2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Timber Crest, Mounts & Mountainview Ranch
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
Today’s wine is a fantastic value. At today’s price, it drinks above its price-class, earning it this special QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert.
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Mission Codename: Deeper than the Ocean
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to our old friends at Kokomo wines, where their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is reputed to be ready to enjoy. Secure and ample allottment for our deserving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kokomo Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley
Winemaker: Erik Miller
The Dry Creek Valley AVA in northeastern Sonoma (north of Healdsburg) county is somewhat warmer and wetter than the Russian River Valley AVA region just to the south and the Alexander Valley AVA just to the east. The warmer and wetter climate provides great versatility with regard to the types of grapes that can be effectively cultivated in the region.
Today’s superb wine comes from three unique vineyard sources around the valley, including Mounts vineyard (a Wine Spies favorite) on the west side of the valley, the Mountainview Ranch, which is the highest-elevation vineyard in the valley, and the Timbercrest Vineyard on the east side, which boasts vines that like those of the Mounts vineyard, date back to the 1960’s.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark and concentrated, with darkest red and purple hues, from the dark garnet heart, right out to the ruby-colored edges. The wine settles quickly when swirled. After a hearty swirl, tall legs start out chubby, thinning out as they slowly make their way down the edge of the glass.
Smell – Warm and very lush, with tart cherry pie, plum and blackberry leaping from the glass. These are followed by dark dried violet petals, black currant and black cherry. After some swirling, additional aromas of cigar box, mushroom and leather emerge.
Feel – Velvet smooth and very round on entry. Then, as the wine passes the mid-palate, lush tannins set a firm dryness spreading around the palate, drying the cheeks and pursing the lips.
Taste – Layered and complex, with dark cherry, overripe blackberry and smoked blueberry in the lead. These are closely followed by black currant, soft black pepper, black tea leaf and flint.
Finish – Long and lush, with lingering dark fruit that gradually yields to spice, pepper, black tea and soft oak.
Conclusion – 2007 seems to be the recent ‘it’ vintage for coastal California Cabernet Sauvignon, and the examples we have been tasting validate this. Today’s 2007 Kokomo Winery Cabernet Sauvignon is an alluring wine, especially for its relatively low price. We tasted this wine soon after its bottling and again more recently, and it has really progressed beautifully. Gone are the hard edges, which are replaced by bold fruit and a plush feel. This gives us some insight as to how the wine will continue to progress. If you purchase a few bottles, today, please be sure to keep a few to lay down for the next few years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Erik Miller
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Keep my thumbprint off the wines as much as possible and let the vineyard show through. Terrior is what makes the wine unique and I believe it is the winemakers job to ensure it is not lost in the winemaking process.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2005
AGENT RED: Greetings, Erik. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ERIK MILLER: We are excited to be on our third covert mission with you – and thank you for your continued support.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ERIK: Working my first harvest and experiencing fermentation!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ERIK: My neighbors’ Pinots. Papapietro Perry definitely inspired me to embrace California Pinot. Delicious!
RED: Who do you make wine for?
ERIK: We make wine for food, but it is important that the wine can be enjoyed on its own.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ERIK: Our 2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet is a great representation of the appellation. It is made up of three different vineyards from Dry Creek Valley: Timber Crest (on the east side benchlands), Mtn. View Ranch ( on Bradford Mountain 1000 ft. elevation), and Mounts Vineyard (40 year old vines from the West Dry Creek). It is 100% Cabernet.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ERIK: Red meat! This Cabernet pairs beautifully with steak, hearty winter stews, and cured meats
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?
ERIK: Dry Creek Valley is special for several reasons. It is one of the most narrow appellations in the state making each side of the valley distinctly different. Another huge factor for our appellation is the influence of the Russian River. The Russian River flows due south from Mendocino and when it hits Healdsburg (Dry Creek Valley) it make a 90 degree bend to let out in the Pacific Ocean. This brings a lot of the fog from the river through the beginning of the valley, making it 10 degrees cooler than the end of the valley.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ERIK: Getting ready for harvest. Sampling vineyards and sanitizing, sanitizing, sanitizing.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
ERIK: Bottling and going on sales trips. We are also starting to think about blends for the 2010 vintage and tasting how the vintage is coming around.
