2008 Il Campo - Estate Field Blend Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s field blend from our pals at Armida, is a magical wine that beautifully expresses Armida’s brilliant estate terroir – and considerable winemaking skills. If you love great Zin, act fast!
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Mission Codename: The Happy Camper
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Armida winery, a Wine Spies Operative favorite, and secure a limited allocation of their delicious Il Campo Estate Zinfandel, a field-blended marvel
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Armida Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Il Campo Estate Filed Blend Zinfandel
Winemaker: Brandon Lapides
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. The Dry Creek Valley, where this Zinfandel’s grapes are are grown are characterized by their bright and balanced flavors, distinct minerality and spice are quite in popularity with our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deepest purple, with an inky core of purple-onyx. At the rim of the wine, a medium-width band of garnet rings the glass. After swirling this wine, chubby, wine-stained tears move very slowly down the glass.
Smell – Solid blackberry, berry bramble and bright red cherry. These are supported by raspberry, black cherry, soft brown spice, black pepper, soft oak and soft brown leather
Feel – Soft and light across the front palate, growing in dimension as it passes across the mid-palate, where it begins to fill the mouth with a soft dryness that extends outward to the lips and cheeks, where a soft mineral-spice lingers.
Taste – Smoky and dark, leading with smoked blackberry, black cherry, cassis and smoky blueberry tart. Just below these, flavors of black spice, black pepper, subtle tobacco leaf, baking chocolate and a hint of cedar add to the overall character of this delicious wine.
Finish – Dark and flavorful, with pronounced black fruit flavors that linger on the mid-palate for a long time. As the fruit flavors tail off, a smoky spice and chocolate hang around for a while longer – ultimately to be replaced with a soft minerality.
Conclusion – We love Armida wines, and today’s 2008 Il Campo Field Blend Zinfandel reinforces our adoration. Field blends strike us a very special kind of wine, requiring great fruit and skillful winemaking. Perhaps some luck, as well. Most blends are created in post-production, with the winemaker selecting samples from barrels of previous-fermented wines. In the case of a field blend, grapes are co-fermented and then bottled directly, with no additional blending. Such wines give us additional pleasure, knowing of the magic that went into the creation of the wine. Today’s 2008 Il Campo Estate Filed Blend Zinfandel is a delicious wine that shows a real elegance and finesse that we found delightful. Where some Dry Creek Zins may overpower the palate – and your meals, today’s wine shows real finesse. The wine is also very food friendly. Pair with grilled meats or finer fare. Enjoy this skillfully-made Zinfandel!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Brandon Lapides
WINE EDUCATION: BS. Fermentation Science University of California at Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Internships: Testarossa Vineyards, RH Phillips, Brancott Cellars; Assistant Winemaker: Peachy Canyon Winery, Dutton Goldfield Winery
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Lets bring back the old school philosophies, using as little new technology as possible.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Fill up my cup, Mazeltov.” – Black Eyed Peas.
AGENT RED: Greetings, Brandon. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Il Campo Field Bllend Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
BRANDON LAPIDES: No problem, you caught me at a good time before things start getting crazy with harvest.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
BRANDON: Growing up I was mystified that when our whole family would get together, there would be many lengthy discussions about different wines. My curiosity then led to my eventual love of wine.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
BRANDON: ’61 Latour. My grandfather had enough foresight to start buying Bordeaux wines in the late 60’s. I have been fortunate enough to have a few bottles over a span of 10 years. The wine has been the only wine that I have tasted that has ever lived up to its hype. The balance and complexities in the ’61 Latour after 40+ years of aging influenced my winemaking to try to have as much longevity in my own wines.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
BRANDON: Our 2008 Il Campo Zinfandel is a co-fermentation estate blend of Zinfandel and a little Petite Sirah. We have nearly seven acres of vines on our estate and all of them go into this Il Campo blend. We pick our Zinfandel and Petite Sirah at the same time and co-ferment them together to better integrate flavors and tannin structure. My favorite part of this wine is that it comes from our estate. The grapes are picked and then crushed into a tank within an hour. Also we bottle our wines on site, so before this wine is shipped to you it has traveled 200 yards from our vineyards and another 200 yards to the barrel room, and that is it!!
