2005 Dry Creek Valley Syrah
Syrah •Gravity Flow Block Bradford Mountain
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Fred and Jamie Show
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to stellar stand-by, Peterson Winery, in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. There, secure the remaining allocation of their Bradford Mountain Syrah.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Peterson Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Bradford Mountain Syrah – Dry Creek Valley – Bradford Mountain – Gravity Flow Block (whew!)
Winemaker: Jamie Peterson
Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley is a treasure trove of great wines. While The Wine Spies have been trying to keep from acquiring too many wines from the region when the wines are great, why not? Today’s selection is from the Bradford Mountain Vineyard which is located on the western edge of the DCV and its higher elevation and unique soil composition most influencing the grapes grown there. This co-fermented masterpiece Syrah also contains 8% Vioginier and 2% Petite Sirah – a classic Norther Rhone trick of the trade
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple with a deeper heart of even darker purple. There is clarity, throughout, if hold the wine up to the light. When you do hold it to the light, or swirl it, beautiful ruby edges shine brightly.
Smell – Dark and softly earthen, with gorgeous blueberry and blackberry up-front. After some swirling, a deep inhalation reveals kola nut, tobacco, leather, dark chocolate and black pepper.
Feel – Plush and soft on the attack, the the wine eases into a medium-bodied feel that coats the mouth. The wine spreads around the palate, starting at the center of the tongue and radiating outward.
Taste – Richly delicious with complex flavors that lead with in instant but fleeting burst of bright red cherry. This is quickly replaced with darker flavors of blackberry, cola, bramble, black cherry and love. Yes, I taste love in this wine!
Finish – Long and lingering with a solid structure that shows great fruit that gradually tails off, leaving behind a soft minerality and a hint of spice
Conclusion – Wow! There is an awful lot going on in this wine. Not only in its delicious flavors and bold aromas, but also in the way that it was crafted. Fred grows the grapes that go into a Peterson wine and his son, Jamie, makes the wine. Both father and son work as a team to create some of our very favorite California wines. Jamie, who has been working in the family winery since he was just 12 years old, shows off remarkable winemaking skills, especially for someone seemingly so young. This wine is a solid, delicious, wonderful and balanced treat that our tasting panel could not stop gushing about. If you love great Syrah, this wine is sure to please.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Jamie Peterson
DATE OF BIRTH: 03/20/1981
PLACE OF BIRTH: Saratoga, CA (Mt. Eden Vineyards)
WINE EDUCATION: Ongoing, on-the-job. UC Davis Extension chemistry/lab analysis/viticulture classes.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Grew up in Peterson Winery, helping with odd jobs in the winery and vineyard as a teenager. Worked first harvest at 19, and then traveled to Australia and New Zealand to work harvest in 2001. took over as Assistant Winemaker at Peterson Winery in 2002. Given full Winemaker responsibility in 2006.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Zero Manipulation”/Minimal intervention, letting the vineyard and vintage show through in each bottling. No fining, no filtration. Minimal new oak usage, minimal additions and SO2 use.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Dry Creek valley Zinfandel.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Jamie. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Syrah, Gravity Flow Block, today. I am insane-crazy about the wine!! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today. And, thanks for making such amazing wines!
JAMIE: Thank you for giving me the time.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
JAMIE: It’d be hard to pick one. Growing up with the sights, sounds, and smells of the winery and vineyards, there were many inspirational moments. But I didn’t think I’d be getting into the life of wine as deeply as I have until I worked harvests in 2001 in Australia and New Zealand. Seeing the international wine community and how it ties people together made me decide to come back to the family winery and join full time in 2002.
RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
JAMIE: From my father, growing up in the winery, and being able to learn on the job.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
JAMIE: I believe that vineyard and vintage driven wines are the only reason for small wineries to exist. I prefer wines from different vintages to reflect the growing season (otherwise why put the vintage on the bottle?) rather than use additives (acid, tannins, enzymes, gum arabic, overblown new oak) or technological processes (filtration, alcohol removal, micro-oxygenation) to create wines that taste the same each year. I don’t filter or fine our wines, and I predominantly use native yeast fermentations and malo-lactics, so we have to keep things clean and monitor closely, as we don’t choose to use the tools for fixing mistakes that some wineries do. We source from the same vineyards each year, so there is a thread of continuity running through vintages. Our vineyards are sustainably farmed, with a few certified organic, and a number of others dry-farmed.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
JAMIE: I’m inspired by European vintners who have made wines from the same places for generations, and haven’t succumbed to commercialism.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
JAMIE: 2002 was my first full year of working with wines from grape to bottle. 2000 was the first full harvest I worked with my father. At 28, I have 12 harvests under my belt (including working in both Australia and New Zealand in 2001).
RED: Who do you make wine for?
JAMIE: I make wines for my own tastes, and then we find enough people that share our ideas to buy it. We don’t submit our wines for scoring or competitions.
RED: Tell me, what makes Bradford Mountain so special?
JAMIE: We are above the fog line, and the vineyard is at a place where it gets the full brunt of the cooling winds from the coast. So we are getting the benefits of both more hours of sunlight and the acid-retaining and flavor developing cooler nights. This makes for a fully ripe but also very complex and balanced wine. The Bradford Mountain has a distinct soil, at least where our vineyards are. There is a large proportion of rock and clay, providing great drainage, and the vines really struggle to get the roots deeper into the red soil, making more mineral characteristics in the wine.
