Bradford Mountain Winery
Zinfandel •Grist Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
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 Bradford Mountain Winery.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!: We are proud to present the best Zinfandel we have tasted this year! Need we say more?
ORGANIC WINE ALERT!: Today’s wine is made from 100% organic grapes. Note: We will always issue a special alert when we show organic wines
SAVINGS ALERT!: Enter coupon code SPYZIN at checkout and we’ll give you Free Ground Shipping on orders of 6 bottles or more
Mission Codename: Grist for the mill
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Rove the hills and valleys of the Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, recover an outstanding Zinfandel for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bradford Mountain Winery
Wine Subject: Grist Vineyard 2005 Zinfandel
Winemakers: Troy McEnery (winemaker) and Webster Marquez (associate winemaker)
Backgrounder: Zinfandel wines can be big, noisy, pepper-filled beasts of a wine. Today we have sleuthed for you one of our all time favorite Zinfandels, Bradford Mountain’s incredible Grist Vineyard Zinfandel, a wine of remarkably fresh flavors and aromas that, together with a great mouth feel and balanced character, delivering a wine drinking experience that is not to be missed. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below to learn more about this wine. Be sure to place your order before we run out, however, we expect this wine to move fast
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep dark, almost blood red, but but perfectly clear with deeply concentrated color right out to the edges of the wine and chubby, slow-moving legs that run down the glass at varying speeds
Smell – Gorgeous is the best single-word description we can assign to the beautiful aromatics of this wine! With smells of fresh mixed wild berries, chocolate tart with plum and mint, sweet pipe tobacco, with a fresh green smell that we can’t quite identify. Its not a vegital smell, nor is it an herbaceous aroma. Rather, it just smells like green, and we love it. Inhale deeply and you’ll see what we mean!
Feel – Instantly rich and round in your mouth, with a bright and full-bodied feel. The wine coats your mouth, but does not feel slick, oily or cloying. What you find here is a tenderness and a brightness that is balanced against supple tannins, rich and lean, bold and lavish, yet fun and refined.
Taste – Rich and brightly concentrated with intense sweet flavors of freshest mixed berries, sweet herbs, softest tar, soft exotic spices and a hint of dark chocolate and a hint of mint
Finish – Sweet and extremely long with a slight dryness that invigorates your senses and invites you to keep on sipping!
Conclusion – This is an incredible Zinfandel with unique fresh and bright flavors of fruit, with a bright rush of perfect aromas that encourage you to inhale deeply -again and again – before you even taste the wine. When you tire of teasing yourself with inhalations, the feel and flavors of this wine sing out as deeply original and incredibly delicious. This wine gets my heartiest personal recommendation to any Zinfandel fan or any interested in learning just how awesome a Zin can be.
**:: FLASH TRAFFIC :: PRIORITY ALPHA ! :: EYES ONLY :: *
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT ISSUED: Midnight, July 2nd, 2008
WINE SPIES AGENT: Agent Red
INTEL SOURCE: Field Asset, Codename: ‘Crljenak’
AGENT RED REPORTING:
Crljenak, a developing field asset, alerted me to Bradford Mountain Winery and their 2004 Grist Vineyard’s Zinfandel just one week ago. It was Crljenak’s first field report that got my attention:
“Sir, Crljenak reporting! I have located the perfect Zinfandel. You must secure a quantity of the wine before word of its greatness spreads – and the winery runs out! You won’t be disappointed.”
Details about the wine followed.
While I am used to somewhat fanatical recommendations from our various assets, this one struck as as one to assign a high priority to. You see, “Crljenak” is a top-level industry insider. While I cannot reveal his or her true identity, I can tell you that a review from this person can make a wine – or destroy it.
I secured samples of the wine and was, indeed, blown away. Today’s wine delivers the goods, with a perfectly balanced mix of delicious flavors, tender feel, deeps aromas and marvelous finish.
Both winemakers associated with this wine are stars in the industry, Troy McEnery having crafted remarkable wines for Hambrecht Vineyards, C. Donatiello Winery and others – and Webster “Web” Marquez is making waves with his own projects. Both, however are dedicated to extracting the fullest expression of the Grist Vineyard when making Bradford Mountain’s Zinfandel.
After conducting my initial review of the wine, I quickly sought out winemaker Troy McEnery. During a brief phone call, Troy imparted a great deal of information about the wine and the vineyards. What follows are portions of his comments, extracted and transcribed for this report:
“The Grist Vineyard is recognized as a premium Zinfandel vineyard. The grapes grown there are highly sought after and wineries like Gary Farrell Winery, Turley Wine Cellars and others purchase Grist grapes for their premium wines.”