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BRANDON: Something big and rich and meaty. My pick would be a heaping bowl of homemade chili, a warm fire and a bottle of Il Campo.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?
BRANDON: Our estate is located on the southern border of Dry Creek Valley AVA. We are about 1 mile north of the border of the Russian River Valley. This means that we are located in the coolest section of the Dry Creek AVA. This allows our Zinfandel and Petite Sirah to hang on the vine a bit longer, plus the cool nights seem to lock in the acidity that balances this wine.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BRANDON: Crushing, pressing, barreling down, checking vineyards. Too much to write it all down.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
BRANDON: I always recommend that consumers accompany our wines with food. Our wines pair well with a variety of foods and should be consumed with family and friends.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
BRANDON: I would love to invite any of your readers to come visit our vineyards, winery and tasting room right outside of Healdsburg. We have a beautiful patio with an incredible view overlooking our vineyards and manicured gardens. There is also a bocce ball court to test your skills after a glass of wine.
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!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Armida Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This is our only estate grown wine. We took cuttings from the Maple Vineyard to create this field blend of 75% Zinfandel, and 25% Petite Sirah. This head pruned vineyard is entirely hillside, helping us get the most intense and concentrated fruit. The nose on Il Campo bursts with ripe blackberry, and brown spice. The mouth shows black pepper, vanilla and oak, with currants, and black cherries rounding out the finish. This wine has great structure, intense color, and balanced acidity.
About The Winery:
Hello folks! We purchased controlling interest in Armida Winery from Robert Frugoli in 1994. Wow, it is difficult to believe more than 15 years have gone by since we began this grand adventure. On little more than hope, faith, and a little help from our local friendly bank, we jumped into the “family owned and operated” wine business with both feet. Bruce arrived having just sold his super successful home furnishings business in San Jose, and Steve brought his experience including stints as President of Buena Vista Winery and COO of Freemark Abbey Winery. Bruce’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with Steve’s wine industry knowledge, and a whole lot of hard work, has transformed Armida Winery from a sleepy little winery producing pretty good wines to a much more lively place focusing on ultra premium, hand crafted, single vineyard wines from the top vineyards of neighboring Dry Creek, Russian River and Alexander Valleys.
We make over ten different wines showcasing some of the very best vineyards in Sonoma County including Maple Vineyard Zinfandel, Flora Ranch.
Zinfandel, Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir, Black Kite Pinot Noir, Bacigalupi Pinot Noir, Castelli-Knight Pinot Noir, Parmellee-Hill Pinot Noir, Stuhlmuller Chardonnay, Keefer Chardonnay and Durell Vineyard Chardonnay. From our seven-acre estate vineyard we produce Il Campo (“Field Blend”), a delicious combination of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. We also produce “POIZIN” (Zinfandel), “The Wine to Die For,” and “ANTIDOTE,” a beautiful Pinot Grigio in cobalt blue half bottles.
Over the years we have met so many interesting people. Many of our best customers are our friends and we enjoying seeing them and being able to spend time with them. We don’t make a whole lot of wine, preferring to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. As such, practically all of our wine is sold directly to members of our wine club and those of you who visit us at the winery. Our wine club always gets first crack at our smallest production wines, a privilege they seem to enjoy very much! We invite you to drop by here any time between 11am and 5pm to try our wines and enjoy the ambiance of our hillside property and views. If so inclined you might want to bring along lunch to enjoy on the large patio overlooking the Russian River Valley, or perhaps play Bocce Ball on the court above the pond. We take our wines very seriously, but once they are “made,” we make sure to have a whole lot of fun.
On any given day you will find us working in the tasting room along side Janet or Kristina, tending the garden, fixing something (maintenance is non ending!), doing office work (not our favorite) or helping wine maker Jessica and cellar master PW during harvest. We will be sure to say HI when we see you!