Bartholomew Park Winery
2006 Estate Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: El Barto
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Bartholomew Park Winery in Sonoma, California. There procure their latest Estate Zinfandel for our Zin-loving Operativees
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bartholomew Park Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Estate Zinfandel
Winemaker: Keith Emerson
Associate Winemaker: Jessica Koga
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies have been featuring some incredible wines of late, but requests have been pouring in for a fantastic Sonoma Zinfandel. For today’s wine, we sent Agent Red to Sonoma County to discover the best example he could find. He landed at the gorgeous estate property of Bartholomew Park Winery. Read Red’s notes and his mission report below to find out more about today’s great Sonoma County Zin – from an old friend, winemaker Keith Emerson, of Gundlach Bundschu fame.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – This wine has a jewelled garnet color throughout, with a thin clear rim and medium fast legs
Smell – Black cherry, black raspberry, pomegranate, raisin and spice jump out of the glass. These are accompanied by more subtle notes of oak and brown spice.
Feel – Smooth and light up front, then it pops in the mouth with a bright acidity, juiciness and easy tannins.
Taste – Plump, juicy red and black fruits explode immediately on the palate, followed by the raisin, cinnamon and clove and faint peppery undertones.
Finish – Nicely balanced with acid and tannins in harmony, making for a very smooth finish, with the flavors of black cherry, blackberry and cinnamon lingering long after the last sip.
Conclusion – We Wine Spies have always been big fans of Keith Emerson’s winemaking, and todays wine is an interesting and flavorful compliment to his usually bolder style. This wine is a softer and somewhat lighter styled wine than we are used to from Keith, and we love the juxtaposition. With great balance of acid, tannins and fruit, this wine is a fresh, plump, easy drinking yet somewhat complex Zin. This wine would go beautifully with pork or lamb that are crusted with herbs or Moroccan spices.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Keith Emerson
WINE EDUCATION: University of California at Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Cakebread Cellars before joining Gundlach Bundschu. In 2004, worked a harvest at Palliser Estate in Martinborough, New Zealand
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “My goal as a winemaker is to tell the story of each vineyard site”
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
KEITH: The zinfandel from Bartholomew Park is grown on the site of the very first zinfandel vineyard in California. Back in 1856, Agoston Haraszthy planted the zinfandel when he founded Buena Vista, California’s oldest winery. Over 100 years later, Frank Bartholomew sold the original Buena Vista winery but kept the original vineyard and property for his home, and that is the estate vineyard at Bartholomew Park today. The vineyard was completely replanted in 1997, and received CCOF organic certification in 2005.
The site is relatively cool with well-drained soils, which give us zinfandel that is distinctively elegant. It has deep, rich color, aromas and flavors of dark red cherry and wild raspberry with smooth tannins and lots of cocoa and berry on the finish. It is balanced and medium weight, so this isn’t a blockbuster style zin, it can actually pair with more subtle flavors than you might think of for zin.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KEITH: Grilled pork loin, with some kind of fruit compote, like cherry or plum.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Bartholomew Parke vineyards so special?
KEITH: This specific spot is incredibly special, not only for the legacy of being site of the first vinifera vineyard in CA, but for the legacy of great wines that have been grown on this spot. Today, the vineyard is meticulously hand farmed and the wines hand made to showcase the unique character of the spot.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
KEITH: Bartholomew Park is like a little local secret gem. Since the wines are only available at the winery, not many people outside Sonoma even know that it is here, but ask a local where they like to take friends and guests and they will likely tell you Bartholomew Park. The property is breathtaking, the visit offers a fascinating look at the history of wine and culture in our valley, and of course the wines are very special. The zinfandel is our primary focus, at 1400 cases it is still quite limited, but the whole winery only produces 3,000 – 5,000 total cases each year. So hopefully once your spies have discovered a few bottles, they’ll seek out our little hideout in Sonoma and pay us a visit.
RED: I love the site, Keith. Very peaceful, and the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine after a covert mission. Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Gundlach-Bundschu winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
A smooth, full-bodied Zinfandel with juicy raspberry and vanilla flavors. Deep color and rich aromas of white pepper, dusty cocoa and coffee lead to a smooth, full-bodied Zinfandel with juicy raspberry and vanilla flavors that linger through a lush, chewy finish.
Vineyard Notes: The seven acres of head trained Zinfandel vines are planted on the Haraszthy block, on the site where Agoston Haraszthy first planted Zinfandel nearly 150 years ago. The unique setting of this vineyard, tucked up against Arroyo Seco, enjoys, warm temperatures, constant breezes and excellent drainage typical of higher elevation sites.
About The Winery:
Nestled on a historic, organically-farmed estate just a few blocks east of Sonoma’s plaza is Bartholomew Park Winery.
We hand-craft boutique quantities of single-vineyard wines offered exclusively in our tasting room and website.
Founded in 1994 with a vision to produce handcrafted, site-specific wines, Bartholomew Park’s 37-acre Estate Vineyard is located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain range in Sonoma Valley. The unique setting of this vineyard, tucked up against Arroyo Seco, enjoys, warm temperatures, constant breezes and excellent drainage typical of higher elevation sites.
This treasure trove of an estate vineyard has been completely replanted in recent years, is farmed organically, and received organic certification in 2005. Bartholomew Park Winery works closely with Vineyard Manager Phil Coturri to ensure that handwork in the vineyard and in the cellar translates to a faithful expression of this ancient alpine range and its historic vineyard site.
These wines are sold exclusively through our tasting room and wine club.
First planted in the 1830s, Hungarian nobleman Agoston Haraszthy purchased the property in 1857 and christened it “Buena Vista.” Many consider his first vintage the birth of the California wine industry. More of a visionary than businessman, however, Count Haraszthy was forced from the property for financial reasons in 1867. The land changed hands several times before being sold to Frank Bartholomew, the pioneer journalist and president of United Press International, in the early 1940s.
Frank and his wife Antonia Bartholomew resumed growing grapes and making wine on the property, resurrecting the Buena Vista label. Their first vintage in 1947 signaled the beginning of a fruitful 20-year “hobby.” In 1968, after years of success, they sold the brand name and the original 15-acre winery site, keeping more than 400 acres and the estate vineyards for themselves. The Bartholomews devoted their sunset years to their passion for the wines and history of their property, even creating an exact replica of Count Haraszthy’s villa. Upon their passing, a foundation was set up to keep the property wine and vineyard related in perpetuity.
The current Bartholomew Park Winery was founded in 1994, with a vision to produce handcrafted wines reflective of the grand history and unique character of this estate. Though the winery is relatively young, the Bundschu family has been growing grapes and making wine on their nearby Rhinefarm Estate since 1858, and embraced the opportunity to honor and advance the tradition of this site. The historic winery building and gardens have been fully renovated, and the 37-acre estate vineyard completely replanted, and Bartholomew Park Winery has embarked upon a mission to produce vineyard-specific wines which are among the finest in North America.
Ageing: American oak barrels, 37% new, for 17 months.
Wine Type: Bold Red Wine
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Harvest Date: September 2005
Production: 832 cases produced
Aging: Up to 7 years