2006 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Sawyer Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s double gold medal-winning single vineyard estate Zinfandel from Wilson Winery is an exceptional wine with beautiful flavors, aromatics and feel. If you are a fan of Zins from Wilson, you already know how great this wine is
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Mission Codename: The Cast Away
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Operatives have been clamoring for a big, juicy and delicious Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, worthy of their exacting tastes. Send Agent Red to the DCV to secure an ample cache of the best Zinfandel he can find
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Wilson Winery & Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Estate Zinfandel – Sawyer Vineyard
Winemaker: Diane Wilson
Backgrounder: Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels, which are characterized by their elegance and their rich flavors, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A deep and juicy-looking ruby red with a heart of pure garnet. Held up in sunlight, this wine shows perfect clarity. When swirled, this wine shows a fast-settling and springy surface, leaving behind tightly packed legs that absolutely crawl down the glass
Smell – Deeply aromatic, with dark blackberry, raspberry, bright cherry and cassis, with soft spices and cigar box, followed by subtle cocoa
Feel – Round and velvet-smooth on the entry, then more grippy on the mid where the wine reveals an increasing richness as ripe tannins settle in as the mouth is coated – making you want to smack your lips!
Taste – Smokey and bright at the same time with a balance of delicious ripe fruits (which echo the nose) and darker flavors which are savory and very tasty. Present on the palate are jammy blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, smoky strawberry and dark cherry, with a gorgeous soft spice and a very subtle mushroomy earthiness
Finish – This wine finishes smooth and ultra-long with balanced flavors of its fruit, spice and a touch of earth
Conclusion – This is a big stunner of a Zin! With bold jammy fruit flavors and elegant spices, this wine is richly layered and deeply delicious. If you are looking for a Zin which is filled with character and long on aromatics and flavors, this is a wonderful selection. With great balance and perfect acidity, this wine is very food-friendly. Diane Wilson impresses us with this great single vineyard Zinfandel. I’m certain that you’ll love it as well.
The following was recovered from Agent Red’s W.I.N.E. (Wine Internet Nexus Engine) hand held device. It contains entries from his personal electronic field diary. Agent Red is still missing – but is presumed to be fine:
10:09AM : While on a mission in the Dry Creek Valley today, I found myself at the edge of Dry Creek, needing to cross. Normally much more shallow, less wide and more slow-moving, the creek was engorged. Without properly assessing the situation, I decided to cross. I had found a narrow area with a number of evenly spaced rocks which reached from shore to shore. I successfully traversed to the middle – but then realized that I had misjudged the course; I was unable to step to the next rock. It was just too far away. Deciding to turn back, I stepped to the previous rock – and dislodged it! It tumbled noisily into the rushing water. STRANDED!
10:22AM : I am in the middle of the Dry Creek, stuck on a large rock. I cannot figure out how to get across.
10:36AM : I tried shouting for help but I am too far away from any of the neighboring wineries. I tried my phone, but there is no service here.
10:42AM : I am due to check in with HQ in 18 minutes. If I fail to check in, certainly they will begin a search for me.
11:02AM : I can only presume that a search has begun. It should only take H.Q about…. oh, no… twenty-four hours to locate me?!
11:47AM : The water is too cold and too fast-moving to attempt a swim to shore. I am getting hungry – and thirsty.
12:20PM : Recalling the tasting crackers in my daypack, I carefully take it off my back. I am disheartened to find only a few. I feel something heavy at the bottom of the bag and reach down inside. It’s a wine bottle. In fact, it’s a Wilson Zinfandel! Not just any Wilson Zin, this is their Sawyer Vineyard Zinfandel. A 2006 at that!
12:21PM : The crackers are gone. I am reluctant to open the Zinfandel. I may need it after nightfall.
12:22PM : I am going to open the Wilson. I retrieve the opener from my bag. I had been saving this bottle for a special occasion and, well, it does not get much more ‘special’ than survival.
12:25PM : I fumbled the bottle! I screamed, “Willllll-sonnnnnnnnnnnn!” as I watched it float away. I am now certain that I won’t make it through the night.
12:29PM : I spotted Wilson! It got caught in the branches of a fallen tree. It is bobbing up and down tauntingly.
1:16PM : How can I get that bottle?! Maybe I’ll go mad here on this rock…
1:27PM : The water level is rising. Another few inches and my rock will be fully submerged. I think that I need to make a swim for Wilson. If I die today, at least I’ll die happy.
