Maxem - Pinot Noir - UV Vineyard label
Maxem - Pinot Noir - UV Vineyard bottle

Maxem - Pinot Noir - UV Vineyard 2021

Red Wine

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Item# 72426-21


In Latin, MAXEM has the distinction of meaning “best of the best.” It also combines the names of the owner’s two children, Max and Emma. With the iconic Ulises Valdez Vineyard as their source on the Sonoma Coast, Sam and Nancy Kaplan make Pinot Noir from the historical Calera clone and Chardonnay from the equally acclaimed Wente clone. Sam is a highly regarded winemaker; Nancy a professional chef with her laser palate, has an equal say. MAXEM wines represent some on the most exciting wines produced in California today and have received rave reviews from the wine industries top journalists.

Sam has been making noteworthy and collectible Cabernets for his clients, Arkenstone on Howell Mountain, Nine Suns on Pritchard Hill, and Memento Mori in Napa with the help from renowned grape grower Andy Beckstoffer, all of which are ultra-premium brands made with meticulous care from pristinely farmed vineyards.

Tasting notes

Maxem is a single vineyard Pinot Noir from the celebrated Ulises Valdez Vineyard using the historical Calera clone. Energetic aromas of pomegranate, wild blueberries, rhubarb, bergamot, blood orange and Earl Gray tea lead into a tension-filled palate of crunchy red berries, wet stone, river rock and dried purple flowers delivering a liquid wonderland for the senses. Harnessed by the cool climate of the terroir, the fruit’s natural acidity sits on the finish for what seems like days, all wrapped in a luscious texture that defies logic and will have your palate swooning with delight. Aged in 60% new French oak, this wine perfectly bridges the gap between seduction and sophistication, showcasing the balanced beauty that can only come from the marriage of superlative fruit and the perfect site. 100% Pinot Noir, only 250 produced.


Ulises Valdez manages the UV Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast, a site well-known to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fanatics. Sam tasted wines from this vineyard several times, and knew it was a longshot, but decided to see if they could purchase some of its fruit. The site wasn’t the only thing attractive about UV, although its coastal location, well-drained soils, and meticulous farming protocol are precisely what Sam & Nancy sought.

It was Ulises himself - an immigrant who worked for others for decades before striking out on his own - who drew them to this place. His story, his struggle, resonated with the Kaplan’s; after spending a lot of time in other vineyards, this was the one that felt right. When Sam met Ulises over lunch, the first thing he said was that he had no fruit to sell. But as the meal progressed, Sam and Ulises swapped life stories, and even a few tears. A bond was formed, and by the end of the afternoon, Ulises said... “I may have a little fruit for you, mi amigo.” Sadly, Ulises unexpectedly passed away in 2018 at 49 years of age. This has given Sam an even more passion for this project and to carry on Ulises’ dream with the help of his children.