Reserve Wines

Our winery is a diverse business with over forty individual vineyard blocks scattered across Napa and Sonoma. From the best of our fruit we make a small quantity of *Reserve Wines* in the style of some of the world's greatest wines.

##Reserve Wines - Cabernet Dominant Because terroir, the sense of place, is important we grow Cabernet Sauvignon in three separate vineyards, each producing exquisite fruit and wines which then become a palette for our palates. We have spent twenty-five years developing our own vineyard management and winemaking techniques to produce a series of rich, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon based wines that taste the way you would expect France's best Bordeaux *Premier Cru Classé * wines to taste after years of aging. Bill in the Vineyard
Left Bank Bordeaux-Style blend inspired by the wines of Château Lafite Rothschild

This 180 acre Pauillac vineyard in the Médoc has history dating back to 1234 with the vineyards being consolidated by 1680.

  • 85% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 10% Merlot
  • 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot

. . . Shop for Inspire Cabernet Sauvignon
. . . Background of Inspire Cabernet Sauvignon

Inspire, to influence and arouse others to action - Why "Inspire" - In 1707 The London Gazette described Lafite wines as “New French Clarets” inspiring French vintners to focus on developing high quality red wines in Bordeaux.

Left Bank Bordeaux-Style blend inspired by the wines of Château Mouton Rothschild

This 185 acre Pauillac vineyard in the Médoc planted before 1720 was acquired by Rothschild in 1853

  • 89% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 9% Merlot
  • 2% Cabernet Franc

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Ingénue - a part played by an actress as an innocent or understudy - Why "Ingénue" - Not chosen for the original list of Premier Cru Classé in 1855, Château Mouton Rothschild was the innocent young estate that deserved better recognition. In 1973 after a long fight by the original Baron's grandson Baron Philippe, Château Mouton Rothschild achieved the status of Premier Cru Classé (Classified First Growth)
Left Bank Bordeaux-Style blend inspired by the wines of Château Margaux

This 200 acre Margaux vineyard in the Médoc was originally planted in 1580. Thomas Jefferson wrote of 1784 Margaux, “There cannot be a better bottle of Bordeaux wine.”

  • 87% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 8% Merlot
  • 3% Cabernet Franc
  • 2% Petit Verdot

. . . more

Impulse - the compelling influence of a particular feeling - Why "Impulse" - In 1977 investor André Mentzelopoulos, acting on impulse, purchased Château Margaux at a time when Bordeaux wines were in serious economic crisis. André invested heavily without any hope of immediate return in a subdued market, however the 1978 vintage was immediately recognized as exceptional. Today Château Margaux continues experiencing unprecedented success.
This 600 acre Atlas Peak vineyard planted on the south-east slope of Pritchard Hill in 1991 gives Bill this single-vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon showing the opulent quality of this fruit in its structured balance of substance and style. . . . more

Why "Stagecoach" - Stagecoach Vineyard rests 1,850 feet above Napa Valley, one side on Pritchard Hill and the other on Atlas Peak. With south-facing slopes and shallow, volcanic soils, the site’s rugged terroir is ideal for growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes rich with mineral and mountain flavors. This rugged terrain first made history in the 1800s, when the gentleman bandit known as Black Bart, robbed the daily stagecoach that traveled over the hill from St. Helena to Monticello.
A blended Cabernet Sauvignon created from our Napa and Sonoma vineyard blocks and inspired by Bill's belief that creating a great wine from the best of the best components and ageing it slowly in French Oak over four years would produce the equivalent of a beautiful twenty five year old left bank Bordeaux. The result - an incredible wine! . . . more

Why Sovereign [sov·er·eign] - a leader possessing ultimate power and the largest value British gold coin produced seemed to well represent the greatest wine you have ever tasted.

##Reserve Wines - Meritage Style If we just had a little Cabernet Franc, perhaps a little Malbec, Petit Verdot and of course some great Merlot - we might just make a few great blends. Bill in the Vineyard Mélange is a French term for a mixture, a term we use as synonymous with Meritage.
Right Bank Bordeaux-Style blend inspired by the wines of Château Haut-Brion

This 120 acre Pessac-Leognan vineyard in Graves has produced wines since 1521 - the world’s first wine to receive a professional review and purchased by Thomas Jefferson.

  • 44% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 45% Merlot
  • 11% Cabernet Franc

. . . more

Intrigue - to arouse interest by fascinating or compelling means - Why "Intrigue" - as the first "Claret" Haut-Brion wines became the world's first luxury brand intriguing to the rest of the world who then began to appreciate fine Bordeaux wines.
Right Bank Bordeaux-Style blend inspired by the Saint-Emilion wines of Château Cheval Blanc

This 101 acre St. Emilion vineyard traces its heritage back to 1832.

  • 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 52% Merlot
  • 46% Cabernet Franc

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Cherish - to hold something in high regard, to treat as precious - Why "Cherish" - one of the first vineyard areas in France, in 1587 its owner specified that "the farmers will live there when the sun goes down to keep an eye on the vines." A century later on the eve of the French Revolution, there were still two winegrowers living full-time at Cheval Blanc refusing to leave their cherished vineyards.
Ravish - to overwhelm with emotion, filling with delight - a Right Bank Bordeaux-Style blend inspired by the Pomerol wines of Château Petrus and Château Le Pin

This 28 acre Pomerol vineyard dates back to 1750 producing the most expensive Bordeaux wine.

