What We Say 2005 Two Moon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Listen up, Operative! Today’s wine is a fantastic, delicious, elegant Cabernet Sauvignon – that is among the best we have sampled in some time. Please consider our review, carefully, and don’t miss out.
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Mission Codename: Walk Two Moons
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: After a long surveillance, complete the infiltration of Stryker Sonoma – and return with their award-winning, single-vineyard, mountain-fruit 2005 Two Moon Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Stryker Sonoma Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Two Moon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Tim Hardin
Backgrounder: Agent Red first discovered Stryker Sonoma in 2007. He loved the wines, and he placed them under immediate surveillance. Despite his best efforts at infiltration, the winery held tight to their precious wines – making them available exclusively to customers that buy the wines, directly, and those that are smart wine club members. Never one to give up, though, Agent Red persisted, eventually garnering the friendship of the winery. Ultimately, they allowed Red unprecedented access to their archives – which is how we were able to secure today’s spectacular Stryker Cabernet Sauvignon.
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. The grapes for today’s wine grew at 2000’ elevation, where ripening is slow, yields are low – and fruit is extraordinary.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest ruby red with even coloration, from clear, darker core, out to the edge of the glass. When swirled, ultra-wine spaced, skinny, wine-stained legs start high on the glass, and then run very slowly downward.
Smell – Sweet blackberry preserves, black cherry, plump red raisin, bramble bush, plum and sweet cherry take the lead. As the wine breathes, it opens up, revealing spiced black cherry, leather, sweet tobacco leaf, dried fall leaves and a hint of tomato vine.
Feel – On opening, the wine is very round and soft, on the entry. As it breathes, it takes on a more medium-bodied feel, with a distinct crushed-velvet plushness at the mid-palate. The more it breathes, the more the wine takes on an elegant medium to full-bodied feel. While it does fill the palate, becoming almost chewy, the wine never becomes heavy of overpowering.
Taste – This wine leads with lush mixed berries with overripe blackberry, black cherry, tiny dried black currant and unsweetened dried cranberry. Underneath these, brown spice, warm tobacco leaf, subtle leather, subtle dried herbs and a hint of black pepper add complexity.
Finish – Packed with dense blackfruit flavors, this wine stretches out for a very long time, Red and black fruit gradually yielding to leather, tobacco, subtle herbs and soft spice.
Conclusion – Today’s 2005 Two Moon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Stryker Sonoma, is a big, flavorful wine that shows great complexity – but also great balance for such a big wine. With big fruit and dark, spiced flavors, this is a big wine that won’t overpower the palate or boss around a more subtle meal. In fact, with great acids, this wine lends itself to easy paring. We enjoyed our review bottles with Kobe beef burgers with Gorgonzola, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms. Well worth the wait, after our protracted chase, this wine deserves your special considerations. It has found an obvious place on our table – and in our hearts.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Tim Hardin
WINE EDUCATION: Viticulture at Santa Rosa Junior College – and the School of Hard Knox.
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: 1994 – 1995 Zmoore, Gewirtz, Position: “Cellar Monkey”; 1996 – 1999 Lynmar, Pinot Noir, Position: “Everything Monkey”; 1999 – Present Stryker Sonoma, Bordeaux House, Position: “Wine Whisperer”
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Let the terroir speak for itself, focus on the varietals and style that lend themselves to the soil and climate of the location of the vineyard.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1999 Two Moon Vineyard Cuvee, Dry Creek Valley, This wine was a Merlot based blend with a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon
AGENT RED: Greetings, Tim. We are thrilled to be showing your 2005 Stryker Sonoma Two Moon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
TIM HARDIN: Thank you, happy to have the opportunity to share a very limited release with your fans
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
TIM: I can’t tell you specifically who it was, but there was a chef that catered an event at Lynmar and the way the wines and plates complemented each other brought both harmonious level. Looking back, I was a young beer drinking Cellar Monkey who would enjoy a glass of wine after work. This event really opened my eyes to what is possible when everything is in balance. Since then it’s been damn hard NOT to have a glass of wine with a killer meal. Think about it, “here’s an incredible Osso Bucco and a glass of milk” nope, that’s not going to work!
