Peterson Winery

2007 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel Tradizionale

Zinfandel •West Vineyard & Bernier “Zinyard”

California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley

Offer Expired:Sep 28, 2010 at 11:59 pm
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What We Say


Today’s selection from Peterson Winery is a fantastic and delicious Old World, field-blended Zinfandel, well worthy of your consideration


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Mission Codename: The Return of the Traditional

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Peterson Winery, in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, and secure a wine before its general release to the public

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Peterson Winery

Wine Subject: 2007 Zinfandel Tradizionale

Winemakers: Jamie Peterson

Backgrounder: Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley is a treasure trove of great wines. Arguably, the region is best known for producing some of the finest Zinfandel in the country. For today’s wine Agent Red returned to Peterson Winery, a Wine Spies favorite, and visited with Jamie Peterson, second generation winemaker and son of Fred Peterson, the founder and winegrower for the winery. Read about Agent Reds visit with Jamie, following his tasting notes and mission report below.

Varietal Backgrounder: 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 Zinfandels, which are characterized by their balance and juiciness, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Striking dark fuchsia hues with a deeper core of dark garnet. Swirl the wine and hold it to the light to observe this unique color. When the wine settles, a rapid cascade of branching tears rush down the glass.

Smell – Aromatic blackberry, black cherry, licorice and soft fresh herbs lead the way. These give way to chocolate, spice and soft oak.

Feel – A softly dry entry gives way to an expanding full middle palate plushness. Spice, dark fruit and an easily minerality sustain through the long finish.

Taste – Dark mixed berries and red raspberry jam with juicy flavors of tart cherry, black cherry, blueberry and red plum. These lead to subtle flavors of oak, dark cocoa and softly smoky cranberry.

Finish – Long and elegant, leading with bright red fruit and continuing on as darker fruit, spice and minerals dwindle slowly, ultimately leading to a soft black pepper minerality

Conclusion – I am crazy about Peterson wines, and working with them every year gives The Wine Spies a delicious opportunity to showcase successive vintages. I was really enamored with the 2006 vintage of this wine, and I like the 2007 even more! With bold but balanced fruit, this wine is a delicious treat that I could simply sip all on its own. It is a perfect food companion, though, as it has a acid profile that makes it an easy and flexible wine for most foods. The wine is made using Old World techniques including in-the-field blending of Zin grapes that are then co-fermented in the same barrels – rather than blended after the fact. This technique requires not only great courage, but also a tremendous amount of talent. Fred and Jamie bring it with this wine, and deliver another spectacular Tradizionale Zinfandel! As I mentioned, enjoy this wine all by itself, or pair it with Petrson’s recommended range of foods, from Beef Wellington to pepperoni pizza

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Jamie Peterson

DATE OF BIRTH: March 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.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”If it ain’t got the root, it ain’t got the fruit.”

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2002 Vintage, released in 2004


AGENT RED: Greetings, Jamie. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Shinbone, today. We love the wine!! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today. And, thanks for making such amazing wines!

JAMIE: As always, it’s great to be back with The Wine Spies.

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.

*WHITE *: 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 the Dry Creek Valley so special?

JAMIE: The Dry Creek Valley features and amazing array of soil types and exposures for such a geographically small area, leading to a diverse range of flavors and subtleties in wines, even of the same varietal. This is why we make multiple single-vineyard Zinfandels, and it also helps us make varietal wines with complex flavors from blending from different parts of the valley, such as our Petite Sirah.

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: Harvest! We’re bringing in grapes as quickly as we can. The 2010 vintage has been an interesting one so far, and it looks like we’ll have some very rich wines to show for it.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today

JAMIE: The Tradizionale is our tribute to the early Italian immigrants that grew and made Zinfandel in the Dry Creek Valley. They would plant field blends, and grow their vines without irrigation, known as dry farming. The 2007 is the product of two vineyards- one planted in the 1920’s, and the other planted in 1990 using old Zinfandel clones. Both are dry-farmed and feature a field blend style. The blend has made a wine that showcases the raspberry jam and white pepper qualities and perfect balance that make Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel so great.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

JAMIE: I like this with spicy red sauce pastas or a chicken cacciatore.

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 featuring our wines!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Peterson Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

This traditional field-blend Zin offers up seductive aromas and flavors. Beneath the lush, spicy berry aroma is an alluring layer of mocha and vanillin oak. The finely honed balance and firm structure enhance the juicy, chewy flavors of bright fruit, spice, subtle black pepper and tarry oak notes. The richly textured mouthfeel holds a deep thread of spicy blackberry that spreads across the palate and lingers into the broad, opulent finish.

Enjoy this wine as a solo course, or paired with a wide range of dishes from Beef Wellington to pepperoni pizza. Or try it with a flourless chocolate torte or your favorite cheeses for dessert.

Fred’s (Peterson) Vintaged View: This is the kind of wine that really got me hooked on Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels. A traditional, old-vine field-blend, this wine to me is the classic “raspberry jam” that differentiates the best Dry Creek Valley Zins from all others. Big, but balanced. Fruity, yet elegant. This is a wine that will go with almost any food, but you can also just pull the cork on a bottle and drink it with friends while playing cards or watching a good movie.

The old-vine West Vineyard Zinfandel in this wine was planted in the 1920s during Prohibition. It contains about 3% other red grapes (Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet, Carignane and some others I’m not really sure about) as well as 1% white grapes (Semillon, Palomino and Chasselas). All the vines are harvested at the same time and all the various varieties are cofermented, which produces a smoother, fuller wine than separate fermentations and subsequent blending can give you.

Although the Zinfandel vines were planted in 1990, the Bernier Zinyard makes old-time growers feel they are walking into the past when they stroll among the vines. It is a traditional dry-farmed, head-trained (non-trellised) vineyard with Italo Sbragio’s old clone Zin grafted on to St. George rootstock. That combination embodies the very roots of Dry Creek Valley viticulture and reflects Peterson Winery’s values of savoring and embracing time-honored traditions.

Blending the West & Bernier Zinfandel is our nod of respect for the time honored field-blend tradition.
h3. 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 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 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.

Technical Analysis:

Composition: 95% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirh, 2% mixed black, 1% mixed white (65% West Vineyard & 35% Bermier ‘Zinyard’)

Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

Alcohol: 15.8%

pH: 3.45

TA: 0.68g/100ml

Barrel Aging: 18 months

Type of Oak: 18% new Hungarian oak barrels, 82% 2-5 year-old French oak barrels

Bottling Date: April 11, 2009

Production: 350 cases

Release Date: April 2010

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