2006 C5 Stefani Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Stefani Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
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Mission Codename: Little Black Corvette
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Operatives have been clamoring for our return to the Dry Creek Valley, to procure another big, juicy and delicious Zinfandel. Send Agent Red deep into the DCV to secure an ample cache of the racy Zin
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Sidejob Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Stefani Vineyard Zinfandel – Dry Creek Valley
Winemaker: Jeff Lubin
Winery 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 big, extracted flavors, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A juicy-looking garnet with a slightly darker heart, but great clarity throughout. When swirled, this wine shows a free-flowing surface that settles quickly, leaving behind skinny legs that rocket down the wall of the glass
Smell – Wonderfully and richly aromatic, with cherry, chocolate, cassis, soft bramble and spice
Feel – Starts light with a pronounced wetness that is soon replaced by a medium-body and subtle weight as soft tannins take hold, drying the lips and tip of tongue
Taste – Deliciously sweet and slightly spicy, with jammy fruit flavors of dark mixed berries, cherry and cassis, with side notes of smoky chocolate and earthen spice
Finish – This wine finishes bright and long with balanced flavors of its jammy fruit and spice
Conclusion – I love it when we uncover hidden gems like today’s fantastic Zinfandel from SideJob Cellars! Winemaker Jeff Lubin built a great wine with his Stefani Vineyard Dry Creek Zinfandel. Bright, juicy and delicious, with just the right amount of spice this is a balanced but big wine that holds everything in check. At 15% ABV, this is a powerhouse wine, but the alcohol is perfectly integrated, not at all overpowering. If you are a fan of juicy Zinfandel this wine is a delight – on its own or with a great meal
I recently had the pleasure to meet up with Jeff Lubin. We discussed his Stefani Zin, and his unusual transition from background guy in the wine industry, to heading his own winery.
AGENT RED: Howdy, Jeff. Is it true that you sold your shiny new Corvette in order to start up your winery?
JEFF LUBIN: As heartbreaking as that was, yes! I had been working in the wine industry for nearly 20 years, so I learned a ton about wine during that time. That was fun, but I yearned for a more creative outlet.
RED: And so you decided to start your own winery.
RED: That sounds challenging. How did you manage to finance that?
JEFF: Ahh, you know the answer to that one, Red! I sold my Corvette C5. It was either that or my house, so the car went. The provided enough seed money to produce my first vintage.
RED: Now a few vintages in, I have to say that I am very impressed by your wine. The C5 Stefani Zin is rockin’. The wine is a powerhouse, but it also has its own elegance and restraint. It doesn’t smack your face off, but its no boring wine either. Tell me about the vineyard.
JEFF: Most people don’t know this, but Gallo grows some incredible grapes around Sonoma County. The fruit from their Stefani vineyard is actually farmed sustainably, on benchland vines. I get fruit from the same block each year and the Gallo folks could not be better people to work with.
RED: You know, the more I learn about Gall, the more impressed I become. That’s kind of shocking to me, even now. Gallo actually does grow some remarkably great fruit – and that fruit finds its way into some amazing wines.
JEFF: Agreed. Gallo has created superb vineyards, especially the Stefani Vineyard. Their approach is a great mix of high-tech and high-efficiency, with a great measure of sustainable practices.
RED: I am heartened to hear that they are big on sustainability. Tell me a little bit about this great wine of yours.
JEFF: I make wines that I love to drink! I believe in powerful elegance wines that are plush and easy to drink. I built this wine to be in your face, but not too over the top. The wine is very fruit-driven and very easy to drink.
RED: I agree, Jeff! We’re in love with your C5. I predict that, pretty soon, you’ll roll your success into a brand new Corvette!
JEFF: Amen to that!
RED: Thanks for speaking with me today, Jeff. I’m very happy to be able to introduce your great wine to our Operatives.
JEFF: Thank you, Red. I promise that they’ll love it.
RED: Cheers to that!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Stefani Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This wine is fully loaded with Bright, Rich, Jammy black cherry and currant fruit flavors beautifully balanced with hints Chocolate, spice and toasted oak.
About The Vineyard:
As we all know, all great wines start in the vineyard. With this in mind, I searched the Dry Creek Valley for the best vineyard available for our future vintages of C5 Zinfandel.
This search ended when I found an opportunity to lease seven rows atop the rolling hills of the renown Stefani Vineyard.
The Stefani Vineyard, is located in a southwest-northeast corridor connecting the warm hillsides of Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley. The vineyard’s unique combination of light fog early in the morning and gravelly clay soil distinguishes this vineyard from others in the same region.
SMS certified, the Stefani Vineyard is managed with Sustainable Management Sytems that minimize the impact on the environment.
About The Winery:
At the age of 18 Jeff Lubin unwittingly embarked on his career in the wine industry. Employed at one of the top wine shops in Beverly Hills, his boss recognized talent when he saw it and made him Assistant Manager. “It was the strangest thing,” says Lubin, “One day I was stocking beer and soda in the cold box, and the next day I was learning about Montrachet and Cabernet.”
Jeff worked with some of the finest wine retailers in Los Angeles. As his career progressed, he followed the natural path from retailer to wholesaler, to supplier, and in 1997 he joined Icon Estates (formerly Franciscan Estates) as District Sales Manager for Southern California. After a year in this new position Jeff was transferred to the San Francisco Bay area as Northern California District Sales Manager.
In 1999 Jeff was offered a position in the marketing department as Estate Manager for Simi Winery and Franciscan Oakville Estate Winery. With the success of those brands and the growth of the company through brand acquisition, he was promoted to the position of Marketing Director of Ravenswood Winery in 2002.
During his tenure at Ravenswood, Jeff took a more irreverent approach to marketing. Creating the “Zinfomania Tour” in 2003, he brought Ravenswood’s message directly to the streets through event marketing. From national barbecue competitions to the tracks of the American Le Mans and NASCAR, Lubin brought wine education to the average wine consumer “We had consumers leaving their beer at our tasting station and purchasing wine at the countries largest barbecue competitions, because they realized that wine is a better partner with barbecue,” says Lubin. “We need to continue to educate consumers on the pairing of food and wine, and that is the perfect partner for any meal.”
During his 25th year in the wine industry, Jeff decided to start a project that he could call his own. Needing to keep is “real job” to support his family, he formed SideJob Cellars (on the side of course). Selling his prize possession, a 1999 C5 Corvette Coupe for seed money Jeff launched his first self financed wine (and called it in memory of his much loved car). Using his new wine venture C5 Dry Creek Zinfandel as the foundation Jeff hopes to build his company and hopes to eventually make this his “Real Job".
Feeling the need to be released from the “corporate world” Lubin recently left his position at Ravenswood (luckily he had his SideJob!) and is currently working as a marketing consultant while he builds his own company.
“With all the consolidation our industry is experiencing the time is right for small start-up companies to flourish, I just want to use this opportunity to live my dream, and still pay the rent!”
Cases Produced: 600
Composition: 100% Zinfandel
Vineyard Designate: Stefani Vineyard
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Aged: 12 months French / American oak , 25% new French
Release Date: April 1, 2008
Agebility: Up to 10 years