Hendry Ranch Wines
2007 Block 28 Zinfandel
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
We maintain very high standards for the wines that we select for you, and when one exceeds that standard we issue a special alert. Made from St. George and Brandlin Vineyards rootstock, today’s Zinfandel from Hendry easily earns this recognition.
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Mission Codename: The most noble roots
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Hendry Ranch, and procure their vaunted 2007 Block 28 Zinfandel. Before the winery sells out, procure an exclusive allotment for our Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Hendry Ranch
Wine Subject: 2007 Block 28 Napa Valley Zinfandel
Winemaker: George Hendry
Backgrounder: 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. Napa Valley Zinfandels, characterized by their big, extracted flavors, are among the most popular with our Operatives.
For today’s wine, a vine selection from the Brandlin Vineyard was grafted to St. George rootstock, to deliver a wine that is born of historic nobility. Wine geeks rejoice!
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark ruby hues from core to the very edge of the wine. At the center, the wine is slightly darker ruby, while color maintains perfect density through and through. After a hearty swirl of the wine, ropey, wine-stained tears emerge slowly, and then move steadily down the glass.
Smell – Aromatic and lush, leading with blackberry, blueberry and plum. After some swirling, the wine reveals more complexity, with layers of red fruit, spice, licorice, dusty bramble and soft oak. Bing cherry and dark raspberry mingle easily with the licorice and more earthen aromas.
Feel – Soft and smooth on entry. After a moment, the wine coats the entire palate, spreading a mineral rich dryness from the center to the lips and cheeks. Medium-fine tannins and a juicy acidity help to spread flavors to the corners of the palate.
Taste – Dark blackberry, dusty bramble, tart plum and black cherry take the lead. Close behind, flavors of tart cherry juice, sweet red currant, smoky raspberry, brown spice and flint appear.
Finish – Long, lush and very flavorful, with flavors that start with black fruit and then go distinctly red. As the dryness spreads, it leaves behind dusty earth, spice and flinty minerals.
Conclusion – Born of important lineage and tended by Hendry, today’s 2007 Block 28 Vineyard Napa Valley Zinfandel is a special wine that our tasting panel just loved. Big and flavor-filled, this wine is a mouth-watering treat that delivers big flavor, intriguing aromatics and a dynamic feel. The wine evolves as it airs out; revisit this wine after it has sat in your glass for some time and you’ll discover a freshly torched Crème brûlée aroma. Pair this food friendly Zin with your favorite Summer barbeque or enjoy it all on its own. Drinking beautifully now, we are hanging on to a few bottles to see how the wine progresses.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: George Hendry
WINE EDUCATION: 1963, I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC California at Berkeley in engineering. My years of experience in the vineyard and the laboratory are the resources I call upon in my search to achieve the delicate balance of terroir, clone, viticulture and enology.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: I aim to make wines that reflect the unique terroir of our ranch: wines with refinement, elegance and balance.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Wines should be good dinner guests: they should participate in the conversation, interact with the other guests (the food), but they should never dominate.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1995
AGENT RED: Greetings, George. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Block 28 Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
GEORGE: Thank you, Agent Red – and The Wine Spies – for the opportunity to be here.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
GEORGE: Not a specific experience but a keen interest in wine and food pairing contributed substantially.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
GEORGE: The winemaking style of Tim Mondavi in the 80’s and 90’s.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
GEORGE: A fruit forward, full bodied (higher tannin) wine at an extremely affordable price.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
GEORGE: The Block 28 Zinfandel is terrific with anything on the grill, especially ribs and rib-eye steaks, but also lends itself nicely to braised, meaty dishes.
RED: In your opinion, what makes your Block 28 vineyard so special?
GEORGE: Wine regions are often suited to grow particular grape varietals. Early ripening grape varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are commonly planted in cool growing regions, and late ripening varietals such as Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon are often planted in warmer growing regions. In rare circumstances, a single site can be appropriate for both.
Our vineyard has a long established reputation for excellence in growing both early and late ripening varietals. The reason for this unique versatility lies in the unusual combination of terrain and climate found at our vineyard location.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
GEORGE: I spend my time making wine and doing winery tours and tastings.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
GEORGE: If you know us for our Cabernet Sauvignon, try one of our Chardonnays. If you know us for our Pinot Noir, try our Red Wine (a blend of our Bordeaux varietals). You may discover a new favorite. Most certainly you’ll discover another reason why Hendry is such a special place to grow grapes
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
GEORGE: Taste a lot of different wines, always with food.
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!
GEORGE: Thank you…
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Hendry Ranch Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Hendry Block 28 is located on bench lands west of the town of Napa. This 4.17 acre block is 160 feet above sea level and has thin, stony Boomer Series soils. Morning fog and strong afternoon breezes from San Pablo Bay moderate the maritime climate. The vines were planted in 1995 using St. George roots and grafted with bud wood selected from an old vine Zinfandel vineyard. The vines are spaced 6.9′ × 5′, cordon trained and spur pruned. A vertical trellis system supports the cordon and the canopy.
In 2007, the median bud break in Block 28 occurred April 2. Median bloom was May 22 and median veraison was July 31. Harvest was September 18, with a yield of 4 tons per acre. The alcoholic fermentation was completed in approximately one week in closed fermentation tanks. The wine was pressed and put into barrels for malolactic fermentation. Aging was fifteen months in French oak barrels, 65% of which were new.
Initial aromas of berry, licorice and spice. Fruit, acid and tannins are in balance. The palate transitions subtly from the initial berry fruit through mouth-watering acid, followed by pleasantly firm tannins. Complex flavors and aromas include dark cherries and berries, cinnamon, licorice, cocoa, forest and mushroom.
Block 28 Zin is terrific with anything on the grill, especially ribs and rib-eye steaks, but also lends itself nicely to braised, meaty dishes.
Block 28: The source for the original field selection cuttings in Block 28 (and Block 23) was the old “Brandlin Ranch” vineyard on Mt. Veeder. In the early 1990s, George leased and farmed this neighboring ranch. In addition to making his own wine, he provided fruit to some of California’s best zinfandel producers for their own bottlings. George was intrigued by the unique, brambly and complex character of the Brandlin fruit. As an experiment, he planted cuttings from the vineyard here at Hendry, to see if the genetics of the plant material or the terroir of their Mt. Veeder location was responsible for the difference in character. As we now know, the Brandlin selection genetics proved dominant over location.
About The Winery:
Hendry is a small estate winery located in the south-western Napa valley. Our 117 acres of vineyard tic on gently sloping terrain between 160 and 2% feet in elevation. Thin stony soils and a moderate climate allow the production of a wide range of varietals. Most of this property has belonged to the Hendry family since 1939.
At Hendry, we stress the importance of the vineyard, and we devote much of our time to understanding its variation on small scales. Combinations of soil, climate, varietal and clone are critical, and for this reason, we have divided our vineyard into 50 different blocks, each managed separately. To us, every block is a learning experience that teaches us about interactions among these variables, and how they influence fruit composition and wine quality. Small changes in any of them can have dramatic effects on the wine.
There has been vineyard on this property for more than 140 years, and we have been farming here for nearly half that time. As our knowledge grows, our vineyard blocks evolve, and we get closer to understanding the full potential of our vineyard.