Armida Winery

2009 Maple Vineyards Zinfandel

Zinfandel •Maple Vineyards

California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley

Offer Expired:Feb 09, 2012 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: Famous Grapes

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Infiltrate Armida Winery and secure a limited allocation one of their superb single vineyard Zinfandel

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Armida Winery

Wine Subject: 2009 Maple Vineyards Zinfandel

Winemaker: Brandon Lapides

Backgrounder: Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley is a treasure trove of great wines. While The Wine Spies have been trying to keep from acquiring too many wines from the region when the wines are great, so why not? Today’s wine is sourced from Tom and Tina Maple’s 27 acre vineyard near the intersection of Lytton Springs and Dry Creek Roads. Being dry farmed and with its clay and loam rocky soil it is particular well suited to exceptional 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. The Dry Creek Valley, where this Zinfandel’s grapes are are grown are characterized by their bright and balanced flavors, distinct minerality and spice are quite in popularity with our Operatives.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Intense dark magenta hues with even coloration – from core to edge. Skinny, wine-stained tears form high up on the glass wall, before rushing downward.

Smell – Dark and foreboding, with stewed mixed blackberry, plum and black cherry preserves. Just beneath these, dried meats, leather, oaky spice, dried brown tobacco leaf, black pepper and bramble round out the nose.

Feel – Smooth and soft on entry, then mouth-coating and plush with a weight that slowly but steadily increases, evening out to a medium-bodied feel. Plush tannins and a balanced acidity give the wine an elegant but still lively feel all over the mouth.

Taste – Bursting with dark black and red flavors, this juicy wine leads with sweet cherry juice, blackberry, cassis, braised raisin and tart black plum. Just beneath these, soft leather, cigar box, dark chocolate, brown spice and wild fennel make a tasty appearance.

Finish – Very long and filled flavor, this wine leads with juicy fruits and ends with soft spice, and wonderful earthen flavors that contribute to a softly dry ending that reminds you to take another big mouthful.

Conclusion – The 2009 Armida Winery Maple Vineyards Zinfandel is a real gulping wine! Our tasting panel found itself taking small sips, at first. We quickly graduated to bigger, satisfying mouthfuls. This is a such a delicious wine that you’ll want to try this for yourself! Plush and complex, this wine delivers a really exciting and tantalizing drinking experience. We dare you to sip your way through an entire glass. Enjoy now, or cellar for the next several years.

Mission Report:

SUBJECT: Brandon Lapides

WINE EDUCATION: BS. Fermentation Science University of California at Davis

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Internships: Testarossa Vineyards, RH Phillips, Brancott Cellars; Assistant Winemaker: Peachy Canyon Winery, Dutton Goldfield Winery

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Lets bring back the old school philosophies, using as little new technology as possible.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Fill up my cup, Mazeltov.” – Black Eyed Peas.


AGENT RED: Greetings, Brandon. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Il Campo today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

BRANDON LAPIDES: My pleasure, Red. I am always happy to see that we can make some of our wine available to your loyal Operatives!

RED:I could tell you, Brandon, but… you know… Tell me, was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

BRANDON: Growing up I was mystified that when our whole family would get together, there would be many lengthy discussions about different wines. My curiosity then led to my eventual love of wine.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

BRANDON: ’61 Latour. My grandfather had enough foresight to start buying Bordeaux wines in the late 60’s. I have been fortunate enough to have a few bottles over a span of 10 years. The wine has been the only wine that I have tasted that has ever lived up to its hype. The balance and complexities in the ’61 Latour after 40+ years of aging influenced my winemaking to try to have as much longevity in my own wines.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

BRANDON: I always recommend that consumers accompany our wines with food. Our wines pair well with a variety of foods and should be consumed with family and friends.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

BRANDON: I would love to invite any of your readers to come visit our vineyards, winery and tasting room right outside of Healdsburg. We have a beautiful patio with an incredible view overlooking our vineyards and manicured gardens. There is also a bocce ball court to test your skills after a glass of wine.

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 location of the Armida Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

This is our flagship Zinfandel and the 2009 lives up to, and exceeds our lofty expectations. The Maple Vineyard sits up on a bench above Dry Creek Valley on the East side, and is farmed utilizing old world farming techniques by Tom and Tina Maple. The vineyard contains many old vines, and is head pruned and dry farmed, making for an intense Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. This wine is signature Maple Vineyards with tons of lush fruit, cranberry, blackberries, and black cherry. Sweet vanilla oak, cola, and cinnamon finish out this well balanced wine.

About The Winery:

Hello folks! We purchased controlling interest in Armida Winery from Robert Frugoli in 1994. Wow, it is difficult to believe more than 15 years have gone by since we began this grand adventure. On little more than hope, faith, and a little help from our local friendly bank, we jumped into the “family owned and operated” wine business with both feet. Bruce arrived having just sold his super successful home furnishings business in San Jose, and Steve brought his experience including stints as President of Buena Vista Winery and COO of Freemark Abbey Winery. Bruce’s entrepreneurial spirit combined with Steve’s wine industry knowledge, and a whole lot of hard work, has transformed Armida Winery from a sleepy little winery producing pretty good wines to a much more lively place focusing on ultra premium, hand crafted, single vineyard wines from the top vineyards of neighboring Dry Creek, Russian River and Alexander Valleys.

We make over ten different wines showcasing some of the very best vineyards in Sonoma County including Maple Vineyard Zinfandel, Flora Ranch.

Zinfandel, Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir, Black Kite Pinot Noir, Bacigalupi Pinot Noir, Castelli-Knight Pinot Noir, Parmellee-Hill Pinot Noir, Stuhlmuller Chardonnay, Keefer Chardonnay and Durell Vineyard Chardonnay. From our seven-acre estate vineyard we produce Il Campo (“Field Blend”), a delicious combination of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. We also produce “POIZIN” (Zinfandel), “The Wine to Die For,” and “ANTIDOTE,” a beautiful Pinot Grigio in cobalt blue half bottles.

Over the years we have met so many interesting people. Many of our best customers are our friends and we enjoying seeing them and being able to spend time with them. We don’t make a whole lot of wine, preferring to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. As such, practically all of our wine is sold directly to members of our wine club and those of you who visit us at the winery. Our wine club always gets first crack at our smallest production wines, a privilege they seem to enjoy very much! We invite you to drop by here any time between 11am and 5pm to try our wines and enjoy the ambiance of our hillside property and views. If so inclined you might want to bring along lunch to enjoy on the large patio overlooking the Russian River Valley, or perhaps play Bocce Ball on the court above the pond. We take our wines very seriously, but once they are “made,” we make sure to have a whole lot of fun.

On any given day you will find us working in the tasting room along side Janet or Kristina, tending the garden, fixing something (maintenance is non ending!), doing office work (not our favorite) or helping wine maker Jessica and cellar master PW during harvest. We will be sure to say HI when we see you!


Technical Analysis:

Alcohol: 15%

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