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
TIM: My winemaking style is influenced by the effort and work that is put into producing incredible Pinot Noir. Handling the fruit delicately and nurturing the grapes through crush and fermentation produces incredible wines. Moving from the Russian River to Alexander Valley I realized that applying this style of winemaking to our Bordeaux varietals here could produce wines of balance and fruit forward character that is rarely seen. Using open top fermentors, and hand punch downs are just a few of the techniques we apply to our wines.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
TIM: I make wine for myself, wines that fit into the style and character that I love to drink and share with those around me.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
TIM: The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon from Two Moon was a monster Cab when it was first released! Heavy on the Tannins it screamed for a big meal with plenty of protein. Through the years its body and character has come into balance and now those tannins remind me of rich black tea and the fruit really shines. Still a large Cabernet Sauvignon but with the elegance of age.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
TIM: We are a small winery surrounded by vineyards, I can’t think of a better way to watch the leaves turn then a BBQ on a brisk fall afternoon. Think a nice cut of Chateaubriand grilled then finished with a white wine reduction, shallots, tarragon and lemon. Include a nice mix of fall vegetables. I usually open up my bottle of Two Moon, pour a glass and sip as I grill, when the meal is ready the wine is open and showing wonderfully!
RED: In your opinion, what makes the [REGION] so special?
TIM: Two Moon Vineyard is an incredible location high above the Valley floor in Dry Creek. Named after the reflection of the full moon as it rises above the vineyard pond, it is truly a unique location in Sonoma County. It’s isolation and altitude are reasons why I selected the vineyard to source fruit for our vineyard designate program here at Stryker Sonoma.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
TIM: Well, we brought in our last grapes on Wednesday the 9th and I’ve been spending my days punching down the fermenting lots, dropping wines to barrel and getting ready for a much deserved vacation. When you are in the peak of harvest you don’t realize just how long your days are, it’s only once all the grapes are in that you look back and realize just how much fun and hard work you put in over the last few months.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
TIM: Our wines, we hope embody our hard work, attention to detail and the joy we take in making them. We are young, and passionate about wine and strive to express this through balanced wines rich in fruit and deep in character. I always say that folks should enjoy our wines the way we do, decanted and surrounded by friends and family.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
TIM: Feel free to stop on by the winery anytime, our wines are an extension of our terroir and having an opportunity to stand at our tasting room bar, sip on a glass of Cabernet and enjoy the view is something I enjoy just about every day.
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 Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Stryker Sonoma can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
High on a remote ridge that overlooks dry creek valley lies two moon vineyard, the only vineyard in the appellation situated at over 1700 feet. We like high elevation fruit, grapes that have longer ‘hang time,’ ripen more slowly, and have characteristically more intensely flavored fruit. Two Moon, as you may know, is known for its husky, redolent dark fruit and this cabernet is no exception.
This Cab is big and bold, black as tea, with a brawny tannic structure that is bound to enliven meat entrees such as grilled rack of lamb and chateaubriand with sauce béarnaise. As this wine is still young, we suggest further ageing or decanting prior to consumption.
About The Winery:
We are few, so to ensure quality we make wine in small amounts. We enjoy diversity, so we make our wines from a number of vineyards and varieties. We embrace life, so we share our love of living with those who join us either for a day or for a lifetime.
Our philosophy is reflected in the design of our winery and approach to winemaking. Bold but thoughtful. A blend of traditional and modern. Efficient, but lively and spirited. Our wines, we hope, embody our hard work, attention to detail and the joy we take in making them.
We are all a bit free-spirited and Bohemian by nature. Conventional rules, devoid of understanding or heart, hold no appeal for us. Guided by youthful enthusiasm and tireless dedication, we produce balanced wines high in quality, rich in fruit, and deep in character.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Vineyard Sources: Two Moon Vineyard
Varietal Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Cooperage: French, 50% New
Maturation: 23 Months
Total Acids: .58 g/mL
Residual Sugar: Dry
Production: 278 Cases