Raymond Burr Vineyards
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
California: Sonoma County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Once again, our good friends at Raymond Burr Vineyards deliver the goods. Today’s wine is well worthy of this special alert, which we issue whenever we come across a really exceptional wine.
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Mission Codename: The Orchid
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Send Agent Red back to Raymond Burr winery, to retrieve their stellar 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon – before any other wine trading organization gets their hands on it!
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Raymond Burr Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Phyllis Zouzounis
Backgrounder: Our Operatives are huge fans of Raymond Burr wines. We have had the great fortune to have featured several successive vintages of their flagship wine, their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Where prior vintages have been Cab blends, today’s wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Where previous vintages have impressed us, today’s wine blows us away!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark cherry-red with clarity through its slightly darker heart. The wine holds its color, right out the the very edge of the glass, where a fine line of pink lines the rim.
Smell – Fragrant and lush, with an initial rush of red flowers. This is followed by black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, dusty bramble, semi-sweet chocolate and soft cinnamon.
Feel – Smooth and light-weight on entry, then a soft and easy dryness slowly emerges, drying the cheeks, lips and mid-palate with a tasty mineral-fruitiness.
Taste -Delicious red and black fruit, leading with prominent earthy cherry, blackberry and dusky blueberry. After the dryness is introduced, additional flavors of slate, cassis and raspberry emerge, followed by evolving chocolate and soft cinnamon.
Finish -As noted in the Feel and Taste sections, above, this wine absolutely and deliciously evolves on the palate. The wine starts fruity and flavor-filled, then additional flavors emerge, along with minerals and spice, leading to a long, slow and dynamic finish
Conclusion – In a word, Delightful!. Ready to drink, right now, I can’t help but marvel at how great the wine will drink over the next several years. Our tasting panel was very impressed with this wine, even though we had already-high expectations. We loved the aromatics and flavors, and had a great time with the dynamic progression that the wine presented on the palate. The fact that the flavors and the feel evolved while the wine was in our mouths – and after – was a fun addition to an already terrific wine. Enjoy now, or cellar for several more years.
Now that we are great friends with the folks at Raymond Burr Vineyards, additional surveillance or infiltration is not necessary. Now that they have been recruited into The Wine Spies Network, we can just return to them to ask for wine.
No new mission report today, so please read below for a recap of our initial mission to Raymond Burr Vineyards.
Please note that we enjoyed today’s featured Cabernet Sauvignon even more than the Cabernet Franc that we mention below:
Prior Mission Recap:
Ask anyone to describe Raymond Burr in a single word and, resoundingly, you will likely hear, Classy.
The veteran actor, for whom today’s winery was honorarily named, was also a cultivator of orchids, a war hero, a philanthropist and more. Most of all, he was cherished and loved by his close friends, who say that his warmth, humor and compassion made him a remarkable man.
When I was given the mission – finally – to seek out a new Cabernet Franc, I riffled through my mental Rolodex and recalled hearing great things about a Cab Franc from Raymond Burr Winery. In fact, it was in the most unusual way that I had come to hear of the wine in the first place.
On returning from a mission to Latin America, our flight got in to Miami too late to make our connecting flight back to California. the airline put us up in a swanky hotel and the next morning we found ourselves in a shuttle back to the Airport. I struck up a conversation with a young couple who were also on our inbound flight and, as always, I steered the conversation toward wine. We compared tastes in varietals and found that Cab Franc wines were among our very favorites. We traded recommendations and they assured me that Raymond Burr had a wine that I would be sure to love.
Now that I was finally assigned a Cab Franc mission I knew just where to go, so I called proprietor and long time companion to Mr. Burr, Robert Benevides. I used the direct approach and told him that I was very interested in sampling his wine and, if they passed the test, feature his Cabernet Franc here for our Operatives to enjoy.
I enjoyed this exceptional wine more with each sip. With enough time to stretch out in the air, the wine really opens up and loses the rough edges present on opening. For best results, decant the wine for a few hours – and enjoy at cellar temperature.
Aromas, flavors, acid and mouth-feel are all in harmony here and the finish is really very unique. If you love great Cabernet Franc, look no further Operative, its right here.
Finally, I remember hearing a story about Mr. Burr that sums up his life and his wines: While working with Errol Flynn, Flynn told Mr. Burr that if he died with ten dollars in his pocket he hadn’t done a good job. This inspired Mr. Burr to always share his wealth with all. His legacy lives on in today’s wine from Mr. Burr’s namesake winery.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Raymond Burr Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
“Rich fruit flavors with velvety texture. Beautiful nose of blackberry and cassis. A touch of black cherry, with nuances of chocolate and blueberry. Concentrated fruit with a hint of dusty, earthy overtones from the Dry Creek Valley Terroir. Good structure, nice tannins, log finish.” – Winemaker, Phyllis Zouzounis
About The Winery:
Twelve years ago, Raymond Burr and I walked the rolling bench of Dry Creek Valley, the manzanita-covered foot of Bradford Mountain. Our dream took shape with the first plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1986, and now comes to fruition with this brilliantly-complex wine. Only 1,040 cases were produced which have rested for 18 months in oak barrels before being bottled in November of 1992. I release this vintage in tribute to his vision and impeccable taste.
Thus, the back label of the 1990 Raymond Burr Cabernet Sauvignon the premier vintage of this vineyard.
Raymond Burr and Robert Benevides had met, as professional actors, in the middle 1950s on the television program which was to make a legend of Burr, “Perry Mason.” Motivated in the beginning by friendship, the Burr/Benevides relationship was bolstered and advanced by their individual interest in, and knowledge of, the cultivation and hybridization of orchids. In the next several years this shared hobby began to grow until the obvious resolution was to make it a commercial venture. And so, Sea God Nurseries was born, becoming in the 20-odd years of its life an international presence with ranges in Fiji, Hawaii, the Azores Islands and in Southern California. During this period, the partnership was responsible for over 1,500 new orchids added to the world-wide catalogue.
Phyllis Zouzounis – Pioneer woman winemaker, Phyllis Zouzounis came to Raymond Burr Vineyards at the beginning of the 2006 grape harvest. The terraced hillside, along with the soil and temperatures of the Raymond Burr benchland estate enticed Phyllis to this special spot.
Phyllis is not new to the Dry Creek Valley. She began her winemaking career working at Dry Creek Vineyard in 1980. After 15 years of experience there she moved on as winemaker and general manager of another Dry Creek winery just down the road, Mazzocco Vineyards. In 1987 Phyllis and her partner, Jim Penpraze, started their own Dry Creek winery, Deux Amis, making award winning Zinfandels.
Zouzounis believes grapes grown in the Dry Creek Valley can produce high quality wines. The 100% estate grown vineyards at Raymond Burr offer her the challenge to produce great Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and rich, fruity Chardonnay. “Great wine starts in the vineyard with quality grapes. The Raymond Burr vineyard is a good example of this,” she will tell you. “Because it is an estate vineyard winery, this allows Raymond Burr Vineyards to create and preserve the quality in the vineyard first and then follow through to the finished wine.”
Phyllis Zouzounis is a great believer in balance. “My focus is balance. Balance of the vine, balance of the fruit and balance in the wine.”
Winemaker: Phyllis Zouzounis
Appellation: 100% Dry Creek Vallley
Vineyard: This single vineyard wine from Raymond Burr estate vines
Varietal blend: 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Barrel Aging: 22 months in American Oak
Harvested: October 15, 2007
Brix at harvest: 24.6
Bottled: September 22, 2009
Alcohol: 13.4% by volume