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
JAMIE: Realize that winemaking is both simple and complicated. It’s all just fermented grape juice, but it’s all about the details; every minute little thing you do or don’t do to the grapes or wine will affect how it turns out.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
JAMIE: We just finished bottling our 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, and will start on some of the 2008 red wines soon. I’m already looking ahead to the 2010 harvest, thinking about what grapes we will be getting this year beyond our estate fruit. I’m tasting through the barrels of the past two vintages, assessing the development in the wines, and deciding what new barrels to purchase this year.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
JAMIE: The Gravity Flow Block Syrah was the realization of a dream of my father’s to plant a Cote Rotie style Syrah/Viognier vineyard on our most rocky, exposed piece of land at the top of Bradford Mountain. We put the vines in the ground in 1999 and 2000, and got our first crop in 2003. Each year the wines show more and more depth as the vines roots get deeper into the rocky clay soil. The 2006 is a great vintage, showing the huge, rich qualities that the Syrah provides, but isn’t over the top, being balanced by the brightness the 8% Viognier brings. It was aged for nearly two years in barrel, and bottle unfined and unfiltered.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
JAMIE: I always like to open our Syrah whenever I or my father cook (ideally on the grill) lamb. A leg of lamb with garlic, herbs, and black pepper, and the smokiness from the grill, is the classic, but any type of lamb dish really brings out all the fruit and complexity of the Syrah, and the Syrah mountain tannins and fresh acidity help cut through the richness of the meat.
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
JAMIE: I like to go mushroom hunting (for chanterelles and porcini), even though as a teenager I accidently picked and ate Death Cap mushrooms.
RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
JAMIE: Zinfandel is the wine I seem to open the most often of our own, but I also drink a lot of Rhone wines, and wines from the Ventoux.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
JAMIE: So many people look for the “best” wine. I always ask them “best for what?” Every wine has a place and time for appreciating (unless it just is a wine that really sucks…), and it’s more important for people to figure out what types of wine they like, and why, than what others think is the best. Trust your own palate rather than what a critic or others say.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
JAMIE: Thanks for having me, and for appreciating and selling our wines!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Peterson Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
94 Points & Editor’s Choice – Wine Enthusiast – “A big, deeply flavored, extraordinarily ripe Syrah, brimming with blackberries, black currants, chocolate, licorice and black pepper, all of it enhanced with the sweet-smoky taste of oak. Impresses not only for its size, but for balance and finesse. Just terrific now, and should age well for six years or so.”
About This Wine:
Dense ripe blackberry and mineral-driven aromas mingle with a touch of rich leather. The full, opulent mouthfeel offers up a chewy middle with supple tannins on the edges. As the wine opens, the lush, multi-layered flavors appear and linger into the finish -juicy blackberry, espresso, black pepper, dark chocolate, subtle leather, cola, spicy oak and a core of minerality from the mountain terroir. Complex with plenty of finesse, this Syrah is an excellent cellar candidate, or can be thoroughly enjoyed now when decanted before serving.
Irresistible now, but guaranteed to develop further with a few more years of aging.
Bradford Mountain Vineyard – Planted in the 1980s on the western edge of Dry Creek Valley, our Bradford Mountain Estate Vineyard is 32 acres on the very top of the mountain (elevation 1000 feet). We took great pains to fnd the proper varietals and clones to plant in the mineral-rich mountain soil. The well-drained, red-clay soil, combined with sunny days and cool nights, produces small, intensely favored Cabernet grapes with a higher acidity and a lower pH than valley fruit.
About Peterson Winery:
We are located in the Dry Creek Valley, in the northwest region of Sonoma County. Peterson Winery’s new tasting room is now open for wine tasting and sales daily 11am-4:30pm. We often pour our wines at local tasting and charity events as well. Check for upcoming events on the News & Events page.
Our wines are also available for tasting at the “LOCALS” tasting room in Geyserville. See tastelocalwines.com for directions and details. Click on the “Find Us” link for a map to the winery and to LOCALS in Geyserville.
If you have any questions about Peterson Winery or our wines, send us an e-mail at email@example.com and we’ll respond as soon as we can.
We can’t tell our whole story here, but we hope that by looking at a few photos and reading a bit more about us, you’ll find out who we are and why we love to make great wines.
About The Winemaker:
Jamie Peterson – It’s not by coincidence that I’m the winemaker at Peterson Winery. I’ve been helping my father at the winery for the past ten years, back to the days of labeling the bottles by hand. I worked two harvests here at the winery, in 2000 and 2001, and the 2001 harvests Down Under in Australia at Lowe Family Winery, and then in New Zealand, at Ngatarawa Winery. With this solid base of experience, much to my excitement I was given the opportunity of taking over winemaking duties in June 2002, and have been loving it ever since.
Overseeing the quality of the wine from when the grapes come in all the way through to the bottle is my main responsibility and priority. Since it’s just my father and I, this keeps me pretty busy, but when I’m not checking up on barrels or wrestling with the bottling equipment, you can often find me at one the numerous tasting events we attend, whether it is for charity or for the love of wine. In my free time, I’ve started a Peterson Winery softball team with my friends here in Healdsburg. I also enjoy cooking, foraging for local culinary mushrooms, reading, and am a Giants baseball fan. Continuing winemaking tradition of Zero Manipulation.
Composition: 100% Dry Creek Valley, Bradford Mountain, Gravity Flow Block 92% Syrah, 8% Viognier
Harvest Date: October 2, 2005
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
Barrel Aging: 21 months
Type of Oak: 70% New French oak, 30% 1-4 yr-old French oak
Bottling Date: July 19, 2007
Production: 250 cases
Release Date: October 2009