Mutt Lynch Winery
2007 Canis Major Zinfandel, Perotti Vineyard
Zinfandel •Perotti Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: The Dog Star
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Mutt Lynch Winery, and secure an allocation of their premium label Canis Major Zinfandel for our Dry Creek Valley Zin-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Mutt Lynch Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Canis Major Perotti Vineyard Zinfandel
Winemaker: Chris Lynch
The lush Dry Creek Valley, in Sonoma County, is home to some of our most favorite wineries. A still and beautiful place the Dry Creek Valley is fertile, lush and abundant with vineyards that produce an astonishing range of wines. From creek-side low-lying vineyards to those at higher elevations, the variety of flavors and styles – even among a particular varietal – is astounding.
Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski_. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, which are characterized by their big, extracted flavors, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep purple, with an inky heart that, when held up to the light, actually shows as perfectly transparent. At the rim of the wine, a thin band of light plum shimmers alluringly. When the wine settles after swirling, thin legs streak the glass.
Smell – Bright and fruity, this wine exudes blueberry jam and blackberries. These are joined by raspberry, vanilla, oak and soft spice.
Feel – Round and wet, easy on the attack, then a soft grippiness eases its way across the palate, starting at the tip of the tongue and spreading its way around the mouth.
Taste – Balanced black and red fruit, with pronounced blackberry and red cherry. These intermingle easily with black plum, cranberry, black cherry, dark chocolate, black pepper and soft oak.
Finish – Bright and refreshing, at first. Then, a smoldering smokiness meshes with the dark fruits as flavors tail off slowly.
Conclusion – This is a very impressive wine – at a great price. To find a single vineyard Zinfandel of this quality was a real coup for us. Very easy drinking and very well-balanced, this is a terrific Zinfandel for solo sipping or paring with a great meal. The acid profile lends the wine to very flexible pairing. If you have never experienced a Mutt Lynch wine before, this is the one to try! We give the wine 5 Woofs.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Mutt Lynch Winery Winemaker Brenda Lynch
WINE EDUCATION: Hard Work. Vintages at numerous RRV artisan wineries and a vintage in Argentina. Full-time Mutt Lynch starting in 1998.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker/owner of Mutt Lynch Winery.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: A traditionalist. I believe in minimal manipulation during fermentation and aging to let the fruit be the hero.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Focus on the vineyard to get ripe, true varietal character at harvest. And don’t “F” it up in the winery.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1995 vintage released in 1998.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Chris. We are thrilled to be showing your Canis Major Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
CHRIS: No worries.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: In 1986, a bum knee ended my volleyball years and prompted a job hunt. E & J Gallo was hiring and I applied. I discovered my love of nature and comfort with the production work of our family ranch were natural leads into the rhythms and physical work requirements of winemaking. What started as “just a job” turned into a life-long passion – winemaking.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
CHRIS: In 1994, I started to work in the cellars of some very talented winemakers in Northern California – Daniel Moore (Lynmar Winery in Russian River Valley), Dan Goldfield (Hartford Court Winery) and Zelma Long (Long Vineyards in Napa Valley). It was the combination of these experiences and interactions formed my fundamental winemaking belief – that wines are made in the vineyard.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
CHRIS: Definitely not wine reviewers. I make wines that I imagine my customers will like to drink… that taste really, really good.
RED: That’s the right answer! Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
CHRIS: The first wine I produced way back when was a DCV Zinfandel. A wine style that my husband and I love to drink. In 1997, we started to get some beautiful Zinfandel fruit from a father/son grower team Ed and Bruce Perotti. And we’ve been producing this wine ever since. The 2007 Canis Major Zinfandel, Perotti Vineyard, DCV is the 11th year of producing this wine. As Zinfandel goes, I like to think it has some elegance. Winemaking is very hands-on. Open top fermentation, hand punchdowns, only free-run juice into 100% French oak barrels, minimal handling in the cellar. Only the best barrels included in the blend. You get the picture. 271 cases produced… that’s it.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
CHRIS: Buster’s ribs. We live in Calistoga and our local rib joint has great slow cooked, dry rubbed ribs. No heavy or sweet bbq sauce, just good pork ribs with a nice open flame, smoky character.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?
