William ‘Willie’ Sherer became a Master Sommelier in 1998 and has since then developed some of the most prominent wine programs in the country from the flagship Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York to the Aureole Restaurant at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. He currently manages the wine programs for both Redd and Redwood Restaurant in Yountville while also finding time to craft small production, “Sommelier styled” wines on the side. His love of old world wines and passion for sharing them with guests inspired his idea to launch a wine label that would champion varietals and styles of the old world while remixing them with American soils and winemaking traditions. He has a soft spot for Iberian varietals like Tempranillo and Albariño, which were his first bottlings in 2005. Today, he produces a white and a red in the style of Bordeaux and sources primarily old vine grapes from select vineyards throughout California. When we first tasted this luscious, Merlot-based blend modelled after a Right Bank Bordeaux, we were blown away by its balance, elegance and beautiful amalgamation of old world and new world styles.
Sourced from various unique vineyards throughout Mendocino and Napa Valley, this blend of 48% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc underwent a long, cool fermentation with 15% whole cluster fruit in two and three-year-old barrels. A seriously well-crafted union of old and new world styles, it offers a myriad of crisp dark fruit on the nose as in black current, black cherry, plum and boysenberry alongside a whisper of anise. Earthier elements arise on the medium to full-bodied palate including sandalwood, forest floor and tobacco which are framed by more of that dense and layered, spicy black fruit. A fresh and vivid acidity pulls the reigns on the fairly chewy tannins, which carry through to the persistent, crème de cassis-tinged finish. Considering its ample tannins and structure plus the fact that it is the brainchild of a Master Sommelier who has spent years creating magical pairings at top echelon restaurants, this delicious blend deserves a place at everyone’s table alongside a special meal such as apan seared, butter-basted ribeye steaks or braised lamb shanks with rosemary.