Waxwing: Engaging Pinot from an Urban Winery
Winemaker Scott Sisemore has a unique story. He is a stay-at-home Dad helping to raise two young
boys while his spouse, Joanne, pursues a successful career in the biotech industry. His boys are
both in school now, so he can devote more time to winemaking. In 2014, he was able to leave his
subleased space in San Carlos south of San Francisco, and rent his own dedicated winemaking
facility in nearby Belmont. He spent much of the year outfitting the new space for wine production.
Thankfully, Scott now has complete control over the winemaking process, something every
winemaker ultimately desires. This last harvest he crushed 17 tons of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Riesling.
Scott has worked with Spring Hill Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap since 2010 and has sourced Pinot
Noir and Syrah from Lester Family Vineyard near Corralitos in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 2012.
He describes the 2013 wines as “easy to make.”
Waxwing wines are sold on the website at www.waxwingwines.com, and distributed to retailers and
restaurants in California.
2013 Waxwing Spring Hill Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 208 cases, $39.
Released late 2014. 75% de-stemmed as whole berries with 25% foot-stomped whole cluster in the
fermenter. 5-day cold soak, punch downs 2 to 3 times a day, and pressed to barrel at end of
fermentation. The wine was aged 11 months in once-used French oak barrels and bottled with no
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. The nose offers demure aromas of cherry and
dried herbs. In the mouth, tannins and oak currently overwhelm the mid weight core of black cherry
fruit which offers promise. The finish is dry and slightly astringent and laced with oak. This wine
needs at least a year or two in bottle for the ruddy tannins to soften and the oak to integrate.
2013 Waxwing Lester Family Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 123 cases, $39. Vines
planted in 1998 on a sandy loam hillside bordered by
redwoods. Sustainable viticultural practices, careful
canopy management, minimal late season deficit irrigation.
A mix of Dijon and heritage clones including Mt. Eden,
Wädenswil and Mariafeld. 50% of fruit de-stemmed as whole
berries and 50% foot-stomped whole cluster. 5-day cold soak,
native fermentation, aged 11 months in once-used French oak
Moderately light cherry color in the glass. Plenty of lovely
whole cluster spice on the nose along with aromas of cherry, rose
petal and sandalwood. Delicious middleweight flavors of red cherry, red raspberry, spice and
crystallized rose. Bright with good tension and balanced tannins, finishing clean and uplifting. I could
drink this all day.