What We Say 2006 Zinfandel
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Mission Codename: The hills are alive
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate the Mounts Family winery, and procure their popular estate zinfandel
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Mounts Family Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Zinfandel
Winemaker: David Mounts
The Mounts family grows a variety of grapes on their hillside estate in Sonoma County’s beautiful Dry Creek Valley. This is an area best known, perhaps, for its rollicking Zinfandel and today’s example from Mounts is classic Dry Creek. Agent Red and junior agent, Agent Syrah, recently paid the Mounts Family a visit on their estate vineyards, where they tasted their wines and learned about the family’s long history of farming, grape growing and winemaking in the valley. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A deep ruby red, with a heart of pure dark garnet. Held up to the sun, this wine shows great clarity, with is interesting for a wine that is minimally handled during vinification. When swirled, this wine shows a fast-settling surface and widely spaced skinny legs that move down the glass at varying speeds
Smell – Bold and aromatic, with mixed dark berries, toasty caramel, vanilla, black cherry strawberry and soft spice
Feel – Very round, lush and light-weight on the entry, then soft on the mid where the wine reveals its ripe tannins that coat the mouth and pucker the lips
Taste – Balanced with both bright and slightly dusky flavors of tart plum, black berry, blueberry, smoky strawberry, cassis and cherry, with a subtle hint spices including pepper, clove, very subtle cinnamon.
Finish – This wine finishes smooth with balanced flavors of its fruit, spice and a touch of earthiness
Conclusion – This wonderful Zinfandel clearly showcases the fruit and the talents of the Mounts Family. Certainly a fruit-driven Zin, this wine weighs brightness against richly dark aromas and flavors, delivering a wine of great balance and wonderful character. Bright acidity lends the wine to easy pairing without overpowering even lighter foods
It was a warm and beautiful morning. The temperature was close to 70 degrees and the sky was a perfect clear blue. It was a typical spring morning in the Dry Creek Valley. If only it was Spring! It was, in fact, the beginning of January where, even here in California, we should be experiencing cooler temps – and our share of vine-sustaining rains!
Agent Syrah was with me on another training mission. For this one, he led the mission to Mounts Family Winery. I had given Agent Syrah the directive of locating a superb California Zinfandel. I gave him free reign, allowing him to choose the region and winery.
Almost immediately, he came up with a winery.
“What do you have,” I asked.
“Mounts. 06. Estate Zin. DCV. Intel suggests a classic DCV, ripe, lush, balanced. 400 cases.”
“Very good. Next steps?”
“I would suggest a direct infiltration. No extended surveillance. Proceed immediately.”
With that, we made our way to mounts.
After a drive through the beautiful Dry Creek Valley, we found ourselves at the bottom of a long uphill driveway. the drive led through pristine hillside vineyards, eventually leading us to the winery at the crest of the hill.
As we parked, a woman approached. Agent Syrh said, “Lana Mounts. General Manager and wife of David Mounts, the winemaker.”
If I was not already impressed, I was now. Agent Syrah was shaping up to be a fine Wine Spy.
Agent Syrah took command, introducing Lana to me as though he already knew her, and I was someone she needed to know. He cut right to the chase, explaining that we had been investigating her winery – and that we were here to evaluate and – if we loved their wines – appropriate Mounts Family wines for our Operatives.
Lana took us to here wine cave and we were soon joined by her husband, David Mounts. We tasted through their wines and we were very impressed. I gave Agent Syrah the signal and he quickly negotiated for a quantity of today’s excellent Mounts Family Estate Zinfandel.
If you ever find yourself in the Dry Creek Valley, stop in to Mounts for a tasting. The vineyards are beautiful, the people a pleasure to hang out with – and the wines are really wonderful.
Finally, be sure to keep an eye out for Agent Syrah’s future missions. I have a feeling that this young spy is destined for greatness.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Mounts Family Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Mounts Family Winery
About This Wine:
Ripe and fleshy, with notes of strawberry, raspberry and toasty caramel. This delicious wine has a wide range of flavors beginning with zesty wild strawberry laced with white pepper, subtle sweet toast and juicy boysenberry. Our Zinfandel is well-integrated, balanced and finishes with lush ripe tannins.
About The Winery:
Quality through sacrifice is our priority at Mounts Vineyards. With this philosophy of excellence passing through three generations of wine-grape growers, it is our aspiration to extend it to our new family winery. We are excited to announce the arrival of Mounts Family Winery, opening in the Spring of 2007.
Mounts Vineyards has been growing premium wine grapes for over 50 years in the Dry Creek Valley. Every block design brings together the unique orientation of hillside exposure, soil type, and depth. With each of these factors we determine our variety, the appropriate clone, and the most favorable root-stock. The careful planning and consideration that goes into developing our vineyards allows the vine to grow to its full potential for vine health and balanced canopy growth. From them, we achieve the greatest possible expression of fruit character, balance, and structure in all of our wines.
Our hope is that you will appreciate the wines we have nurtured from our estate vineyards. We anticipate you will take pleasure in every sip, share them with your friends and family, and savor memories that our wines help create.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Vineyard: 35 year old head-trained vineyard & 10 year old trellised vines on bilateral cordon system
Harvest Date: September 3, 5, 10, 2006
Brix: 26.5 average
Cases Produced: 400 cases
Release Date: January 2008
Crush Notes: Whole berry destemming, five to seven day cold soak, twenty day total skin contact. Fermented in one ton open-top fermenters. Punchdowns three to four times per day during maceration.
Cooperage: Twelve months in 40% new oak barrels. A combination of French, American and Russian
barrels used. The remainder in one-year old and neutral barrels.