CHRIS: Dry Creek Valley is god’s country for full flavored reds. It gets all the evening breezes and fogs that keep nighttime temps cool, but enough afternoon heat to ripen Zinfandel and other reds. Plus, there are wonderful, humble growers like the Perotti’s that make purchasing grapes a rewarding experience. No massive ego’s to deal with, just good growers of grapes willing to listen to me.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
CHRIS: I’m getting ready for our next bottling, so mega barrel work to finish up the wines and put final blends together. Wish me luck.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
CHRIS: Leave your ego at the door. Wine is meant to enjoy, with food, with friends, with your dogs!!
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
CHRIS: Bark Less, Wag More!!
RED: 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!
What the Winery Says
The Spy Dog fully approves of this delicious selection.
About This Wine:
Aromas of deep, ripe berry fruit in the nose – definitely dark fruits with this vintage. Chocolate, vanilla and spice notes from the Francois Freres oak barrels add some nice complexity to the nose and entry. The wine has excellent balance in flavors and mouth-feel, with nice chewy tannins in the full, rich finish. 271 cases produced.
The Greater Dog: The constellation “Canis Major” is famous the world over for its sparkling beauty. Resembling a large dog, it is known as “The Greater Dog”. Canis Major seemed a fitting name for our reserve wines.
Perotti Vineyard: We have sourced our Zinfandel from Ed and Bruce Perotti (father and son) since 1997. For us, this is quite a long time. For Ed, it is barely a blip on the screen. Walking the vineyard with this father and son team, one feels the history. The land has been in family for over 90 years. Ed’s grandfather “Mancini” came from Italy and settled into the Northern Sonoma area to raise fruits and grapes, selling them to other Italian immigrants in the North Beach community in San Francisco. Passing from father to son, Ed took over in the mid 1960’s and Bruce has taken charge of farming in recent years. The cycle continues.
Brenda’s Wine: Brenda affectionately calls 2007 her “fog” vintage. Not because of an abnormal weather pattern that influenced the grapes. Rather, her winemaking memories for the year are a bit “foggy” due to the birth of her twins Katie and Porter on August 16. By all recollections, no matter how “foggy” her memories are, Brenda’s winemaking focused on gentle handling and the right choice of oak. Brenda’s oak regime was 100% French, with approximately 40% new Francois Freres barrels. The combination of Perotti fruit and Francois Freres French oak has become a “signature” for Brenda’s Zinfandel. The wine spent 19 months in barrel before its June bottling.
About The Winery:
Brenda, Chris, Katie & Porter. And their dog Patch. – The California wine business brought us together. A chance meeting over 20 years ago and love at first site. It’s been a wonderful ride ever since. Mutt Lynch Winery was born in 1995 combining our mutual passion for wine and “all things dog.”
Our motto: Apply Dog Logic to Life: Eat Well, Be Loved, Get Petted, Sleep Alot, Dream of a Leash-Free World. – Sark
Natural evolution has carved out our roles. Chris dreamed of owning his own winery and started as winemaker – books, courses, not one ounce of natural production sense. Brenda started by helping her “hubbie”, quickly assessed the situation and took over – no books, no courses, but a natural sense of “what to do” in the cellar. Wine quality has been outstanding ever since! Brenda let’s Chris work at the winery, but only under close supervision.
The Addition of Twins – The recent addition of twins Katie and Porter days before the 2007 harvest has added a wonderful layer of chaos to our lives. Our household has always been full of animals – cats and dogs – our children we would say. Now we have the “real deal”… times two!.
We call 2007 our “fog” vintage. Not because of any unusual weather pattern in the vineyards; rather our memories of the winemaking (and life in general!) are quite foggy due to the birth of Katie and Porter on August 16. 12 days after birth, Brenda had our twins at the winery as our Zinfandel grapes came in.
Two years on, the kids love to help “Mommy” at the winery. Porter in particular. His favorite word is “up”, which means he wants to ride the forklift with Brenda as she pulls her barrels down from their racks.
And Patch Our Dog – The winery dog. Well sort of. Patch’s idea of helping out at the winery looks suspiciously like his activities at the house – find the most comfortable place available, lie down, fall asleep, move only if forced to do so. Forklifts and picking bins seem to be in “his” way, not vice-versa.
To his credit, Patch is a rescue ex-racing Greyhound from New Zealand who had a stellar career down-under. He was the king of his kennel so to speak, and thinks he still should be! His racing these days is limited to chasing squirrels and cats, when he’s not sleeping of course.
Each year we think about updating Patch’s photos on our webpage. And each year we take a new round of pictures. And each year they look the same. Go figure.
Sub-Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Oak: 100% French Oak
Varietal: 100% Zinfandel