What We Say 2008 Dry Creek Valley 'Cypress Block' Zinfandel
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Mission Codename: Myth of Artemis
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Mounts Family Vineyards and secure an allocation of their very prestigious Cypress Block Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Mounts Family Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2008 Dry Creek Valley ‘Cypress Block’ Zinfandel
Winemaker: David Mounts
The Mounts family grows a variety of grapes on their hillside estate in Sonoma County’s beautiful Dry Creek Valley. The Dry Creek Valley across the Russian River from Alexander Valley has a generally cooler and wetter climate which makes the growing season longer and more flexible than neighboring appellations. This is an area best known for producing rather incredible Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel.
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. Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, which are characterized by their balanced flavors, is among the most popular wines of our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark purple and nearly black with a barely clear core. Along the edges, the color shows its garnet and purple hues and when swirled, slow this legs cling to the side of the glass showing hints of the wine’s color.
Smell – Layers of red and black fruit mingle with smokey oak and black licorice. Bramble herbs, dusty earth hints, exotic spice and black peppercorn lingers with the bright fruit and invites a sip.
Feel – Very smooth and dry, this full-bodied wine was well rounded but firm tannins and despite its relatively high alcohol does not come across too hot on the palate. Its balanced and soft acidity and textured minerals frames expansively coats the tongue and lingers into the finish.
Taste – Jammy and fruit forward with generous flavors of red and black cherry and other dark bramble fruit leading the way and following by ripe blackberry and boysenberry. Well integrated complex notes of smokey and toasted oak, bramble herbs, spice, pepper and licorice linger and frame the fruit.
Finish – Long with this ripe fruit clinging to the palate while the other complex flavors fade until you’re left with only a hint of fruit framed by a well structured tannins and minerality that make the mouth water for another sip.
Conclusion – The 2008 Mounts Family Vineyards Dry Creek Valley ‘Cypress Block’ Zinfandel is a delicious wine that is fully representative of the quality vines of the Mounts Family Estate Vineyards. Rich and ripe cherry invites you in with smokey oak, licorice and spice from the nose and last all the way into the finish. A big wine, with expressive flavors and aromas and sturdy structure, but big without knocking you out. Enjoy this wine now (decant for best aromas and flavors) or cellar for five to seven years. This wine will pair great with anything from firm aged cheeses and smoked meat, simple barbecued burgers to a grilled rib-eye steak.
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
DAVID MOUNTS: This wine is our Cypress Block Zinfandel; it comes from grapes at the highest point on our ranch where two very old Monterrey cypress trees reside. The vines are head trained, spur pruned with an average age of 40 years. It is typically the earliest fruit we bring in and it tends to have the deepest flavors and color of all our Zinfandel blocks. Since we ferment blocks and even rows into separate lots we knew right away this wine was special from the time it got into barrel. With such low yields in 2008 this wine lends itself to big rustic mountain tannins and deep flavors of blackberry and currant spice. French oak was used in aging the wine, roughly 50 percent being new. It is 100% Zinfandel and was unfined and unfiltered after 17 months in barrel, only being racked once.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
DAVID: I typically enjoy this wine by itself but if I’m barbecuing something up on the grill, it’s a great pairing. I’ve also really enjoyed this wine with spicy stew type dishes poured over a bed of rice; my wife makes great spicy Russian dishes that work well with it.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?
DAVID: For the region as a whole I think having warmer days and cool nights without the overlay of fog helps really preserve the deep fruit character of Dry Creek Valley wines without such high disease pressure. Also having more clay based soils with higher water holding capacity tends to give more fruity overtones to all varietals and preserve that ever needed acid.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
DAVID: Everything. If we’re not handling the wines to get them secure for the warm summer months we are preparing to bottle them up. During the spring and summer especially it seems like there is one event after another which is great because we bring new and exciting faces and palates up to the winery. My wife and I also open the tasting room on the weekends during this very busy tourist visiting time. Between all that, we are raising three amazing kids, finding a free moment can be challenging!
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!
DAVID: We love sharing our wines with you – and your Operatives!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Mounts Family Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Mounts Family Winery
About This Wine:
Our ‘Cypress’ block is situated at the highest elevation on our ranch. This 6 acre block of head trained Zinfandel is deeply rooted in some of the richest iron, volcanic soils in the head trained Zinfandel is deeply rooted in some of the richest iron, volcanic soils in the Dry Creek Valley. The fruit concentration we find in the wines made from this block are deeply layered with waves of blueberry and blackberry preserve with underlying freshness and acidity. The intense licorice compote that lingers on your palate shows great complexity in this blocks ability and powerful structure from an ideal vintage. Typically the ‘Cypress’ block is one of the first blocks harvested off the ranch ahead of all other the ‘Cypress’ block is one of the first blocks harvested off the ranch ahead of all other varieties. In 2008, with great maturity and dehydration in the fruit, this block was harvested on the last day of August. A combination of low crop yields and ideal sun harvested on the last day of August. A combination of low crop yields and ideal sun exposure never delayed its development throughout the growing season. In 2008 we were fortunate not to experience mother natures climatic extremes, making for a very uniform and ideal growing season. The health of these vines planted in proper soil conditions gave us one of the best vintages off this ranch. This is 100% Zinfandel from this block, aged for 17 months in 60% new French barrels with little racking and no fining or filtration; sediment will occur.
About The Winery:
Quality through sacrifice is our priority at Mounts Vineyards. With this philosophy of excellence passing through three generations of wine-grape growers, it is our aspiration to extend it to our new family winery. We are excited to announce the arrival of Mounts Family Winery, opening in the Spring of 2007.
Mounts Vineyards has been growing premium wine grapes for over 50 years in the Dry Creek Valley. Every block design brings together the unique orientation of hillside exposure, soil type, and depth. With each of these factors we determine our variety, the appropriate clone, and the most favorable root-stock. The careful planning and consideration that goes into developing our vineyards allows the vine to grow to its full potential for vine health and balanced canopy growth. From them, we achieve the greatest possible expression of fruit character, balance, and structure in all of our wines.
Our hope is that you will appreciate the wines we have nurtured from our estate vineyards. We anticipate you will take pleasure in every sip, share them with your friends and family, and savor memories that our wines help create.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Mounts Estate Vineyards
Vineyard: 34 Year Old Head Trained Vineyard
Winemaker: David Mounts
Crush Notes: Whole berry destemming, five day cold soak, 12-14 day total skin contact. Fermented in one ton open fermenters. Gentle basket pressing.
Cooperage: Seventeen months in 60% new French, tight grain, Burgundian toasted barrels.
Harvest Date: August 28, 2008
Average Brix: 27.0 average
TA: 0.61 g/100ml
Cases Produced: 225 cases
Release Date: January 2011