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 Winery Check:
The location of the Kokomo Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Expressive notes of violets, dried bing cherries, and a dusty pepper. A rich palate with nice minerality and strawberry. Long lingering finish with an ample amount of lush tannin. With three unique vineyards, this is a classic example of a complex and balanced Dry Creek Cabernet. Will cellar for the next 10 years.
Vineyard Description: This Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of three different vineyards. Timber Crest Vineyard is located on the eastside bench. These vines were planted in the 60’s in the rich/expressive gravely soil.
Mounts Vineyard is on the west side of the valley. These cabernet vines, also planted in the 60’s, are located on a south facing hillside with rich, dark clay soil that provides excellent drainage for the vines.
Mountainview Ranch is the highest elevated vineyard in the valley. These cabernet vines look down on Dry Creek from a top Bradford Mountain. The steep hillside adds tremendous stress to the vines, which translates into intense fruit.
About The Winery:
Started in 2004 with the production of a single vineyard Cabernet from Mounts Vineyard, Kokomo Winery focuses on both Dry Creek & Russian River Valley fruit, with an emphasis on single vineyard wines that show a distinct terroir. We believe that our small production techniques and relationships with growers allow us to make wines that are individual and unique as the vineyards they were born from. We think you should drink local and think global and we are proud to support causes we believe in located in Sonoma County, like the annual Harmony Festival, Art for Life, KRCB, Food for Thought and the annual Mayacama Celebrity Golf Tournament, just to name a few.
In January 2008, we celebrated the opening of our brand new winery at Timber Crest Farms in Dry Creek Valley. Visitors to our winery will enjoy a unique wine tasting experience, where we have incorporated the tasting room into our cellar. We are located on a beautiful 130 acre vineyard on the Dry Creek Bench, and our estate fruit consists of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.
Erik Miller, a Kokomo native, has always had a westward dream to make wines. After graduating from Purdue University in 1999, he set his sights on Sonoma County in order to pursue his dreams. “I traded in the soybeans and cornfields for the brighter skies, rolling hills and vineyards” Miller said. “With my Midwesten values, I approached the new territory with a promise to always treat the farmers and business the same – with respect.”
Erik had his first opportunity to make an impression as a wine professional while working crush at Belvedere Winery in the Russian River Valley. Starting at ground level as a cellar worker, there was an immediate connection to the industry. After working that first harvest, Miller decided to enroll at U.C. Davis to study enology and learn from the best in the field. During the time he was attending classes, he met Rick Hutchinson, owner and winemaker of Amphora Winery, and was offered a full-time cellar worker position.
While handling his duties in the cellar, Miller started Kokomo Winery with a 2004 single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Mounts Vineyard. In naming his new creation, the winemaker decided to pay tribute to his Indiana hometown. In 2005, while still sharing space with Amphora, Miller brought on his best friend and college roommate, Josh Bartels, for help with the new winery’s second vintage. With Bartels on board, the two upped production and increased the product line. After the 2006 harvest, Kokomo Winery moved into its own facility at Timber Crest Farms in Dry Creek Valley.
Josh Bartels (a Carmel, Indiana native) first met Erik Miller while studying at Purdue University. The two ended up being roommates while there and graduated a year apart with the same degree. It was during these formative years in academia that Bartels started developing a palate for the “finer tastes” in life. While experimenting with different business ventures, he worked part-time at a local wine shop in Indianapolis and his passion and knowledge of fine wines began to bloom.
Josh got a call from California one summer day in 2005 – it was his best buddy Erik. Miller wanted him to come to Sonoma County to work harvest with him at Amphora Winery. This incredible opportunity to work in a boutique winery could not be passed up. Josh was immediately bitten by the “wine bug” and Erik was persistent in wanting Bartels to move to Sonoma County to join him in creating incredible wines. All Josh had to do was to convince his wife to relocate. Needless to say, he succeeded. Josh absorbed as much knowledge as possible from the ground-up while working hand in hand with fellow “cellar dogs” Rick and Erik. When Kokomo Winery moved into their own facility, after the 2006 harvest, Bartels and Miller put all of their focus into creating ultra-premium wines.
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Produced: 875 cases
Harvest: October 2007
Fermentation: 75% Stainless steel fermentation, 25% one ton open top fermenters
Barrel Aging: 100% French oak, 30% new