2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: One for the Roadhouse
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Our Operatives have been clamoring for a great Zinfandel. Rendezvous with winemaker, David Noyes, and procure his latest Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Roadhouse Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 Zinfandel – Dry Creek Valley
Winemaker: Eric and Eric
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. Sonoma Valley Old Vine Zinfandels, which are characterized by their refinement and balance, are extraordinarily popular with our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby hued, with a slightly opaque core. At the edges of the wine, a ring of light strawberry color encircles the glass. Swirl the wine and it bounces around for a while before settling down. When it does settle, ropey legs meander down the glass.
Smell – This wine leads with a big rush of lush dark cherry, red currant and dried dark red flower petals. After some swirling, additional aromas of blackberry, cedar shavings, dried orange peel, dark spice and black pepper spring forth.
Feel – Cool and light on entry, then softly grippy on the mid-palate as crushed velvet tannins add a spreading dryness. The dryness gradually increases, spreading all around the palate, eventually giving the wine a mid-weight feel.
Taste – This wine bursts with tart black cherry, smoky cranberry, young strawberry and cassis. These flavors sit right atop brambly under-ripe boysenberry, soft cedar and black pepper spice.
Finish – Long and bright and filled with dark berry flavors. After the dryness takes hold, soft black pepper and an easy minerality gradually replace the bright red fruit.
Conclusion – This young upstart of a wine is a real treat! Bursting with bright red fruit flavors and backed by a solid feel and fresh aromas, this is a fun wine to drink. With such a bright palate, this wine lends itself to flexible pairing. Enjoy with grilled meats or a selection of dried meats and hard cheeses. Drinking beautifully now, we expect great things from this wine for the next few years. Not that we’ll be able to hold on to our bottles for much longer, though!
With the 2010 Harvest and Crush currently underway, we were unable to secure an interview with either Eric. Be sure to keep an eye out for our next Roadhouse sale in the new year. Meanwhile, be sure to read our review (above) – and take some of this great Dry Creek Zin home to enjoy with your Holiday dining!
Wine Spies Winery Check:
The location of the awesome Roadhouse Winery tasting room, in downtown Healdsburg, California, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This is real old vine Zin meets French Oak Barrels, Fourteen days on the skins: Rich, Deep, Jammy, and Powerful. Some of the plantings dating back to 1914. We think Dry Creek is the finest location in the world for Zinfandel, and this is a blend of two vineyards, we will always have some tucked away at the Roadhouse. 100 cases, bottled March 7, 2010
About The Winery:
Roadhouse Winery is billed by its owners as “two guys named Eric, a pool table, some barrels and a passion for Pinot Noir.” The seeds for this new venture go back several years before founders Eric Hall and Eric Anderson met. After two decades of high tech success in San Francisco, serial entrepreneur Eric Hall fled the city and purchased property in Cazadero in semi-remote Western Sonoma County (the true Sonoma Coast). He noticed that not only were there vineyards on the ridgetops nearby. Eric H. very quickly became immersed in wines of the region. He later moved from Cazadero and purchased a small resort property in Guerneville where he quickly developed a love and a passion for Russian River Pinot Noir. He made a lot of friends in the business and worked briefly for Papapietro-Perry Winery, all along learning more and more about the wines and business he loved. About the same time, Eric H. approached me with an idea to create a Pinot Noir event in the Russian River Valley—we launched the Pinot On The River Festival in 2004. The New Years’ Eve floods of 2005 on the Russian River overran his resort and he had no choice but to move on. Always on the lookout for opportunity, Eric H. found one in the old Topolos Vineyards and began a project to rennovate and manage that property. All along Eric H. dreamed of the day when he could have his own little Pinot operation. He teamed up with his friend, Eric Anderson, a local loan broker and vineyard lender and the two partners, with the help of friends Roger Roessler and his team and the Papapietro-Perry family, created Roadhouse Winery in 2008. Located in downtown Healdsburg, just to the west of the plaza, Roadhouse is focused on Pinot Noir but is also offering other wines including a few Zinfandel bottlings. Pinot bottlings include regional blends from Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast and Santa Lucia Highlands. These are terrific wines and the tasting room is really worth a visit if you are headed for Healdsburg.
Eric Hall – After two decades of Tech in SF, at the turn of the century, Eric #1 (Hall) being flush with his dot com earnings, bought a spread in Cazadero (True Sonoma Coast), where he could not help but noticing cliff side vineyards going in, and Flowers Pinot Noir at the General Store. Fast forward a few years ahead, he’s working for the Papapietro Perry Winery, and co-founding the Pinot on the River Festival at his resort property in the Russian River area. Unfortunately, the Russian River overran his place in the winter 2005-2006, and he found himself managing a historic winery property in Forestville, and running the POTR event, but dreaming of the day when he could have his own little Pinot operation. He teamed up with his friend, Eric #2, (Anderson), a local loan broker, and vineyard lender, and with the help of Roger Roessler & crew, and the Papapietro Perry family, created RoadHouse Winery in 2008, in downtown Healdsburg.
Eric A. – In the early 90’s Eric A. and his dad owned their own card room called Reilly’s Casino, in Santa Rosa, specializing in poker. To this day he still hosts poker nights among the barrels. Wanting something a little more steady, and with a new family to raise, he took his skill with numbers into the banking world. After several years spent managing branches and working as a loan specialist Eric #2 opened a private bank office in Santa Rosa in 2003, that catered to high net worth individuals, which is where he met Mr. Hall. They partnered to finance and run a historical winery property in Forestville, CA, rebranding, rebuilding, restructuring and running it until its completed sale in 2009. The two Eric’s teamed up again to create the RoadHouse Winery Pinot Project now located in downtown Healdsburg. Currently when he’s not blending wines or letting our customers win at pool, he runs his own lending business, Central Funding providing loans and financial consulting to agricultural and wine business properties.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Bottling Date: March 05, 2010
Fermentation: Open Top Stainless Steel
Months in Barrel: 18 months
Oak: French Oak Various
Release Date: March 05, 2010
Varietal: Red Zinfandel