The Traditions of France and the Soils of Sonoma Combine to Create Exquisite Wines.
Surrounded by views of mountains and grapevines, the stunning Vérité Estate is the perfect setting for a memorable tasting
Located in Healdsburg, this winery welcomes visitors into an elegant living room, beautifully furnished with bespoke chandeliers, soft carpet, and a grand fireplace. It’s the perfect setting for a tasting of their impressive wines.
The Wines of Vérité
The winery’s three distinctive blends are named La Muse, La Joie, and Le Désir. La Muse is an elegant Merlot-based blend. La Joie is more powerful, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, and Le Désir is based on Cabernet Franc.
The 2019 vintage, according to Vigneron, Pierre Seillan, “display purity and focus, reflecting their Sonoma terroir, vintage characteristics, and individual signatures.”
The 2019 La Muse, composed of 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec is described as offering “opulent fruit aromas of candied red and black cherry, and wild fresh blackberry, with perfumed notes of dried potpourri, dried rosemary, and essences of sandalwood, toasted cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove from French oak aging.”
The palate perfectly mirrors the nose in this well-balanced wine, Seillan comments in his description of the vintage.
La Joie of the same vintage is 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. This rich blend highlights the Cabernet grapes grown on the hillsides of the Mayacamas Mountains.
Complex and well-balanced, the wine offers fresh and vibrant fruit aromatics of black currant and black plum compote, “joined by elements of fresh cut greenery, subtle pine resin, iodine, and roasted baking spices,” as described by Seillan.
The 2019 Le Désir is composed of 83% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 5% Malbec, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wine is described by the winery as being “beautifully characteristic of Cabernet Franc” with aromatics “showing fresh rose petal perfume, fresh cherry blossom, California bay laurel, crushed pomegranate, blackberry coulis, and well-integrated French oak aromas of ground cinnamon and brown buttered toast.”
Tasting the Wines at Vérité Estate
My husband and I visited Vérité in mid-March during a lovely stay at the nearby Montage Healdsburg. The Estate building blends naturally with the surrounding vineyards, and a bronze sculpture adorns the entrance. We were greeted with a flute of champagne and a view of a light-filled room with soaring beamed ceilings and stylish blend of contemporary and traditional furnishings in warm, neutral tones.
There, we saw a long table under an arched ceiling with a metal-worked lighting fixture, the ideal setting for a group dinner or tasting. A smaller, intimate room featured a round table and chairs covered in a rich, printed fabric.
The wine vault, entered through arched glass doors, is stocked with rows of bottles displayed simply in sections of pale wood shelves. Once back on the main level, we viewed the massive barrel room below, with neat rows of barrels under an arched ceiling.
We tasted the 2019 vintage La Muse, La Joie, and Le Désir along with a special fourth wine, the 2013 La Joie. All were exquisite and distinctive.
“The 2013 La Joie is one of the top five vintages of Vérité.”
Vigneron, Pierre Seillan
An appealing assortment of paté, cheese, and crackers complemented the wines. We took our time, appreciating the aroma, taste, and appearance of the wines. We also had the surprise pleasure of an informal introduction to Hélène Seillan, assistant winemaker and daughter of Verité’s Vigneron, Pierre Seillan, as we were viewing the barrel room.
Visiting the Vérité Estate
A variety of tastings are available by appointment with several options. The top experience is the “Library Wine and Food Pairing,” a three-course, six wine experience featuring Verité’s three blends individually showcased by comparing two different vintages. Seasonal dishes are prepared by the winery’s in-house chef. ($450 per person, minimum of two guests)
The “Estate Tasting” includes the three current vintage Vérité wines and one library vintage along with a selection of French-inspired accoutrements. The 90-minute experience is available for up to six guests at $200 per person.
The “Library Comparison Tasting” explores the longevity of Vérité by featuring three current vintage Vérité wines alongside three library vintages. A selection of French-inspired accoutrements is included. ($350 per person, minimum of two guests)
The History of Vérité
The story of Vérité began with a friendship that dates back to France in the 1990s.
Jess Jackson (1930-2011), founder of the family-owned Kendall-Jackson Winery met Pierre Seillan during a trip to Bordeaux. Seillan’s passion for crafting wines from diverse terroirs led him to recognize the potential of Sonoma’s vineyards when he visited Jackson in California in 1997.
Working together, they created Vérité, fulfilling Jackson’s wish to create a wine that would compete with the world’s best.
Pierre Seillan, as Vigneron, continues to produce world class wines for Vérité, as he has since 1998. His five decades of experience in crafting wines from diverse terroirs turned out to be the perfect background for both recognizing and working with the distinctive soils of Sonoma County.
“I am a servant of the soil. My job is to listen and convey the unfettered voice of the terroir.”
Vigneron, Pierre Seillan
One wall in the beautiful new Vérité Estate is devoted to a display of different soils from throughout the region—ranging from rocky to sandy and from gray to rust in color—beautifully illustrating Seillan’s belief in the variations of terroir.
Vérité’s wines come from vineyards in the Bennett Valley, Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, and Knights Valley appellations.
Seillan’s daughter, Hélène Seillan, as the assistant winemaker at Vérité, is working under his leadership. Hélène studied Viticulture and Oenology at the Institut Rural de Vayres in Bordeaux, pursuing her winemaking career in both Sonoma County and Saint-Émilion. Starting in 2006, she worked as assistant winemaker for her father at the family’s Bordeaux estate, learning all aspects of winery management.
A tasting at Vérité Estate is an experience to be savored, and wine lovers will appreciate the ambiance as well as the wines and the stories of how Vérité came to be. Plan on spending an hour and a half to two hours of leisurely sipping, delightful conversation, and stunning wines.