I know that there has been a big demand for information on this winery so my wife and I visited it last weekend with some friends of ours who live up North. We went up to Madison, Wisconsin for the Wisconsin/Northwestern football game and had some extra time on Sunday.
This winery was started by Count Agoston Harszathy in the 1840's before he moved out to Sonoma and became known as the "founder of the California wine industry". Count Harszathy founded the winery now known as Buena Vista. Wollersheim is a very picturesque and beautifully landscaped winery. It is set among the rolling hills just Northwest of Madison near the Wisconsin river. The drive out (especially during the Fall color change) and tour of the grounds (they have a picnic area for your use) is worth the drive. The wines; however, are not worth the trip.
The estates 23 acres are planted mostly with Marshall Foch and the buy what appears to be some generic quality grapes from Washington. In a move I do not understand, they also bring in some Riesling from New York. The winemaker, Philippe Coquard, hails from the Beaujolais region of France. The one redeeming quality of the wines sold at this estate is that wines from the winemakers Uncle in Beaujolais and Brother in Lombardy are sold here. My notes:
2002 Chardonnay- Made from Washington grapes and one of the better wines here. Dry with simple oak, pear and vanilla notes. 82 points.
NV Dry Riesling- NY fruit. A little skunky on the nose. Very grapey but not unpleasant. 78-79 points.
2003 Prairie Fume- made from Seyval Blanc from NY. Rather tart with citrus notes. Flat finish. 76 points.
NV White Riesling- A German type nose. On the sweet side but unbalanced and lacking acidity. 74-75 points.
NV Blushing Rose- This one surprised me. It was soft and semisweet with notes of light red fruit. 79-80 points.
2003 Domaine du Sac- Estate grown Marshall Foch. Need I say more. 74 points.
2003 Pinot Noir- Made from purchased fruit but the tour guide did not know where it was from. Bitter red fruit. Medium bodied with some spice notes. 80 points.
2003 Mazzolino Oltrepo Pavese Bonardo- This wine is made in Lombardy, Italy from the Bonardo grape. Very fruity with a dry finish. Notes of cherry and almond. 83 points.
2003 Coquard Beaujolais Domaine de la Terriere- The best wine I tried and the only one I bought. A candied cherry aroma. On the rich side for a Beaujolais with floral notes. 87-88 points.
NV River Gold- This was the best estate wine poured. Sweet but not quite a dessert wine although they bill it as such. Notes of apples, carmel and apricot. 83 points.