Tasty SOMMary - Verite Winery

When Pierre Sellian invites you to taste 6 of their vintage Verité at Spruce in San Francisco, there’s nothing to say besides “Heck yes I will be there!”

Private room at Spruce San Francisco, with 6 Verite ready to be tasted

Verité, if you have not heard of it before, has quite an amazing story. Winemaker Pierre Sellian, originally from Bordeaux, met up with Jess Jackson of Kendall Jackson estate back in 1994, the two men shared their vision and passion for the future of winemaking, a couple of trips back and forth later, Verité was born. Since its inaugural 1998 vintage, their wines have earned fourteen 100 points score from Robert Parker, divided amongst their 3 separate wine label – La Muse, La Joie and Le Desir. Pierre originally only had 2 labels, with La Muse being a Merlot dominant blend and La Joie being a Cabernet dominant blend. In 2000, they introduce their 3rd label called Le Desir, which focuses on Cabernet Franc, a grape much lesser known in a Bordeaux blend, and rarely seem as the star of a blend. Since then, they completed the trinity of Verité and has capture the awes of fine wine collectors from all over the world.

One unique thing about Verité is that Pierre has a wide range of choices when it comes to grape source. Because Jess Jackson is one of the largest land owners in the California, Pierre gets to choose the best plots from Alexander Valley, Knights Valley and Chalk Hill to put into Verité each year. As a result, each year’s blend is always a little different, and it certainly reflected in the tasting. Each wine today was definitely equipped with its own unique personality.

What a treat!

“I like the mountain and its micro terroir, every 50 yards can be so very different, my winemaking method is not too much different from Champagne region, in the sense that I get to blend from a wide variety of fruit sources into the best expression each year” Pierre explains.

He also talks about his love for Sonoma over Napa, “The Pacific Ocean influences creates a unique climate, the only other place in the world where you see this climate is in Chile, and I love it! Sonoma also has the most diverse range of soil anywhere in the world! The only thing I don’t see in Sonoma is limestone soil, which is very commonly found in St-Emilion Bordeaux where I’m from, but Sonoma has everything else!”

It was obvious that Pierre is a true artist, he told stories after stories of how he studied the grass, soil, climate and aspect of Sonoma before starting the Verité project, and after 20 vintages he is still learning with each harvest. He’s also very particular about the oak program for the wines.  Most wineries buy barrels to age wines, but Jackson Family Estates is one of the very few wineries, that has its own cooperage for barrel. This allows Pierre to carefully monitored and each and step, from sourcing to toasting, it’s a labor of love for him. At no point did he mention or brag about the 100 point scores, points were not the focus, instead he has a vision - he wants to make an elegant, balanced, and pure wine that express its terroir, you can see the passion in his eyes and taste it in his wines.

Pierre Sellian - master of winemaker, passionate and humble

“This might sound strange, I have great passion for oak, but I never want to taste oak in my wine!” Pierre said after he explains his barrel program “I want the oak to be the ghost in the bottle, we know and think it is in there, but we can’t smell it or taste it”

Indeed, his wines were complex, expressive but never overwhelming or oaky. Balance seems to be the key for him, each vintage has very different aromas and taste, they are all made to be extraordinary, and not a cookie cutter wine that’s made to be the same year after year. When asked if he is looking into retirement after 50+ years of winemaking, he smiled and said “No, I’m still young, I’m going to work until I die”

six vintage Verite with detailed info on each wines

Today’s line up –

*2010 Le Desir

Overall this wine have the most expressive aromas, fruity, juicy and complex, very satisfying but not over powered, It kept me going back for more! Love the exotic and floral notes of the Cab Franc, one of the most enjoyable wines from the lineup!

Nose: Medium plus intensity, elegant and silky, lots of exotic floral notes. Fruits of cranberry, plum, raspberry and almost a touch of sweet blueberries with high tone and focused wild strawberries in the background. After the fruit layers the green olive, herbal floral scent starts to appear. It has the classic dusty cherry and violet notes I find in most Cabernet Franc, very varietally correct and finishes with a hint of vanilla, coffee and wet clay minerality on the finish.

Palate: Medium Tannin, High Alcohol, Medium Plus Acid, Long Length and High Complexity

*2008 La Muse

The most powerful wine in the lineup, this will change the way you think of Merlot! It’s dense, full bodied and has so much to give; a long (5+ hours) of decanting is needed, it also has the cellar potential for another 10-15 years! I don’t usually go by Robert Parker’s score for my own tasting, but this bottle has definitely earned its 100 points!

