Stephen & Walker
2009 Russian River Valley Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Salzgeber Chan Family Vineyards
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Holy Moly! Today’s Zinfandel is fantastic! If you are crazy about great Zin, please ponder our review, carefully – then act… quickly. Today’s allocation is very limited.
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Mission Codename: The Harmonious
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Operatives have been clamoring for a big, juicy and delicious Russian River Valley Zinfandel, worthy of their exacting tastes. Send Agent Red to our friends at Stephen & Walker to secure an ample cache of their finest Zinfandel
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Stephen & Walker
Wine Subject: 2005 Russian River Valley Zinfandel
Winemaker: Nancy Walker
Winery 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. The Russian River Valley is ideally suited for red grape varietals. Its early morning fog and coastal breezes result in a cooler climate than the neighboring wine growing regions. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfect garnet with a glinting ruby-red edge. Clear and slightly darker at the core, this wine is very pretty. After spinning the wine, tall, chubby, wine-stained legs fall from high up on the glass wall.
Smell – Heady and lush, with smoky, spiced dark cherry chocolate candy that leaps from the glass. As you inhale more deeply, the wine reveals blackberry, black cherry, bramble bush, dried black rose petal, dark strawberry and soft spice.
Feel – Soft, cool and light across the front-palate. Then, very gradually, the wine becomes softly grippy, gaining a light to medium bodied feel at mid-palate. Supple tannins and a soft acidity give the wine a very approachable yet gently complex overall feel.
Taste – Darkly juicy and very delicious, lead by brambly blackberry and dark cherry. Close behind these, dried meats, black plum, subtle cigar box and toasty spice appear.
Finish – Long and very flavorful, lead by that wondrously complex chocolate cherry candy from the nose. This flavor gradually yields to dark berry fruit, cigar box, dried flower petals and soft spice.
Conclusion – We love you, Nancy Walker! This is the best S & W Zinfandel we have ever tasted – and the best one, in a long while, that we’ve tried from any winery. From our first inhalation of this heady wine, we knew what it had in store for the rest of our senses. This wine delivered a sensory experience that had our entire tasting panel gushing with praise and excitement. When asked to characterize the wine in one word, most of us said, “Balance!”. Everything about this wine is held together in harmony. Aromas and flavors run the gamut, from sweet to savory. Bright acids and supple tannins frame the delicious favors. The finish is a delightful progression, with flavors that tail off, one after another, leaving the mouth with a soft dryness and a coating of flavor. If you love fantastic Zinfandel, do not miss out on this fantastic 2009 Stephen & Walker Russian River Valley Zinfandel.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Stephen & Walker Tasting Room, in downtown Healdsburg, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Barely 300 cases made of ths B-E-A-U-T-Y and it is destined to be an award winer and palate pleaser! This gorgeous wine has many layers and flavors of dense-ripe cherry zinfandel, rhubarb, cherry jam, vanilla candy, cola berry, and cinnamon-allspice-nutmeg. There is a very delicate white pepper in the aroma and on the long, smooth finish. From our growers at the Salzgeber Chan Family Vineyards on Westside Road just south-west of Healdsburg.
Our new Russian River Zinfandel comes from the Salzgeber Chan family. The Zinfandel is in true Russian River style and has bright red berry fruits, good acid and firm structure. There is a brilliant clarity of fruit, married with lovely butterscotch- and vanilla creme, followed by a delicate white pepper spice. The finish is long and smooth and inviting for another glass. The wine was aged in 100% new French oak for 18 months and has developed a lovely richness to compliment the red berry fruit from this region.
Tasting Notes: bright red berry fruits, good acid and firm structure; vanilla creme & butterscotch; delicate white pepper
About The Winery:
We are a small, artisanal family owned winery located in the heart of the California wine country in Healdsburg, California. We have spent most of our lives in the vineyards and wineries of California, so it was a natural progression to start our own, winery in 2004. Our three partners: Nancy Walker, Tony Stephen and Irv Bush collectively have half a century growing wine grapes, and making fine wines.
We are proud and passionate to bring you wines made from the remarkable vineyards we tend with our growers in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey Counties. Every bottle of wine we produce has our commitment and unique perspective, and that is to bring you the true flavors realized from the terroir. Based on our experience, we believe each wine is a specific, individual expression of the fruit from our vineyards and the craft of our winemaker.
We are excited to open the doors and welcome you to our new wine tasting room on the Plaza in Healdsburg. Come visit with us, taste our wines and savor the flavors of our Dry Creek Zinfandel, Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Monterey Pinot Noir or Mendocino Port.
About The Winemaker:
Our Winemaker, Nancy Walker, has had the luxury of working as a winemaker in California for the past 22 years. Based in Mendocino County, Nancy has traveled throughout the region visiting growers from Temecula to Portland and from the Shenandoah Valley of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Through her travels, Nancy has developed an appreciation for the regional and local differences that each unique vineyard produces and with this, she is able to tend to our vineyards with our small growers throughout the state, to produce wines of concentration and distinction.
Nancy is a graduate of the University of California at Davis, renowned for winemaking education. Her winemaking career began in 1984, as a cellar worker at McDowell Valley Vineyards. From there, she honed her skills at many local wineries starting with Geyser Peak (1984-1985) as Wine Chemist and QC Technician. From there it was on to Dunnewood (1985-1990), where she was the Assistant Winemaker for 5 years before moving on to Assistant Winemaker at Clos du Bois (1991). Nancy was then responsible for the set up and operation of the small family winery at Brutocao Cellars (1991-1998).
Nancy was then searching for diverse production and vineyard opportunities, and accepted a position at Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland (1998-2005). She then moved on to Winery Exchange (2005-current), an international beverage company, where she is responsible for the winemaking portfolio of Washington, Oregon and California.
Nancy manages has her own wine consulting business where she advises small, micro-lot wine brands of ultra-premium wines.
Appellation: Russian River Valley.
Vineyard Designation: Salzgeber Chan Family Vineyards.
Harvest Date: 10-1-09.
Sugar: 25.6 Brix at Harvest.
Acid: 0.81 g/100ml.
Aging: 18 months in 100% French barrels.
Fermentation: 10 days in open topped tanks.
Bottling Date: 7-25-11.
Residual Sugar: 0.11%.
Tannin: smooth, well aged, long finish.