1:56PM : I am soaking wet and cold – but at least I reached Wilson. My arm is hooked around a branch, and I am clinging to the bottle with the same hand. My free hand alternates between operating my W.I.N.E. device and searching my pockets for my corkscrew!
2:05PM : I managed to get the bottle open. Wilson is providing me with great comfort.
2:27PM : I am wet and I am cold, but I am serenely happy. Wilson deserved its double Gold Medals, no doubt. This wine is a pleasure to drink on its own, and I can’t help but think about how great it would be with a nice tritip.
It is here that the diary entries end. We do have unconfirmed reports from local wineries that they spotted a singing and very drenched figure matching Red’s description. Agents have been sent to investigate.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Wilson Winery & Vineyards – and Dry Creek to the south – can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Double Gold Medal — 2008 North of the Gate Wine Competition
About This Wine:
Enticing aromas of rich spicy blackberry, fresh raspberry and black pepper with hints of mocha fill the glass. Smooth, creamy flavors of lush mixed berries, ripe plum and spicy white and black pepper marry seamlessly with the oak and tannin to form a full-bodied, layered and complex wine. Delicious now, this wine will also benefit from a year or two of bottle aging.
About The Winery:
The old tin barn on Dry Creek Road has been a local landmark for over a century. Once the Fredson Winery, the historic building was reborn in 1993 when we bought it to pursue our dream of making wine from our own grapes. Wilson Winery is proof that dreams do come true.
We began purchasing vineyard land in Dry Creek Valley in the early 1980s and planted our first vines in 1988. Today we farm 220 acres of prime Dry Creek Valley hillside vineyards. The varietals planted include Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Merlot.
With our vineyards established, we began fulfilling our dream—making our own wine. Our first wine was a 1994 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from their Sydney Vineyard. Shortly after releasing the wine, we entered it into the 2000 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. We were thrilled to be acknowledged with both a gold medal and Best of Class honors. Realizing that not only did we have great vineyards but could produce award-winning wines, we began expanding our operations.
Restoring the old barn and getting county permits took a few more years, but by 1998 the complete winemaking operation was housed in our own winery. Slowly the operation grew to include additional varietals and the annual production reached 3000 cases.
In 2001, we opened a tasting room on the backside of the old barn. When you think “backside of the barn” you don’t picture a breathtaking panoramic view of Dry Creek Valley. But that is what you will find behind this barn. As you relax on the tasting room veranda, it is easy to lose track of time as you soak in one of the finest views of the valley while sipping a glass of Wilson wine.
We invite you to visit our tasting room, enjoy the magnificent view and sample our delicious wines.
Diane and Ken Wilson
About The Winemaker:
Diane Wilson – Wilson Winery is fortunate that Diane Wilson has always been a quick study. Combining her passion for cooking with her educational background in biochemistry, Diane’s style of winemaking is equal parts of science, passion and art.
Approaching winemaking with the same proven techniques that have wowed people with her culinary skills, Diane uses common sense along with her other senses to craft her wines. “Looking at the color, smelling the wine each step of the way and tasting it throughout the process are my best tools, just as they are in my kitchen,” says Diane. “My philosophy of winemaking is to maximize the fruit flavor in the grape. Make sure each wine has a front, a middle and a back so you produce a full, rich mouth feel.”
“To do this, it is all about balance–having the right amount of skin contact during fermentation to extract flavor and color without getting too much tannin, leaving the wine to age in barrels for the ideal length of time to soften the tannins and add the flavor of oak without overpowering the delicate flavors of the fruit.
“Some of my colleagues may find my methods unorthodox, but they work for me. From cooking I have learned my sense of smell and taste are my strongest tools. Because of that, I try to randomly smell and taste from each lot every month.” By doing this, Diane knows each lot so well that when it is time to blend and bottle, she always has a good idea of what the “recipe” should be.
Along with her winemaking duties, Diane is also the general manager, marketing director, events coordinator and strategic planner of Wilson Winery. You will often find Diane helping out in the tasting room and she hosts every winery event. To add to her busy schedule, Diane has three teenagers at home who her keep her on her toes.
“For me the winery is not a job, it is a part of my life, my passion. Every year, Ken and I take the children to a family vacation spot in Canada for several weeks. It gives us time to relax and bond with the kids. When we return home, the first thing I do is check on all my wines. They are also a part of my family. I produce them, I nurture them and when it is time, I let them go. I guess the winery is helping me prepare for that day when our children leave home.”
Diane blends her roles as winemaker and culinary wizard in ways that we all benefit–enjoying the sensory pleasures of Wilson wines.