What We Say 2006 Sonoma County Red Rex
Today’s wine is our First Runner-up for this year’s Wine Spies Intrigue Award for “Operative’s Choice: Top Red Blend”. Read our full report, here:
Today’s wine represents an exceptional value, delivering a drinking experience above its price class, earning it today’s QPR (Quality to Price Ratio).
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Mission Codename: The Spies Menagerie
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Wine Spies’ Operative favorite, Deerfield Ranch Winery, and procure a stellar QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) wine, for our Operatives that demand a high-dollar drinking experience – that’s easy on the budget.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Deerfield Ranch Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Red Rex
Winemaker: Robert Rex
Backgrounder: Located in Kenwood, California, Deerfield Ranch Winery is a Wine Spies Operative favorite. The winery has proved elusive in recent times, but Agent Red was able to secure a limited allotment of today’s 2006 Red Rex, a deep and delicious red blend, for our demanding Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest burgundy with a fine ring of pure ruby red at the edges. View a bright light source through the wine and see perfect clarity through its dark core. The wine settles quickly when swirled. When it settles, the wine leaves behind skinny, wine-stained legs that start high up on the glass.
Smell – Heady and deeply aromatic, lead by dark cherry, blueberry, blackberry and cassis. These mingle with softer tones of smoked meats, candied red cherry, tender cedar and a hint of fresh sage.
Feel – Soft and cool on the attack, then plush tannins add a very gradual dryness that spreads throughout the palate, from the center – radiating outward. Eventually, the wine takes on a medium-weight feel as a bright, mineral-peppery spice appears.
Taste – Very flavorful and bold, but well-balanced, with dark cherry, blackberry, dried cranberry, smoky blueberry and dried fall leaves. These are followed, after swallowing, by
dark strawberry, cracked pepper, softest green tobacco leaf and flinty minerals.
Finish – Long and flavor-filled with an initially dark and smoky character that yields to dark fruit, then goes brighter, with lush redfruit. These tail off, gradually, giving way to dark flint and black pepper as the fruit dwindles.
Conclusion – This is a big, bold, delicious, fruit-forward wine that has a very pleasing feel and great aromatics. Winemaker, Robert Rex, painstakingly hand-selected the painstakingly (triple) hand-sorted fruit, to craft this great red blend. With dark fruit and a bright acidity, this is a wine that would pair beautifully with almost anything you’d want to throw it at. Our tasting panel enjoyed the wine with a grilled New york steak with mushrooms. Enjoy now or – if you have the patience (good luck!) – cellar this wine for another 5 to 10 years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Robert Rex
WINE EDUCATION: 38 years of wine making experience
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Robert Rex is a “renaissance man” possessing a great palate and an exceptional talent for winemaking. He is a chemist, graphic designer and accomplished gourmet cook. He has the ability to fix almost anything. The harvest of 2010 will be Robert’s 38th consecutive year of winemaking. Robert and PJ, his wife and business partner, have lived in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley, for 28 years at their beautiful hilltop retreat, Deerfield Ranch, where the Deerfield Ranch Winery was founded. The view out their back door of Sonoma Mountain is the inspiration for the winery logo.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Making wine is like gourmet cooking. We start with the finest ingredients, grapes farmed by growers who put as much attention into the vines as we do into the wines. Great wine begins in the vineyard. We have worked with the same growers year after year to perfect a partnership to produce the best wine. By drawing from many vineyards, we get grapes from appellations where varietals grow the best. We allow the grapes to fully vine ripen, hand pick and sort the grapes, and use the most gentle production techniques. We produce wines using organic methods and are on of only three certified organic producing wineries in Sonoma.
We make wine by hand in small lots and taste them constantly to manage their constant change. We experiment with the latest techniques while operating from a foundation of tradition. We mold and nudge the wines in one direction or another to make them lovely, fruity and delicious to drink. Our reds receive extended barrel aging, which makes them mellow. Attention to cleanliness and balance makes them age worthy.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Taste the passion
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1982
AGENT RED: Greetings, Robert. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Red Rex today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ROBERT: Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure to share my passion with others.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ROBERT: When I was 9, I had piece of angel food cake and begged my mother to teach me how to make it. I’ve been in love with cooking ever since and winemaking, especially blending, draws from the same fundamentals. I often say I am a product of my environment in that way, if I had grown up in New York I’d have a restaurant, I grew up in California so I have a winery.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ROBERT: My early mentor was Andre Tchelistcheff who taught me about blending and of course my wife PJ for sure. PJ is very sensitive to histamines and sulfites in wine so all our wines are clean, meaning we triple hand sort the grapes removing anything you wouldn’t feed your baby. As a result our wines have extremely low levels of histamines and sulfites, so anybody can drink them without experiencing headaches or allergic reactions.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
ROBERT: For everyone who enjoys wine. I appreciate the reviewers and bloggers who spend time creating tasting notes and reviews but the best compliment I can get about one of my wines is delicious!
