Fritz Underground Winery
2005 Dry Creek Valley Syrah
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
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Mission Codename: Deep Underground
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure a delicious Dry Creek Valley Syrah for our exclusive Sonoma County Vintners day.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Fritz Underground Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Dry Creek Valley Syrah
Winemaker: Christina Pällmann
Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley was established as an AVA in 1983. Situated north of Healdsburg in the foothills just east of California Highway 101, its growing season is longer due to the warmer and wetter climate than its surrounding AVAs. The region is predominantly known for Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel, but the stable climate suits many other varietals as demonstrated in today’s delicious Syrah.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple and almost black with bluish hues and a dark, but clear core. Dark ruby edges and slow fat legs cling to the glass when swirled.
Smell – Medium bold in intensity with aromas of jammy blackberry and plums with a solid black pepper spice and earth component. Hints of floral violets and smoke complement the nose of this wine.
Feel – An initially warm and smooth attack with a spicy backbone. Full-bodied with firm, but fine tannins give this wine structure and the medium acidity provides a soft almost chewy quality.
Taste – Well balanced and integrated flavors of blackberries, plums and other black-fruits that are rounded out with a toasty smoke component, hints of leather and tobacco, earthiness and spicy black pepper.
Finish – Long, clean and lingering with balanced flavors of its fruit and spices.
Conclusion – The Fritz Underground Winery 2005 Dry Creek Valley Syrah shows tremendous elegance and finesse. It doesn’t overpower you with fruit like many of its contemporaries and with good earthiness, spice and complexity it retains a touch of old-world flavors but it is still juicy. This wine is perfect by itself or paired with anything you through on the grill.
The Fritz Underground Winery is a Wine Spies lifer winery. That is, once we recruit a winery like Fritz who, in our opinion can do no wrong, we keep procuring their best offerings. Provided for your information is this previous-mission recap:_
“Do you smell BBQ?”, I asked.
“Shhhh. I’m calculating soil density. If I’m off by just a little, our tunnel could cave in on us!”
My companion on this particular mission, codename: The Mole, is an Asset I have worked with before. Usually, he’s reliable and calm. A model asset indeed. Today, however, I’m afraid he’s gone off the deep end.
As I raised my binoculars to my eyes, I said, “Honestly, Mole, I don’t think it’s necessary to tunnel into the Fritz wine cave. I know these people, they’re happy to share their wines with us. Besides, they’re expecting us for lunch. Do you smell that? Definitely BBQ.”
The distance meter in my wine-oculars (clever name, _right?) read, ‘500 meters’. At this distance, the mound that marks the entrance to the subterranean wine cave is clearly visible. Further scanning reveals the object of my immediate desire, Fritz Winery’s fabled outdoor Barbecue. Fritz’ invitation to lunch and wine was something I had been looking forward to all week.
In his nasal voice, The Mole asks, “But, Red. Er, I mean Mr. Agent… SIR!”
“Its okay to call me ‘Red’, honest,” I reassured him for the umpteenth time.
“But Sir Red, I already requisitioned the drilling rig, and hybrid dump trucks,” he said.
As patiently as I could, I explained that we were invited by Fritz Winery and that his reinforced system of tunnels would not be necessary.
He started to protest, but was interrupted by a low growl. He froze. I grinned.
“It’s my stomach,” I said. “Don’t you smell that? Let’s go!”
He harrumphed annoyingly but followed along. This was supposed to me a reward for The Mole, for ‘job well done’ on previous missions. If it were not for The Mole’s resourcefulnesses and dedication to our tradecraft, I would have left him behind, leaving more food for me.
We arrived at the winery, just in time for lunch, beginning with their amazing Estate wines. The food was excellent, the wine was better, and the people here at the winery are warm very sincere about producing exceptional wines – in small quantities.
The Fritz approach to making wine is one that I have deep respect for; their dedication to winemaking as a form of artistic expression shows in their wines and in this beautiful winery.
Thank you, Fritz Winery! The Wine Spies are now lifetime fans.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Fritz Underground Winery’s vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Our second vintage of Syrah is ruby red in color. The nose is aromatic with roses, violets, leather and pepper. In the glass full blackberry and boysenberry fruit take over with undertones of spices and earthy notes.
About The Winery:
Pretend that you are far away in the Northern California wine country tucked away in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. High upon a hill nestled into the side of a hill is our subterranean winery. Jay and Barbara Fritz purchased this pristine property in 1970. After spending get away weekends from San Francisco at this rich Sonoma property for many years, the Fritz family decided to build a winery in 1979.
Today our credo is to approach winemaking as an art form. Art, in its truest sense, inspires a shift in consciousness. Our mission is to create wines of genuine artistry, capable of transforming the way we think about the potential of Sonoma County’s premier appellations.
The new generation of Fritz wines began with a commitment to unequivocal quality. Since 1996, changes at Fritz Winery have been swift and dramatic: Volume has been slashed by two-thirds to only 12,000 cases per vintage. New winemaking equipment is both esoteric and state-of-the-art. An underground cave ages all red wines. The vast majority of wines are vinified on native yeast. All white wines are currently single-vineyard designates, with red wines now in barrel soon to follow suit.
The result? Cognoscenti now rank Fritz wines among California’s top tier producers. Our limited edition wines now command a following among serious collectors. One hundred per cent of Fritz wines are sold on allocation. And the best is yet to come.
Keep in mind that our vineyards are our greatest asset. Like the most celebrated wines of France, our limited edition single-vineyard wines showcase the singular expression of each superb viticultural site.
From the perfect microclimate of the Dry Creek Valley, we produce Sauvignon Blanc, Old Vine Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since we have the best of both worlds, we also have property in the very cool growing region of the Russian River Valley where we produce world class single vineyard Chardonnays.
Appellation: Dry Creek
Production: Only 178 cases produced.