Family Winemakers Pomona: William James Cellars and Talisman

FWC Pomona Family Winemakers Pomona: William James Cellars and Talisman
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Yes, we know, March 15 was a long time ago. We’ve been busy with various activities. We still have to earn income to support our wine habit!

In this review we’ll look at two more from Family Winemakers Pomona: William James Cellars and Talisman.

William James Cellars

William James Cellars offered a 2011 Santa Barbara County ($28). This wine is made from a Martini clone graft from the Makenna vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. (The graft was taken from the justly famous Bien Nacido vineyard.) We found it a nice representation of the Santa Rita Hills. Opening with nice aromas of red raspberry and bing cherries, the wine slides into a nice, albeit slightly acid, palate. Decidedly Burgundian and a bargain.

Robin’s Manifesto: I am a goddess, and my body is my temple; so therefore I drink wine!

William James is owner – manager – winemaker Robin Bogue’s baby. The winery name is a composite. William is her father. James is her son. (And that means that the winery is not, truly, her baby.) The winery is in the Santa Maria area with a tasting room in Orcutt. The website reflects her general approach to winemaking (and, most likely, life):

It’s a Wonderful Life!
Ingredients for Happiness and Prosperity
Bread-that this house may never know hunger;
Salt-that life may always have flavor;
Wine-that joy and prosperity may reign forever.

Robin Bogue Two More From Pomona: William James Cellars and Talisman

William James Cellars owner and winemaker Robin Bogue believes in making wine that she’d like to drink—and creating fun pairings that buck the status quo. – Photo by Kaori Funahashi

 

Talisman

A few hundred miles north, the Sonoma town of Glen Ellen is where you’ll find Talisman. We’ve written about Talisman before, but it was good to renew our acquaintance.

Talisman Offerings Two More From Pomona: William James Cellars and Talisman

(click for larger image)

Talisman wines generally need aging and decanting.  The aroma rounds out nicely once the wine is exposed to air.

The wines started with the 2011 Los Carneros Adastra Vineyard ($56). Aromas of earth and leather, followed by very nice flavors. “Pleasant” was the word that came to mind.

The 2012 Sonoma Coast Wildcat Mountain Vineyard ($52) also needs some time to open up. This wine is lighter than the Adastra, with a mild raspberry palate and a hint of vanilla on the finish. Wildcat Mountain is on the opposite side of Carneros valley from Adastra. Once again we are reminded of the sensitivity of pinot noir grapes to terroir.

The 2012 Sonoma Coast Spring Hill Vineyard ($42, available only to wine club members) is from a vineyard in the infamous Petaluma wind gap. Aromas of cherry, spice, and leather lead to a palate of Santa Rosa plums and mineral. The finish is long with a hint of spice.

Here’s one you can’t buy: the 2010 Badger Block. Total production: one barrel. This wine was too special for our taste. Scents and tastes of blackberries and violets, some mineral, and a bit of spice.

The 2012 Yorkville Highlands Weir Vineyard ($65, available only to wine club members) is also for patient consumers. Aromas of forest floor with bing cherry and “desert” notes are followed by more cherries and herbs. The finish is tannins and oak. Great aging potential. Buy a case, put it in the cellar, and open one bottle a year until 2020. Maybe longer.

Scott and Marta Rich Two More From Pomona: William James Cellars and Talisman

Scott and Marta Rich

Talisman is the pet project of Scott and Marta Rich. Scott learned the basics of winemaking when he was six years old. Greek friends made wine annually. He attended graduate school in the enology program at U.C. Davis and has worked as a research enologist for both RH Phillips and Robert Mondavi. Marta’s dad made wine in their Minnesota home. After getting her degree in psychology at the University of Colorado, she moved to Napa Valley, beginning an 18-year stint at Robert Mondavi. Before departing she was in charge of Mondavi’s Northern California sales team. Her two current positions are aDirector of Sales for Calera and Director of Sales & Marketing at Talisman.

 

 

About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. His day job was Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. (He retired in 2016.) His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA ( Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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