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ROBERT: The 2006 Red Rex is a seven varietal blend, featuring the Bordeaux varietals plus Sangiovese and Syrah and is our most complex blend. Winemaking is really 30% chemistry and 70% cooking. With 28 vineyards under contract we have many different lots, different ingredients, to work with. I think of myself as a chef with this wine, building the perfect dish from many different varietals to exemplify the structure and layers of flavor.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ROBERT: People! The Red Rex is a crowd pleaser and works with a variety of different dishes from ham sandwiches to lamb chops.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma County region so special?
ROBERT: Sonoma County has so many unique terroirs but there is an indescribable characteristic about the whole county and you see it reflected in the attitude of the people who live here. Even driving to the grocery store you see landscapes that take your breath away. Watching the sunset over Sonoma Mountain from the estate or walking the rows of the vineyard you can feel the bliss of Sonoma and it is reflected in our wines.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ROBERT: Harvest is in full swing and we’re bringing in fruit every day. Stop by the winery and you can see the activity. It really makes you respect a bottle of wine when you see the crew sorting grapes, punching down fermentators, pressing out the juice and barreling down the wine. The details of the harvest include picking decisions, yeast selection, fermentation protocols and barrel programs.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
ROBERT: Passionately. Winemaking is more than a profession, it’s my passion. The long hours and hard work wouldn’t be worth it if I didn’t absolutely love it, and that’s what I want everyone to taste – the passion. Wine is such a delicate art and one that is meant to be enjoyed.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
ROBERT: If you make it to Kenwood please stop by the winery and taste wines in the Grand Room of our wine cave. We always love to take the time to share Deerfield wines with guests. Sante!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are b
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Deerfield Ranch Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Taste has no rules. Red Rex is this philosophy personified. We made over 149 separate lots of wine in 2006. Each has it’s own personality. Each barrel is unique, a slight variation on a theme. We’ve woven this palette of taste, nose, feel, and character into a delicious experience.
“Red Rex is delicious." This is the most common descriptor we hear. It is rich and full bodied without being too aggressive. It is floral in the front and has a long finish in the back. It pairs with almost any food, from Panini to lamb chops. It is equally at home just by itself, enjoyed with friends on any occasion.
If you compare the blend in the 2006 to the 2005 Red Rex (both have 7 varietals), you find more Cabernet and less Merlot. This might lead you to believe the ’06 is more aggressive. The 2006 Vintage, however, produced softer Cabernet than in ‘05 so we adjusted the blend by taste. Still our most popular wine, the new Red Rex will WOW you as always.
About The Winery:
Deerfield Ranch Winery is an award-winning winery located in the heart of the Sonoma Valley at Kenwood. We specialize in small lots of handmade wine from select Northern California vineyards. Currently we have 17 vineyards under contract and make as many as 40 separate lots of wine from those vineyards.
Our wines can be tasted FREE at the Family Wineries of Sonoma Valley tasting room at 9200 Sonoma Highway (Highway 12) in Kenwood.
We make several wine varietals and blends, something for everyone, a wine for every occasion
Production lots vary from 250 cases to 1000 cases. We will produce about 8,000 cases in 2005, and plan to grow to a maximum of 25,000 cases per year in our New Winery.
About The Winemakers:
Robert Rex started making wine in 1972 in Berkeley, California. He has worked for many different wineries, started wineries for others, specializing in rebuilding wineries and starting winemaking programs for those wineries when they changed hands. He has taught winemaking and still acts as a consulting winemaker.
Michael Browne, a native of Washington state, started making wine as an intern at Deerfield Ranch Winery in 1997. Now in his 6th year at Deerfield Michael handles the day to day cellar duties at the winery. He maintains and monitors three vintages of wine in the barrel and more than 35 separate lots from the last vintage alone. He is much more than assistant winemaker, he is part of the dynamic duo of Robert and Michael, the winemakers.
Varietals: Cabernet 40%, Syrah 23%, Merlot 19%, Sangiovese 7%, Malbec 5%, Cab. Franc 4%, Petit Verdot 2%
Barrel Aged: 36 months