Fritz Underground Winery
2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Dry Creek Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: On the Fritz
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: After a long hiatus, return to Fritz Underground Winery. Procure their 91-point 2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Fritz Underground Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Clayton Fritz
Backgrounder: We first discovered the Fritz Underground Winery in 2008. Back then, we were lucky to get our hands on an allotment of their spectacular wines. Good for them, but unfortunately for us, they consistently sold out of subsequent vintages. Through clever negotiation – and a fair amount of grovelling – we were able to sweet-talk them into giving us special access to their stellar 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, the best wine we have sampled from this extraordinary winery.
The Dry Creek Valley AVA in northeastern Sonoma (north of Healdsburg) county is somewhat warmer and wetter than the Russian River Valley AVA region just to the south and the Alexander Valley AVA just to the east. The warmer and wetter climate provides great versatility with regard to the types of grapes that can be effectively cultivated in the region. Cabernet Sauvignon thrives here.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look -Dark ruby red with evenly concentrated color, from heart to edge. When swirled, tightly spaced columns of skinny, wine-stained legs start high on the glass, and then streak downward.
Smell – Candied cherry, plump red raisin, black cherry, dried tobacco, dusty bramble and dried violets all work together in harmony. After some swirling, subtle spiced wood and sweet, dried herbs emerge.
Feel -Soft on entry. Then, almost immediately, the wine takes on a plus, medium-bodied feel. Supple tannins frame the dark fruit, while a balanced acidity helps to drive fruit flavors to the corners of the palate.
Taste -Black cherry, blackberry and spice lead the charge. As these tail off, slightly, they are joined by black currant, dried grape skin, tobacco, savory dried herbs and soft, sweet dark spice.
Finish – Very long and dynamic with red fruit and black fruit that yields to earthen flavors and spice.
Conclusion – Very well balanced for big, flavorful wine, there is both elegance and complexity to be enjoyed here. We have always really loved Clay Fritz’ wines. We were blessed, not only to be able to bring you his latest Cabernet Sauvignon, but to bring you one from the stellar 2007 vintage. Today’s wine is so good that this Agent will be picking up a case – to enjoy some now – and for the next few years. Pair this very flexible wine with lamb shank or a garlic rubbed t-bone. Be sure to save a few bottles for your Holiday festivities. Just don’t miss out on this fantastic wine.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Brad Longton
WINE EDUCATION: Self-Educated. Growing up in Perth, Australia, I became interested in wine while working at a wine retail store as a young adult. I originally started reading about winemaking so I could broaden my knowledge and increase my sales, but soon realized that I was drawn to winemaking as a career. Not soon after, I took a cellar job with Brown Brothers winery in Victoria, Australia and was quickly immersed in the production of Riesling, Chardonnay and Syrah.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: In an effort to expand my winemaking experience and exposure to other wine regions of the world, I traveled to Sonoma County in 2000 to work in the cellar at Murphy-Goode Winery and later at Clos du Bois. I returned to Australia in 2002 to take a position at Amberley Estates in Margaret River. However, in 2003, I moved back to California to take up a position at Heitz Cellars in the Napa Valley, before moving to Fritz Winery in 2005.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: My aim is to craft wines that exemplify the distinct attributes of the exceptional terroir that they come from.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Brad. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BRAD: Hi, Agent Red. It is great to be working with you, again!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BRAD: Growing up in Australia, I was inspired by wines that were being produced in my “backyard.”
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BRAD: I am influenced by a wine that is created with a minimalist approach.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
BRAD: I try to create wines that can be appreciated by a variety of consumers.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BRAD: Blended with a splash of Malbec, this wine opens up with classic Cabernet aromas of currants, black cherries and tobacco, with a hint of cola. The palate delivers flavors of blackberry, cassis and spices. The fruit for the 2007 Fritz Winery Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a vineyard that was planted in 1999. This vineyard is located on the eastern hillside midway down the Dry Creek Valley. The vineyard runs east west down the hillside and is planted to clones 337 and 7 in sandy, gravely soil.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BRAD: I would pair this wine with a bold dish that has a variety of flavors to enhance the strong fruit essences of this wine.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?
BRAD: The unique microclimate of the Dry Creek Valley is what makes this region so special.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BRAD: HARVEST! I have an excellent team that is working with me around the clock to create the wines that you will soon be enjoying.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BRAD: Have our wines with the company of good food and great friends. Our wines can be savored now or can be aged for years to come.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BRAD: Thank you for supporting Fritz Underground Winery! Cheers!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Fritz Underground Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
91 POINTS – Gregory Dal Piaz ""A bit of vanilla, chocolate and wood spice pop on the nose followed by lightly minty, sweetly herb touched notes of black olive and dried cherry with subtle earthy undertones. Really quite youthful in the mouth with a light medium full bodied feel that relies on supple tannins and well integrated acidity to support a core of fresh red fruit. There’s a nice wrap of toast and spice lending some complexity but this is really quite primary today. the balance is really quite fine giving this fairly big wine elegance and a certain finesse on the finish. Soft and supple today. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this tighten up and add some weight in the coming years. It gains some length and fine depth of fruit on the finish with just a bit of time already. Lovely effort."
About This Wine:
Blended with a splash of Malbec this wine opens up with classic Cabernet aromas of currents, black cherries and tobacco, with a hint of cola. The palate delivers flavors of blackberry, cassis and spices.
The Vineyard: Fruit for this wine is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1999. The vineyard is located on the eastern hillside half way down the Dry Creek Valley. The vineyard run east- west down the hillside and is planted to clones 337 and 7 in sandy, gravely soil.
About The Winery:
Pretend that you are far away in the Northern California wine country tucked away in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. High upon a hill nestled into the side of a hill is our subterranean winery. Jay and Barbara Fritz purchased this pristine property in 1970. After spending get away weekends from San Francisco at this rich Sonoma property for many years, the Fritz family decided to build a winery in 1979.
Today our credo is to approach winemaking as an art form. Art, in its truest sense, inspires a shift in consciousness. Our mission is to create wines of genuine artistry, capable of transforming the way we think about the potential of Sonoma County’s premier appellations.
The new generation of Fritz wines began with a commitment to unequivocal quality. Since 1996, changes at Fritz Winery have been swift and dramatic: Volume has been slashed by two-thirds to only 12,000 cases per vintage. New winemaking equipment is both esoteric and state-of-the-art. An underground cave ages all red wines. The vast majority of wines are vinified on native yeast. All white wines are currently single-vineyard designates, with red wines now in barrel soon to follow suit.
The result? Cognoscenti now rank Fritz wines among California’s top tier producers. Our limited edition wines now command a following among serious collectors. One hundred per cent of Fritz wines are sold on allocation. And the best is yet to come.
Keep in mind that our vineyards are our greatest asset. Like the most celebrated wines of France, our limited edition single-vineyard wines showcase the singular expression of each superb viticultural site.
From the perfect microclimate of the Dry Creek Valley, we produce Sauvignon Blanc, Old Vine Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since we have the best of both worlds, we also have property in the very cool growing region of the Russian River Valley where we produce world class single vineyard Chardonnays.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Harvest Date: September 2007.
Bottling Date: July 2008