Change of Reins Evident at Williams Selyem

Williams SelyemAlthough Williams Selyem announced earlier this year that its long-time Winemaker and General Manager Bob Cabral will be stepping down and the 2014 harvest will be his last at the iconic Russian River winery, it was evident in other ways.  Standing next to what has become a traditional spot for the winemaker – the barrel tasting – was Jeff Mangahas instead of Bob Cabral.

Mark Malpiede, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, said that this transition has been planned for some time.  Jeff Mangahas came to Williams Selyem from Hartford Family Winery three years ago after having worked at Artesa Vineyards and Dutton-Goldfield.  Jeff has a technical background, starting his career at the University of Washington with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology before enrolling in the Winemaking program at UC Davis where he completed his M.S. in Enology.  Jeff says he loves to coax the best wine possible out of each vintage.  At home he is a gardener and chef.

In 2011, Jeff credited the 1996 Williams Selyem Allen Vineyard Pinot Noir as an eye-opening wine that helped spark his passion for Pinot Noir.  Jeff has some seriously impressive results from both Hartford Family Winery and Williams Selyem for a fairly shy and very humble man and we are all looking forward to many fabulous vintages with him.  

The wine tastings available during the Spring 2014 Release included the 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, 2012 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2012 Central Coast Pinot Noir, 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, 2012 Terra de Promissio Pinot Noir and the 2012 Westside Road Neighbors Pinot Noir.  Although the Westside Road Neighbors PN has long been a favorite of mine because I think Bucher, Rocchioli, Allen, and Bacigalupi (among others) are some of the finest Pinot Noir growers in Sonoma County, I was pleasantly surprized to meet a new friend the 2012 Terra de Promissio Vineyard (“Land of Promise”) Pinot Noir.  Growers Diana and Charles Karren were on hand Saturday to talk about their vineyard and grapes, saying   “Terra de Promissio employs hands-on sustainable farming practices that not only produce the finest Pinot Noir grapes, but also ensures the livelihood of the environment for us, our son and daughter, and the generations that will follow them.  Terra de Promissio does not belong to us, we belong to it…”

The Petaluma Gap is the gateway to the Sonoma Coast region. Although not a designated appellation, the Petaluma Gap is producing premium grapes that make the Sonoma Coast Appellation one of California’s best areas to grow primarily Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah grapes according to the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance.  It is their campaign to put Petaluma on the American Viticultural Area map.

At the Spring Release, Williams Selyem had their traditional array of guests, including Gaga Cafe (drip coffee), Costeaux French Bakery, Valley Ford Cheese Company, Zazu Restaurant/Farm, Healdsburg Toffee Company, and Dry Creek Olive Company.  In speaking with Michelle Robson, General Manager of Trattore Estate Wines and Dry Creek Olive Company, she indicated that construction is underway for their new facility in the Dry Creek Valley that will be opening later this year as well as their new tasting room in downtown Healdsburg.

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