“The vineyards are head-trained, trellis vines that are 35 to 45 years old. The 1000’ elevation, the iron-rich volcanic soil and the West Dry Creek Valley exposure all contribute to growing outstanding Zinfandel grapes.”
“This wine has a really juicy wild-berry ripeness with excellent acidity.”
“I don’t understand what some Zinfandels are even for? Zinfandel can be seen as the ‘Mike Tyson’ of wine varietals, but this is This is no ‘clown’ of a Zinfandel. This is a fun wine, sure, but its also a sincere wine that stands on its own, or can pair without food – without overpowering you.”
After tasting the wine, loving it and then collecting all of the intel that I could on the wine, I infiltrated the winery and secured today’s limited allocation for our Operatives to enjoy. Be SURE to try this great wine, before we run out.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the gorgeous Grist Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Another vintage where the first word out of our mouths is WOW! How can a wine be soooo good?! As we sit down to evaluate this wine, we’re never disappointed and always amazed at how a vineyard can produce wines of such power and distinction year after year! As you swirl this wine, aromas of zesty wild berries, chocolate mint, black liquorice, sweet tobacco and cedar waltz across the olfactory floor dancing their way to your brain. With a gentle kiss, the wine whispers, “taste me” and then the splendid decadence of pure mountain Zin floods the palate like a torrent of rain from a northern California winter storm. The wine is rich, yet lean, and brimming with concentrated boysenberry and mocha coffee flavors. The finish is long and luscious with tart berries and just the right balance of acidity and velvet tannin to give this opulent wine strength, beauty and charm. Wow, let’s go back for more!
The Grist Vineyard:
The soil is red, volcanic and rugged, the growing season unusually long here. The location of Bradford Mountain in the Dry Creek Valley provides the wines we produce with the characteristics that are the mark of this famous appellation: sweet herbs, tar, plums and aromatic, oriental-like spice.
About The Wines:
There is a detectable mountain influence in these wines, while at the same time a tempering from the ocean, permitted by the site’s elevation. The soil is red, volcanic, and rugged, and the growing season unusually long here. While Bradford Mountain frequently becomes its own weather-station, often hosting weather patterns very different from those on the valley floor, it has enough inherent Dry Creek-ness to give Zinfandel and Syrah the mark of this renowned appellation: sweet herbs, tar, and aromatic, oriental-like spice.
About The Winery:
Bradford Mountain wines were born out of the Hambrecht family’s belief that there was something beguilingly distinct about the fruit from their Dry Creek Valley vineyards. Planted on a hilltop plateau 1100 feet above the valley floor, the vines produce a low-yielding crop (2 ¼ tons per acre) of intensely flavored grapes with an irresistible wild, brambly flair. Once sold to some of California’s most celebrated wineries, the fruit deserved to be bottled independently, and given the opportunity to tell the story of this terroir.
In 1998, ground was broken to build the Bradford Mountain Winery. A small, simple building was erected. Money was spared on architecture, and spent prudently on the best equipment available for boutique-scale winemaking: square, jacketed, open-topped tanks, a pneumatic overhead punch-down system and 168 carefully chosen barrels. The first fruit, 56 tons, was crushed in October 1998. Our Viticulture team has experimented widely with vinification and viticulture to best augment the uniqueness of the site. The very essence of the wines from Bradford Mountain is merely a reflection of the health and vigor of the vineyards. Thus we have developed an organic viticulture program to produce the finest fruit possible. After much tasting and a careful culling, the first vintage produced 1837 cases of wine. The Winery continues to evolve and develop small lots of artisan wines.
There is both a detectable mountain influence, as well as a tempering effect from the Pacific Ocean only 15 miles to the west. The soil is red, volcanic and rugged, the growing season unusually long. The location of Bradford Mountain in the Dry Creek Valley provides the wines with the characteristics that are the mark of this famous appellation: sweet herbs, tar, plums and aromatic, Asian-like spice. However, due to the elevation from the valley floor, Bradford Mountain is definitely host to its own mesoclimate, often seeing weather patterns very different from those in the valley below, thus creating a much lower yielding yet intensely flavorful crop.
Appellation: 100% Dry Creek Valley
Vineyards: Grist Vineyard
Barrel Aging: 16 months in European, French and American oak barrels; 40% new oak
Bottled Date: March 2006
Release Date: September 2006
Suggested Retail: $35.00