2009 Dry Creek Valley Viognier
Viognier •Schmidt Ranch
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
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Mission Codename: Better than a thumb to the eye
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to favorite Thumbprint Cellars and acquire their newly released Dry Creek Valley Schmidt Ranch Viognier
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Thumbprint Cellars
Wine Subject: 2009 Dry Creek Valley Schmidt Ranch Viognier
Winemaker: Scott Lindstrom-Dake
Backgrounder: 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 selection is 100% Viognier, a generally shy grape that is difficult to grow, and it was once an endangered species worldwide. Today, skillful growers and winemakers tend the grapes with great care, closely monitoring their progress and picking at the pinnacle of ripeness. Viognier, when perfectly produced, is a delightful wine that is the perfect alternative to more mainstream white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Brilliant clear golden straw yellow with slightly pale golden edges. When swirled, this wine shows its body with a slightly thicker and viscous surface tension and leaves tightly spaces tears with fat heads that very slowly descend to the wine below.
Smell – Pleasantly aromatic with notes of ripe melon, both fresh and dried apricot and a touch of citrus layered over floral orange blossoms and honeysuckle as well as orange blossom honey. Hints of toasted oak and vanilla also invite a sip.
Feel – Classic Viognier mouth-feel with an expansive, almost creamy texture, this dry full bodied wine is soft with easy acidity.
Taste – Layers of ripe melon and apricot along with hints of citrus, orange blossom honey and honey suckle as found in the nose lingers on the palate and is framed by a touch of toasted vanilla and oak.
Finish – Very long with this wine’s creamy and full texture lingering as tart citrus, melon and apricot along with its honey and vanilla fading after several minutes.
Conclusion – Fans of Viognier will love the soft but full-bodied 2009 Thumbprint Cellars Dry Creek Valley Schmidt Ranch Viognier. Plush fruit, softly complex on the nose and palate and its creamy texture that lingers long makes this wine perfect to service with an appetizer of creamy spinach dip with a touch of cayenne pepper and toasted artisan breads.
Scott Lindstrom-Dake is currently making wine, in Italy, and we could not secure a current interview with him. What follows is one of our original mission reports, from Agent White:
It was a beautiful day in downtown Healdsburg, California and I was looking forward to my mission Thumbprint Cellars. Agent Red had been there before, but Central Command sent me in to investigate the mystery of the image of the Thumb print that can be found on every bottle of Thumbprint Cellars wine.
On this mission I had to go undercover and pose as a wine consumer. This is one of my favorite covers as I love to have the same experience that folks outside of ‘the trade’ have.
I walked into the Thumbprint tasting room where I was struck by the casual and comfortable nature of the place. That’s not to say that the tasting room lacked style or polish. This place was all class. Art on the walls, great lighting, great music and an overall atmosphere that made it feel more like a classy lounge than a traditional stuffy winery tasting room.
Almost immediately I was greeted by a smiling young woman behind the counter. She handed me tasting sheet and invited me to try anything on the list that looked interesting to me. I flashed my best tourist grin and shyly said that I was new to wine and needed a good introduction. For the next thirty minutes, as other customers came in (mostly to buy wine which was a great sign!), she gave me an education about wine, about Thumbprint Cellars and about their style of winemaking.
I was impressed by her knowledge, but I as more impressed with their wines. Almost everything I tasted that day was spectacular and I am recommending to Central Command that we offer up several Thumbprint wines to our Operatives in the field.
Toward the end of the tasting, a very jovial looking guy walked in and went around the counter – to face me directly. For a moment I thought that my cover may have been blown but then the guy smiled, shook my hand and asked me how I liked his wines. At that moment, I made a connection in my brain! I told him that I loved his wines – and then I lied and told him that I was a palm reader. Instantly he turned his hand palm-side up under a pool of light from the overhead halogen light.
After a moment of pretending to look at his palm it was revealed to me! The secret of the Thumb Print of each bottle of this follows wine could be found, of all places, on the winemakers thumb! The prints matched perfectly.
“So,” he said. “What does my future hold?”
“That’s easy,” I replied, “Many more great wines!”
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Dry Creek Valley region can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Janice and Brian Schmidt are meticulous grape growers who use sustainable farming techniques to supply optimum quality wine grapes. The result is a wine of distinct varietal character. Ripe peach, honeydew melon and subtle vanilla and toasty aromas and flavors create layers of complexity found in no other white wine varietal. 225 cases crafted. Vegan
About the Winery:
Thumbprint Cellars’ winemaker, Scott Lindstrom-Dake, has been making wine since 1995. “I developed a palate for fine wine, but as a college student I couldn’t afford to buy it. My mom and step-dad have been growing premium wine grapes for years and the light bulb just kind of went on- I can make my own wine.” So it began, a hobby in college to supplement the ‘cellar’ of he and his wife.
The first vintage was a great success. The wines were enjoyed by friends and family alike (all 4 cases of it), and demand began to grow. As requests for more wine grew, Scott decided to move away from ‘shiners’ (unlabeled bottles), and add a little flair to his wine packaging. Using a gold pen, he would write personal messages on each bottle he gave away or sold. During one such episode, Scott inadvertently grabbed the bottle where the gold ink was still wet – leaving a large gold thumbprint. He loved the look, and so thumbprint cellars was born.
About The Winemaker:
Scott Lindstrom-Dake, has been making wine since 1995. He told me, “I developed a palate for fine wine, but as a college student I couldn’t afford to buy it. My mom and step-dad have been growing premium wine grapes for years and the light bulb just kind of went on- I can make my own wine.”
Scott’s first vintage was a great success and his wines enjoyed by his close friends and family (all 4 cases of it). As requests for more wine grew, Scott decided to move away from ‘shiners’ (unlabeled bottles), and add a little flair to his wine packaging. Using a gold pen, he wrote personal messages on each bottle he gave away or sold. After writing on one particular bottle, Scott inadvertently grabbed the bottle where the gold ink was still wet – leaving a large gold thumbprint. He loved the look, and so Thumbprint Cellars was born.
Alcohol By Volume: 14.9%