Mounts Family Winery

2006 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah

Petite Sirah •Estate Grown

California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley

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Mission Codename: The Purple Tongued Devil

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Infiltrate the Mounts Family winery, and procure their most popular wine, their delicious estate Petite Sirah

Mission Status: Accomplished

Current Winery: Mounts Family Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2006 Petite Sirah

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 for producing rather incredible Petite Sirah. Agent Red 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 – Deep burgundy with an inky purple-black heart, a heavy and tight looking surface, dark edges and tightly-spaced legs that are extra slow to emerge – before they streak down the glass

Smell – A big rush of juicy ripe blackberry leads the way, followed quickly by blueberry, mushroom, subtle smoked meats, soft oak and a hint of creme brulee

Feel – Round at the very tip of the tongue, with a mid-palate grippy dryness that leads to a bright and coating all-over-mouth bigness, with chewy medium to big tannins.

Taste – Richly layered and highly concentrated flavors of dark stonefruit, jammy roasted blackberry and blueberry, cassis, dark cherry and sweet forest floor

Finish – Dry and long with flavors that begins with slightly tart, and then go sweet as flavors linger for a long time

Conclusion – This is a very delicious Petite with great aromatics and a unique feel that is weighty, without being syrupy. Decant for 30 minutes or more, and you will be rewarded with greater softness and more natural flavors. This is a big and chewy wine that will stain your tongue purple on first sip, and I guarantee any Petite lover that this wine is a sure winner. As for pairing ability, contrary the perception that Petite Sirah too easily overpowers most foods, this wine maintains enough acidity to make it a great mealtime companion. We paired this wine with a fresh tomato soup. Find the recipe below, and enjoy this wonderful wine.

Mission Report:

What follows is a recap of our initial mission to Mounts Family Winery, wherein we refer to the Mounts Zinfandel which we featured last month. While that was an excellent wine, we like their Petite Sirah even better

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

About This Wine:

Our Petite Sirah is a brooding gem with a dense inky black/purple color that will cling to your glass. Exotic aromas of blueberry, cola and vanilla will intoxicate your senses. Complex and intense flavors of dark wild berry and sweet tobacco will coat your palate. Mounts Family Petite Sirah leaves a lasting impression.

Crush Notes: Whole berry destemming, five 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: Sixteen months in 50% new French, tight grain oak, remainder in one year old and neutral barrels.

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.

Technical Analysis:

Appellation: Dry Creek Valley

Vineyard: A combination of 3 – 15 year old cordon-trained spur-pruned vines.

Harvest Date: September 17, 2006

Brix: 26.5 average

Alcohol: 15.2%

Cases Produced: 265 cases

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