Dynamic husband and wife team strive for perfection
In the small town of Graton, California, just north of Sebastopol, lies WesMar Winery. Surrounded by vineyards, this old apple processing plant has been converted into Denise Mary Selyem and Kirk Wesley Hubbard’s winery. If Denise’s last name sounds familiar, it should, as she is the daughter of the esteemed Ed Selyem formerly of Williams & Selyem Winery. Denise and Kirk met after college while working at the Bay Area Costco, spending harvests working together at her father’s estate. Williams & Selyem was sold in 1998 which lead to the founding of WesMar in 2000.
Their wine making goal……… start with the end result in mind; they strive to produce the style of Pinot Noir that they enjoy drinking. WesMar, a combination of Kirk’s and Denise’s middle names, is a true two-person operation. Once the fruit is delivered from the best growers, Kirk and Denise handle everything – winemaking, bottling, labeling by hand, packing and shipping, marketing, and customer relations without any employees, consultants, or brokers. They currently produce 700 cases annually, and have no intention to produce more than 1,000 cases and who can blame them! This style will offer you a glass of Pinot Noir that is: aromatic, fruit forward, not overly ripe, with balanced acidity, complimentary fruit tannins and subtle oak impressions, while still displaying richness of flavors, finishing with flavors that linger long after the wine has left your mouth.
“I can honestly say I have been drinking WesMar Pinot Noir for six years now and have never had a bad bottle.”
The utmost care is used when handling their distinct terroir-driven grapes, “WesMarroir” as Denise refers to them. Pinot Noir is picked relatively early, with less sugar and higher natural acidity. Fermentation is carried out in uncovered old dairy tanks (like Williams & Selyem) as they maximize skin contact, minimize punch downs, and are insulated with internal cooling jackets. Juice is always moved by gravity or gas as they do not even own a pump. Wines are aged in French Oak barrels for 12 months, unfiltered and unfined, bottled with a very low level of sulfur, and aged in bottle for another 12 months.
“I like to tell people that our wines always contain five ingredients or less: fruit, yeast for primary fermentation, malolactic bacteria for secondary fermentation, tartaric acid to adjust the ph (sometimes this is not necessary), and sulphur as a preservative. I also tell our customers that our wines have a VERY low level of sulphur. We are minimalist’s in the winery, we use a very light hand in the wine making and the five ingredients is a testimony to that.”
-Denise Mary Selyem, winemaker
Sonoma Coast 2012
90 Points Prince of Pinot
A blend of Hellenthal and Balletto vineyards. Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Elevating aromas of fresh dark berries, brewed tea and spice lead to a very satisfying mid weight mix of nicely ripened cherry and berry fruits that are snug with youthful tannins. Highly enjoyable with impeccable balance.
Russian River Valley 2012
90 Points Prince of Pinot
Moderately light reddish purple hue in the glass. Deep cherry aromas with hints of sous-bois, oak spice and floral bouquet. Soft and sleek in the mouth with a pleasing mix of cherry and cranberry flavors accented with spice and cola. A top notch Russian River Valley appellation blend that begs to be enjoyed now.
Russian River Valley Balletto Vineyard 2012
Aromas of black plums & tea. Flavors of black plum, blueberry, dark tea and a slight touch of tobacco are accompanied by a lovely spiciness that is intriguing all the way through to a bright long finish. Enjoy this wine alongside any holiday dish.