time for us. We are already realizing that this farming stuff is not for the faint of work. We look
forward to bringing you periodic updates on the progress.
2010 Growing Season & Vintage Retrospect
A year of contrasts. This season the weather seemed to move from one end of the spectrum to the other. The rainy season
concluded the first few days of June with just a few drops that totaled two inches of rain in a 48 hour period. That capped a rain
year with totals almost 25% above normal. Following the rain, the temperatures throughout the summer months were well below
normal, culminating in mid September with folks commenting that this had been the coolest summer in 40 years. Due to these
extremely cool temperatures many vineyard managers pulled more leaves from the vine canopies in the hopes of advancing the
ripening rate. Then as you might imagine, late in the season with all of these grapes exposed and unprotected, mother nature in all
of her glory let loose with a heat wave that simply put, fried the skins of the grapes. The temps soared into the low 100’s.
Many vineyards had staggering losses. Thankfully those vineyards that we work with did not.
In spite of all of this chaos, we are very happy with the wines produced. Although the vines seemed like they were behind due to
the cool summer temps, once the heat hit in late September the sugars shot up like they had been ejected from a circus canon. At
first we were alarmed. Then we realized that although the brix number (sugar level) was high, the wines were not overly ripe. The
wines actually show amazing balance and concentration. After the ups and downs, the anxiety followed by the calm, we realized
that it was going to be another wonderful California vintage.
As tasted August of 2012. These wines were bottled unfined and unfiltered
All of the 2010 Pinot Noirs will showcase aromatic wines with rich and pretty fruit flavors, subtle acidity,
integrated tannins, with finishes that are long and complex. Enjoy!
2009 Pinot Noir, Hellenthal Vineard, Sonoma Coast $50
We have some of this spectacular vintage available. You do not want to miss the opportunity to add this “Grand Cru” to your cellar.
The 2009 is really starting to hit its stride. The additional year of bottle age has further fostered wonderful flavor integration and
2010 Pinot Noir, Hellenthal Vineyard, Sonoma Coast $42
The Hellenthal always has a jam like concentration on the nose. Aromas of stone fruits. There are concentrated flavors of black
plum, black cherry with hints of blackberry and a slight nuttiness towards the finish. This is a beautiful “Premier Cru” Pinot Noir.
2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Salzgeber Vineyard $ 42
This represents what we consider to be a classic Russian River Valley profile of flavors. Aromas of sweet red fruits. Rich flavors of
strawberries and red cherries, with a creaminess mid palate, hints of vanilla and cola, finishing with wonderful structure.
2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Balletto Vineyard $ 40
Acute aromas of blueberries, with a mélange of baking spices. A sip reveals complex flavors ranging from dark to red fruits, the
typical hint of white pepper and complimentary tannins throughout the long finish.
2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Oehlman Vineyard $ 40
Ah! The nose. How can so much pleasure be derived by just the smell. The explosion on the palate is an intriguing mix of red fruits
such as raspberries, strawberries, citrus blossoms and cinnamon. The long finish here gives one pause, as the natural tendency
would be to rush for another pleasurable sip.
2010 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley $ 37
The usual suspect. An outstanding blend of the above vineyard designates. Notes of cherries, maple essence and inviting
acidity. This wine delivers a viscous, mouth coating and lingering experience.
What are we drinking now you ask
As you may have discovered yourselves or may have read, once bottled, wines being the living entities that they are, go through
up and down cycles. We have heard some people refer to this down cycle as a wine being in a “dumb” stage. We had been
avoiding the 2006 vintage due to its awkward stage. Although we have generally gravitated to the odd numbered year vintages, we
have rediscovered the 2006 vintage Pinot Noirs. Kirk recently opened a 2006 Sonoma Coast ( which is 100% Hellenthal Vineyard
). I thought he had opened a Burgundy after my first taste, it was fantastic. We also enjoyed a 2006 Balletto Vineyard with some
friends over a recent lunch. Much to our surprise, this day it trumped its company a 2007 Hellenthal Vineyard (one of our top three
favorites of all time ) and a 2008 Oehlman Vineyard. These kinds of discoveries are what makes wine so interesting for us.
Alas, when asked what is our favorite vintage we have learned to say that it all depends on when you are drinking a given vintage.
A Correspondence between Denise and Don
My wife and I have enjoyed your wines for several years. Each year we host "themed" wine tasting dinner events at our house for
family and friends. This year's theme is "Women Winemakers of Pinot Noir". WesMar wines have been tasted alongside those of
Merry Edwards, Penner-Ash, Turley, Drouhin, Archery Summit, to name a few. Your wines have always received rave reviews. I
had an opportunity recently to interview five Oregon women winemakers. I asked them if there were any obstacles to their pursuing
a career in winemaking because they were women? I also asked them why they thought women do such a great job making Pinot
Noir? Their responses were interesting, informative, sometimes funny. I would like to ask you those same questions. Please
respond only if time permits.
Thanks and keep up the great work,
Donald from Bellevue, WA
I am happy to hear that you and your friends enjoy our pinot noirs, thank you very much. Here are some thoughts in response to
your questions. I do not believe I have experienced any obstacles in the wine business because I am female. If the obstacles were
there I do not think I would have recognized them since my Dad has always instilled in me the notion that we can do anything we
set our minds to do. The simple "can do" attitude. If something is important to you, you make it happen. This has always been my
mindset and the way I have always conducted myself in life. To answer your other question: Why do women do such a good job
making Pinot Noir? Pinot Noir can be temperamental, fickle, it does not want to be too hot or too cold, it does not like to get ruffed
up, it needs plenty of time to be mellow, it enjoys its femininity, it likes to smell good, it can be oh so seductive, it can be playful and
expressive. I think it is easy for a woman winemaker to understand the Pinot Noir varietal, as it is just like a lady.
All the best to you Don.
Magnums (1.5 liter bottles)
We have been singing the praise of the magnum format for many years. We continue to hear that some of you have taken note
and now are hooked on the larger format. We encourage any magnum virgins out there to give these big bottles a spin. They are
great for parties of 4+ people. They are great to open on a Friday night to enjoy the development over the entire weekend. They
also make great gifts. They age much more gracefully than the smaller format. And last, but certainly not least, sometimes YOU
just deserve an extra glass or two!