Morning Dew Ranch

Owner(s) Burt Williams
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When Williams Selyem was sold in 1997, Burt Williams bought a 40-acre property in Anderson Valley the following year. Under the direction of vineyardist Steve Williams, the land was cleared and 12 acres planted to cuttings from the Rochioli Vineyard, "DRC" suitcase selections from adjacent vineyards, clone 23 (a clone Burt's deceased son favored), and Dijon clones 115, 777 and 828. The vineyard was named Morning Dew Ranch.

The fruit from Morning Dew Ranch as been released as a vineyard designated Pinot Noir by Brogan Cellers (owned by Burt's daughter, Margi Williams-Wierenga), Woodenhead, and Whitcraft. Williams crafted small amounts of Pinot Noir in 2008 and 2009 and released the wines in late the summer of 2011 (the 2008 vintage) and spring of 2012 (the 2009 vintage). The wines were sold primarily to close friends and long time customers of Williams Selyem. Williams has no plans to continue to produce wine after the 2009 vintage, choosing instead to take full advantage of retirement.

The Burt Williams recipe for Pinot Noir: 5-day cold soak, ferment with 15-30 percent whole clusters using Williams Selyem's proprietary yeast strain (isolated from the Martinelli Vineyard in 1984). Punch downs are performed every six hours once fermentation starts. The wine is pressed off the skins gently and aged in new and used Francois Fréres oak barrels before being bottled unfiltered.

Morning Dew Ranch was put up for sale in 2015 for $1,920,000. The 40-acre property included the vineyard, a 2 bedroom house, and a small winery with a lab and crush pad. Reportedly, it was sold to V. Suttui in Napa Valley.

Reviewed Wines

2009 Morning Dew Ranch Jan's Cuvée Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13,6% alc. · Aromas of blackest cherry and toasty oak. Richly appointed flavors of darkest cherry and strawberry and purple berry. Still fresh and giving, with a harmonious mouthfeel, and a clean and ephemeral finish. I have had multiple bottles of this wine and there is some bottle variation. If you have any of this last wine Burt Williams made, I would drink up with a toast to Burt. Score: 93. Reviewed July 26, 2021 ARTICLE »

2009 Morning Dew Ranch Jan’s Cuvée Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., $75. · Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Alluring aromas of black cherries, spice, white pepper and sweet pipe smoke. Waves and waves of savory fruit, offering tantalizing flavors of brandied black cherries, black raspberries, anise and tar. Very polished with balanced tannins and well-honed acidity. The unbelievably long finish lasts over a minute and I am not exaggerating. The more you taste, the more you like this special wine. Even better the next day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Williams Selyem Pinot Noir of the early 1990s De Ja Vu. Burt is a modest soul, but calls this, “A wine apart.” Reviewed January 19, 2013 ARTICLE »

2009 Morning Dew Ranch Jan’s Cuvée Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.6% alc., 228 cases, $75. Burt used grapes that were left over after others had picked and includes Rochioli selection and DRC selection. The winemaking regimen was the same as for the 2008 vintage. Burt is a modest soul, but calls this “A wine apart.” I have tasted this wine now four times including this November tasting. · Moderately dark garnet color in the glass. Alluring aromas of pie cherries, spice, and white pepper. Tantalizing flavors of brandied black cherries, black raspberries, anise and spice in a mid weight plus style. Lovely, with impeccable balance and an incredibly long finish. A majestic wine and one of Burt’s best achievements. Reviewed December 17, 2019 ARTICLE »

2008 Morning Dew Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.9% alc., 197 cases, $60. · Medium reddish-color in the glass. After decanting, aromas of pie berries, sweet barbecue smoke and wood spice emerge. Very fresh and vivid dark red berry fruit display an increasing charm over time in the glass and offers impressive finishing strength. There is clearly smoke, ash and tobacco flavors evident which reflect the fires of the vintage and the drinker needs to search through the smoke screen for the lovely core of fruit and spice within. The wine has very gentle tannins and is highly approachable now with decanting. Those drinkers that can accept the smoke affectation will thoroughly embrace this wine. Very good. Reviewed November 29, 2011 ARTICLE »

2008 Morning Dew Ranch Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., 197 cases, $60. A selection of three blocks, each a different clone. 25% whole cluster. Fermentation in open-top, stainless steel tanks for 12 days. Gravity racked and pressed to 100% new Francois Frères oak barrels. Aged 15 months on the gross lees before being racked to a tank for bottling. The wine was never pumped, fined or filtered. Burt’s notes: “The vintage and terroir are both present in this wine as they have been in all my wines. There is initially a smoky aroma that combines a dark berry fruit component with hints of roasted nuts and earth, medium-rich palate, ripe tannins and berries on the finish. My suggestion is to decant the wine to allow the smoky components to recede a bit and allow the fruit to come forward showing berry and pie cherry complexities. · Moderate garnet color in the glass. Aromas of sweet pipe smoke, barbecue and black cherries. Clearly smoke tainted in a mid weight plus style featuring dark cherry and berry fruits, finishing with mild astringency. Reviewed December 17, 2019 ARTICLE »

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