California: Sonoma County
What We Say
Today’s wine earned a special spot in our annual Wine Intrigue Awards line-up, when it won -
Top QPR Sonoma County
Today’s wine delivers a big experience, for a great price, earning it today’s QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert!
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Mission Codename: Remedium ante PoiZin non valet
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Armida winery and secure a limited allocation of their coveted PoiZin Sonoma County Zinfandel
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Armida Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 PoiZin 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.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep black cherry juice hued, with beautiful a fine rim of ruby red at the edge of the glass. The wine shows off a speedy surface when swirled. When the wine settles, multiple rounds of chubby, wine-stained legs move slowly down the glass.
Smell – Leading with a bold rush of spiced black cherry, and followed by tart strawberry, dark raspberry, and ripe plum. These mingle with soft oak, black pepper and soft spice, with a hint pencil shavings.
Feel – This full-bodied Zinfandel is bright and big in the mouth, soft at the very tip of the tongue, then quickly grippy. As tannins take hold, adding dryness and soft grip, peppery spice appears at the back of the mouth, and spreads forward.
Taste – Vibrant, dark and bold, with pronounced black cherry and red plum at first. As the wine settles on the tongue, additional flavors of blackberry, chocolate dust and black plum skin and black pepper appear.
Finish – Very focused, with with lingering black cherry, spice and minerality that coats the palate. Dark plum, bramble fruit, white pepper and black pepper linger, fading slowly.
Conclusion – The 2008 Armida PoiZin delivers great big character for surprisingly low price. The secret? Armida grabs a barrel from each of their single vineyard Zinfandels, and creates with them a blend that becomes PoiZin each year. The result is exciting and always delicious, with each vintage expressing its own unique character. Today’s wine is a bold and flavor-packed wine that offers up big aromatics and a wallop of big Zin flavors.
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 PoiZin 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 Poizin Zinfandel is a great representation of Zinfandel grown throughout Sonoma County. We purchase fruit from Dry Creek Valley, Chalk Hill, and Sonoma Valley Appellations. These different growing areas give us a great “spice rack” to work with, when constructing this zinfandel blend. Rich fruit, balanced acidity and hints of oak are the hallmarks of this zinfandel.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
BRANDON: I love pairing with hard cheeses as an appetizer or accompanying any summer barbecue with my personal favorite being grilled rack of lamb with a mint and rosemary rub.
RED: In your opinion, what makes Sonoma County so special?
BRANDON: Sonoma County can grow the best zinfandel in the world. Many different microclimates, plus the old age of most of the vines, lends to rich, complex Zinfandels.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
BRANDON: Most of my time is being split between vineyards and the cellar. In the vineyards it is a crucial time to make sure that any final changes be made. Crop level, canopy and leaf management and watering amounts are the decisions in the front of my mind right now. In the cellar we are working to make sure that all of the wines from the 2009 vintage are stable and won’t give us any surprises during the 2010 crush.
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:
A little less deadly than our etched version of Poizin (not quite as light as a feather, though not as stiff as a board, either), this wine is blended to be soft, supple, and ready to enjoy NOW. The grapes come from Dry Creek Valley, the only real place to grow Zinfandel that’s worth anything. Bright fruit flavors are carried on a bed of soft tannins. Oooh, spooky.
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!