  • 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 88% Merlot
  • 2% Cabernet Franc

. . . Shop for Ravish Mélange
. . . Background of Ravish Mélange

Why Ravish - it will hold you spellbound with a feeling of delight, filled with wonder and enchantment from this incredible soft yet powerful wine.
Left Bank Bordeaux-Style blend inspired by the wines of Château Latour

This 30 acre Pauillac vineyard in the Medoc traces it heritage back to 1331. Their wine was noted as superior by Thomas Jefferson in 1787.

  • 72% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 25% Merlot
  • 2% Cabernet Franc
  • 1% Petit Verdot

. . . more

Interlude -a period between two events- Why "Interlude" - in 1378 Château Latour was a fortress manned by Breton soldiers besieged by an Anglo-Gascon army. Following its capture Latour became a farming area and after a brief interlude was re-purposed with vineyards and a winery.

##Reserve Wines - Single Vineyard Single Vineyard indicates that the grapes come from a single vineyard site due to the site's superiority of a combination of grape growing elements such as soil, topographical features, water, sunlight and the day and night climatic conditions. All of these elements need to be in balance and harmony for premium grape production. Vineyard
The most perfect expression of the Chardonnay grape is a Puligny-Montrachet White Burgundy Grands Cru. Many consider Montrachet to be the greatest white wine in the world and our tribute to Puligny-Montrachet is Amourette Chardonnay from our Dry Cheek Valley Estate showing an intensity, complexity and elegance that makes you wonder how such a wine could be made from mere grapes . . . more

English seafarers delivered the first vines to Australia in 1788 which today is one of the world’s largest wine producers. Vineyards thrive in the coastal areas such as McLaren Vale and river valleys such as Barossa where many high-quality cult wines are made, most based on the region's signature grape, Shiraz including such iconic wines as Penfolds Grange, Henschke's Hill of Grace, Torbreck's The Laird and d'Arenberg's The Dead Arm. Our tribute to these great Australian Icon wines is our Elate Grange Cuvée . . . more

Tempranillo, one of the most famous of Spain's native grapes, is a vibrant, aromatic varietal that offers spicy, red fruit aromas and flavors. The best Tempranillos are Gran Reserva Rioja and our tribute to these Rijoa wines is our Fling Tempranillo . . . more

A full-bodied sparkling wine that retains its power profile and flavor through the méthode champenoise process and can be served cold. A great challenge for Bill to make something so unique, so special and so delicious that only a very few winemakers in the world have ever attempted . . . more

##Reserve Wines - Frequently Asked Questions
Old world wine producing countries like Italy and France have strict regulations regarding what can be labeled a reserve wine, requiring certain wine quality or oak barrel aging among other requirements. Unfortunately here in the new world there are no official guidelines however at Williamson Wines we use the term to designate wines we have specially designed to be reserve wines.

By design our Reserve Wines are made from our finest fruit, are given the most care and time throughout fermentation, taking four times times as long as a usual winemaking duration and then allowed to age gracefully for two years in French Oak barrels especially designed for each individual wine. Generally these wines are not fined or filtered, preserving their full flavor allowing them to fully express their sense of place.

Most are developed using traditional winemaking guidelines developed over centuries by some of the world's greatest wine houses.

Our Reserve Wines were not conceived to be simple copies of their French, Spanish or Australian counterparts. They began as an intellectual pursuit into what makes these particular wines so good, so age-worthy and so valuable.

Naturally the first conclusion is their terroir, everything that influences the grape in its growth and development; or was it winemaking technique; the process; the barrels; perhaps the blends; and then élevage, the ageing process, why do they need to age so long to bring out their nuances of flavor?

On trips to Australia and France we visited with winery owners and winemakers to walk their vineyards with them, to review their winery equipment and techniques, to taste and discuss their wines. We found that their terroir has similarities with some specific vineyards in Northern California; they employ similar winemaking techniques and the barrels are identical with those we use right here in the USA, same forest, same trees, same cooper, same toasting levels.

It occurred to us that if we used the same varieties of grapes from similar terroir, made with the same quality techniques, aged in the same barrels and blended with a similar formula, we could produce a wine in the same style as one of the world's great wines.

With fifteen years of experience making exceptional Napa and Sonoma wines we reviewed the previous ten years of blending formulae from the greatest French and Australian wines and developed our own blending models.

We took some of the finest fruit from our award winning Napa and Northern Sonoma vineyards to produce these Reserve Wines each inspired as a counterpart to one of the greatest French, Australian and Spanish wines. The happy result of that experiment is the development of our own style, favoring bright fruit, complexity and vineyard character, with a hint of the covert opulence you would expect from such great wines.
In years that our vineyards produce exceptional fruit quality we will continue to make small batches of these exquisite Reserve Wines, if only to drink them ourselves.

To ask us a question call us on 707-433-1500 or Click Here to Email Us

Read a little more > French Style California Wines . . .