2005 Zinfandel "Bountiful"
California: Sonoma County
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Camellia Cellars.
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Some of the best wines in the world are made right here in Sonoma County. Today’s wine is another great example of the quality that Sonoma producers are crafting. Be sure to check back with us every Tuesday, when The Wine Spies always feature one great Sonoma County winery.
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Mission Codename: Mutiny for the Bountiful
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Revisit Camellia Cellars and capture their beautiful Zinfandel
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Camelia Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Bountiful Zinfandel
Winemaker: Bruce Snyder
Today, Central Command throws Agent Red another bone by sending him back to Camellia Cellars in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, where his first taste of their Zinfandel left him longing for more. Read his mission report below for full details on today’s exceptional wine.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Cranberry juice cocktail in color with perfect clarity, a slightly darker heart, concentrated color to the edges of the glass, a still surface and even, perfectly spaced legs
Smell – Concentrated earthen jammy aromas of cherry, blueberry, blackberry bramble, subtle tomato stem and a hint of black pepper
Feel – Wet and cool up front, then round on the mid-palate with soft to medium tannins and bright, balanced acidity
Taste – Layers of chewy, jammy sweetness with cherry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, lightly toasted oak and soft spice
Finish – Fruity-sweet, then tails off slowly with a lingering palate-cleansing acidity, supple tannins and flavors that taper slowly and a little tartly
Conclusion – Bruce Snyder knows how to craft a wine that is perfectly balanced. With delicious flavors, deep aromatics and enough acidity to work with most foods, today’s Bruce-created gem is another great wine of distinction and incredible value. Winemaker Bruce Snyder and grower Chris Lewand once again prove that they can build wines that absolutely charm and delight the senses.
Today’s mission was an easy one. I visited the winery, I asked for another of their great wines, the winery gave me a number of cases, I reviewed the wine, and now the rest is up to you! Only pick up this wine if you really love great Zinfandel, however, because our Zin fans have been yelling at me to sleuth out some great Zinfandels.
The last time we had a mission to Camellia Cellars, the mission report was a real hit. Because I am feeling sort of lazy today, and because we got so much fan mail the last time we featured a Camellia Cellars wine, I’ll share it with you again:
Ouch! That bottle fell right onto my head. I can’t believe that this bottle shop could be so careless with the way they stacked their bottles in this display!
As I reach up to feel the lump on the top of my head, I catch a sudden movement out of the corner of my eye. I spin around to see two figures burst through the doors of the store. The urgency on their faces tells me to brace myself for trouble.
“We’re here for Agent Red,” One of the men shouts. “He needs to come with us now.”
Bravely, so as to keep others in the store from harm, I yell, “I’m Red. Who are you?”
“My authentication word of today is Medoc!”, one of the men says with great seriousness.
Medoc is a district in France’s Bordeaux region where Cabernet Sauvignon is prominently grown. The authentication word is accurate and I follow the men through the doors… and into the burgundy-colored helicopter waiting in the street.
Once on board, Agent White barks orders to the chopper’s pilot and we are airborne. Wasting no words, White concisely and severely lays out the scenario for me: Wine-hating Oeno-terrorists group D.W.I.N.D.L.E. (Destroy Wine, Imbibe Noxious Drinks Like Ethanol) has threatened to render Cabernet Sauvignon grapes unsuitable for vinification by releasing a gene which destroys the grapes inherent good qualities. Their plan is to release a cloud of this gene in an invisible carrier-gas, first over Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley, and then other of California’s Cabernet-famous regions.
Dry Creek Valley is where Camellia Cellars – where today’s mission was to take me – happens to be. With any luck, I would save Camellia, the Dry Creek Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon!
Suddenly an explosion rocks the helicopter and I am blown out of the open door and find myself free falling toward the neat vineyard rows below. Without losing my cool, I pull the ripcord on my parachute (good thing I had the foresight to wear one under my tuxedo before leaving Central Command earlier this morning) and float gently to the ground.
Unfortunately, a sudden gust of wind ruins what would have been a pristine landing, and blows me toward a tree.
I wake to find myself in a hospital bed and I realize I am not alone in the room. Standing by the bed is Agent White and two people that I slowly come to recognize from briefing photos I had studied earlier in the day; Camellia winemaker, Bruce Snyder, and grower, Chris Lewand, are here with a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon in hand. Smiles are splashed across all three faces.
Agent White says, “You dummy. The bottle shop called me. They told me that you bumped a wine display and caused an avalanche of bottles to cascade down on your head. You’re lucky you got off with just a few bumps and bruises.”
“The way you were carrying on, it sounds like you were having some interesting dreams,” Bruce adds.
I look up at them, laugh nervously, and, pointing at the wine bottle, say, “I hope you brought a corkscrew. I have to see if I saved Cabernet!”
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Lencioni Vineyard, where much of the juice for today’s wine came from, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
This seductive blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignane is our tribute to the great field blends of yesteryear. Slowly these old vineyards are being replaced and some of our heritage is lost each time. Enjoy this salute to the pioneers of our profession.
Our 05 ‘Bountiful’ Zinfandel is a very special wine that we made only 300 cases of. It is a field blend. That means all three grapes, about 9% is Petite Syrah, about 6% is Carignane, mixed in with this 85% Zinfandel vineyard. This wine is a tribute to the great field blends of yesteryear. Slowly these old vineyards are being replaced and some of our heritage is only being sustained with field blends like this.
The total acidity of the wine is 3.62%. It’s alcohol content is 14.8%. The natural fruit flavors really stand out.
Widely praised for its big, bold zinfandels, Sonoma County also produces outstanding Bordeaux varietals from warmer locations such as Dry Creek Valley. Lencioni Vineyards is situated on the eastern bench of Dry Creek Valley at 400 feet of elevation. The property overlooks the Lytton Springs area to the east and the middle portion of Dry Creek Valley to the west. Angelo Lencioni established the vineyards in 1898 with over 100 acres of cabernet sauvignon in 1988.
The warm, dry Mediterranean climate of Dry Creek Valley is ideal for cabernet sauvignon. Vines at this hilltop location are fully exposed to long sunny days for much of the growing season. The extended sunlight encourages grapes to achieve optimum ripeness while the cool nights build essential acids. Fruit slowly develops deeply tinted skins with intense flavors and soft tannins. Prevailing dry westerly winds minimize potential threats from frost and mildew. Annual rainfall is 40 inches while fog is minimal.
Cabernet clone #7 was planted on St. George rootstock and later trained on vertical two-wire trellising. “This clone gives rise to deep blackberry and cassis flavors,” says grower Fred Ginn,” while the unfailing St. George rootstock maintains a well-balanced, low-vigor vine.”
Soils mostly consist of a rocky bronze-red clay-loam. They are relatively lean and provide excellent drainage. This terroir – the overall effect of climate, geology, topography and vines – produces small berries with complex, concentrated characteristics.