Nose: Sharp, focused and linear nose of black plum, prune, black olive, cassis and current. A blackberry pie next to savoy cured meat plus a side of light smoke in the glass. A muscular nose up front with hints of thyme and bay leaf in the back end.

Palate: High Tannin, High Alcohol, Medium Plus Acid, Medium Plus Length, Complex with huge mouthfeel

2008 La Joie

A well-integrated, mellow and pleasurable wine that’s ready to be enjoyed now.

Nose: Soft expression, elegant and developed fruits with medium intensity, light perfume of herbs and soft spices laced with some chalky minerals on the back end. Fruit is compact and focused with cherry, cranberry and other tart red fruit notes.

Palate: Medium Plus Tannin, Medium Plus Acid, Medium Plus Alcohol, Medium Length and Complexity

2008 Le Desir

Very well compose, starting to peak, easy drinking and enjoyable wine.

Nose: Warm spices, a more rounded reserved overall feel and touch of “wet stone” minerality. It’s medium on intensity with notes of chocolate, very inviting smells of just ripe cherries, cranberry and raspberry with bouquet of floral in the back end

Palate:  Medium Plus Acid, Medium Tannin, Medium Alcohol, Medium Plus Complexity and Length

2000 Le Desir

The most “Bordeaux” like of them all, reminded me of a good aged Right Bank Bordeaux.

Nose: Rocky mineral and herbal with web stony characteristics. Minty, refreshing and reserved.

Palate: Medium Plus Acid, Medium Tannin, Medium Alcohol, Medium Plus Complexity and Medium Finish

1998 La Joie

Very well structured and focused, still lively and very much alive! The 1998 are showing absolutely amazing for being a “difficult vintage” Once again.

Nose: Savory, dried cranberry, red cherries, and dusty strawberries. Lively acidity, still very much alive and have plenty more to give. Not tired at all, great color still in the glass. Lots of spices with leather and earth in the back drop. It’s well balanced with fruit and secondary aromas

Palate: Medium Tannin, Medium Alcohol, Medium Plus Acid, Medium Plus Complex and Long Length

So complex, so different, I would loved to stay there for 4 more hours and see the development of the wines

 ----------Chinese Version----------

如果Pierre Sellian邀請你到舊金山的Spruce餐廳品嚐他們真理酒莊(Verité)的六支酒款,除了「嗯,我一定會到!」之外,還有什麼好說的呢?

真理酒莊背後有一段精彩的的故事。1994年,來自波爾多的釀酒師Pierre Sellian認識了來自康爵酒莊的Jess Jackson,並相互分享對於釀酒的觀點和熱情。幾次討論之後,真理酒莊誕生了!自從1998第一支酒問世後,酒莊從知名酒評家Robert Parker手上贏得了14個100分!他們的酒款分為三個獨立酒標 – La Muse(繆思)、La Joie(喜悅)以及Le Desir(渴望)。Pierre原先只創建了兩款酒標,分別是以梅洛為主的混釀La Muse,以及以卡本內蘇維濃為主的混釀La Joie。2000年,酒莊推出了第三款酒標,也就是被稱為Le Desir的酒款。它以卡本內弗朗為主,這是波爾多混釀較不為人知,也是較少成為主角的品種。從那時起,真理酒莊完成了三巨頭酒款,同時也捕捉了來自全球好酒收藏家的注意。

 真理酒莊還有一個相當獨特的地方:Pierre在葡萄來源有很多的選擇權。因為Jess Jackson是加州最大的地主之一,Pierre能夠從亞歷山大谷(Alexander Valley)、騎士谷(Knights Valley)和粉筆丘(Chalk Hill)獲取最高品質的葡萄,並納入真理酒莊的產品線。因此,每年的混釀都會有一些差異,當然也會反映在風味上。今天要介紹的每個酒款都有專屬的特性。





今日酒單 –

*2010 Le Desir –




*2008 La Muse

酒單中最強烈的酒款。它會改變你對梅洛的印象!這支酒酒體飽滿厚重且層次複雜。它需要長時間醒酒(5小時以上),再存放個10-15年也都很美味!我通常不會受Robert Parker的分數影響,但這款酒絕對擔得起100分滿分!



2008 La Joie




2008 Le Desir




2000 Le Desir




1998 La Joie




 *Very limited library release for purchase available, first come first serve until sold out

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