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WesMar: 2008 Garagiste Pinot Noir

WesMar was launched as a bonded winery over ten years ago in the mold of the original Williams Selyem winery. Consistency and quality are the hallmarks at this small garagiste winery, with matrimonial partners Kirk WESley Hubbard and Denise MARy Selyem self-admitted control freaks who manage every detail of the winemaking process from sorting to bottling. The preferred style is a more feminine Pinot Noir, created by picking grapes with a good amount of natural acidity. No additives are employed, and the wines are neither fined or filtered. Kirk and Denise are compulsive about cellar sanitation. If a wine does not meet their expectations, it is declassified and sold as bulk, such as the entire smoke tainted 2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and the 2008 Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

With WesMar’s latest fall 2010 release of 2008 Pinot Noirs, a 10th Anniversary Special Offer is available. When you order a case of the 2008 vintage, you receive a baker’s dozen which includes a bottle of the outstanding 2007 Hellenthal Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

Denise said that her vineyard sources were not hit hard by the extended frost in April of 2008 in Sonoma County. The growing season was cool and the resulting wines “are full flavored with a jam-like concentration, providing moderate tannins and acidity with supple textures.” Phone the winery to arrange a tasting or to order wines (707-829-8824). The website is All the wines are also available in magnum format at twice the cost of a single bottle.

2008 WesMar Oehlman Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.3% alc., $37. · More darkly colored than usual from this vineyard. Great purity of cherry fruit in the nose and on the palate with a typical addition (for this vineyard) of baking spices. A tasty middleweight with dusty tannins and a fruity finish that is not showing everything now. I would suggest cellaring for another year or two. Very good.

2008 WesMar Balleto Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.5% alc., $40. Pommard clone. Previously this wine carried a Sonoma Coast AVA designation but the boundaries have changed and this vineyard is now in the Russian Rive Valley. · Demure and delicate aromas of gently spiced black cherries. Discreetly concentrated black stone and berry fruits that are full of vim and vigor, wrapped in soft tannins and framed by bright acidity. This wine is offering the most upfront action now in the lineup.

2008 WesMar Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.4% alc., $40. The appellation wines from WesMar are not condescending wines inferior to the single vineyard bottlings, but rather are a virtuous blend of the vineyard designate wines of the vintage. · Striking aromatics showing off spicy Bing Cherries. Soft and gentle in the mouth, with understated but pleasing flavors of red cherries, strawberries, and cola. An easy drinker that will be a promising workhorse at the dinner table. Like cherry pie day at cooking school: cherries, baking spices and very interesting results. Very good.

2008 WesMar Salzgeber Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

14.2% alc., $40. · A chameleon of a wine, constantly changing in the glass over time revealing a panoply of aromas and flavors. The core of red and black cherries and berries make a delicious medley that hits a high note on the divine finish. There are some savory and herbal notes which in some vintages are overwhelming in this wine, but nicely integrated in this vintage. Beautifully balanced with a pleasing silkiness and supple tannins that make for easy drinking. A special date night Pinot.

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