From river benches to rugged peaks, the dramatic landscape of Sonoma County is teeming with geographical diversity. This diversity is mirrored in our estate vineyards, where soils, aspects and microclimates in our mountain and hillside vineyards vary dramatically from block to block, creating what we like to think of as small vineyards within vineyards. No one alike, we call these special places micro-crus, and they are the heart and soul of our terroir philosophy at Vérité. Everything we do here — from the vineyard to the bottle — we do with the goal of allowing these micro-crus to transmit the message, or truth, of our soil here in Sonoma County.
Our vigneron, Pierre Seillan, understands this better than anyone else. Each year he carefully selects fruit from micro-crus within our premier Mayacamas Mountains vineyards that are destined to create the singular styles of our three Vérité wines: La Muse, La Joie and Le Désir. This intimate involvement with micro-cru selection is why Pierre prefers the term vigneron to winemaker — because vigneron not only encompasses decisions made in the cellar, but also those made in the vineyard throughout the year, where the true character of our wines originates.
At Vérité, we’re dedicated to crafting Bordeaux-inspired blends that stand among the world’s finest — and that express our Sonoma County terroir with beautiful transparency. To this end, Vigneron Pierre Seillan works closely with our vineyard managers throughout the year, following the fruit from bud break to crush in order to intimately understand its personality and potential to contribute to our three wines.
No expense is spared in ensuring we allow our terroir to transmit its full potential: Lots are first vinified by micro-cru — or „vineyards within vineyards” — then transferred to barrels to settle and begin maturation. As the wine evolves, Pierre tastes each lot individually over a period of months and ultimately decides where it’s destined to go — into La Muse, La Joie or Le Désir. Once Pierre creates the final blend for each wine, he returns the finished wines to barrels to further integrate and develop in our winery.
In keeping with the quality and aging potential of our wines, each spends between 15-18 months in new French oak barrels — which soften and lend depth to the wine without contributing excessively strong flavors. Pierre likes to say that oak in wine „should be like a ghost — you sense its presence, but you don’t actually perceive it.” In a word: it allows our terroir to speak with outstanding clarity. It also lends our wines impeccable balance and texture upon release, along with the potential to gain still more complexity in the cellar for decades to come.
When Pierre Seillan accepted Jess Jackson’s invitation to come to Sonoma County more than a decade ago, he was inspired by the region’s exceptional terroir. „Jess said he wanted to make a Merlot as good as Petrus,” says Pierre, „and I took one look at Sonoma County soils and said, ‘Why not better?’ Every hillside, every elevation and aspect offers us a different micro-cru, and the pure expression of these unique sites has from the beginning defined our winemaking philosophy.”
Now at home here following that fateful conversation, Pierre likes to say that the warm people of Sonoma remind him of Gascony in southwestern France, where he was raised and tended vines from an early age, while the land offers soils and climates reminiscent of Bordeaux, where he has made award-winning wines for decades.
Pierre first began working with Cabernet Franc and Merlot more than four decades ago at his family’s estate in Armagnac, later moving on to Château de Targé in the Saumur-Champigny AOC of the Loire Valley. And while Pierre enjoyed the Loire, Bordeaux beckoned, and he then spent two decades as Technical Director and Winemaker for seven Bordeaux châteaux in Lalande de Pomerol, St. Emilion, St. Estèphe, Haut-Médoc, Premières Côtes de Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur.
The 2011 vintage is Pierre’s fourteenth harvest at Vérité. Guided by his micro-cru philosophy — the conviction that wine should honor its vineyard soils with beautiful transparency — he applies his wealth of experience to create pure Sonoma expressions of traditional Bordeaux varieties. Since their first releases, critics have consistently placed Vérité wines among the finest selections from the most established Bordeaux chateaux.