What We Say 2006 Dry Creek Valley Syrah
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Mission Codename: The Great One
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate the Mounts Family winery, and procure their most popular wine, their delicious estate Syrah
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Mounts Family Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2006 Petite Sirah
Winemaker: David Mounts
The popularity of Syrah is undeniable. Big and bold in flavor and texture, it packs a concentrated punch of flavor that many people love. This Rhone varietal, although many believe that the grape originated in the Persia region, is 100% French in lineage. The Syrah grape is directly descendant from the Monduese Blanche and Dureza varietals and is grown worldwide with great success. Today’s delightful Syrah is a bold delight with original flavors, deep aromatics and a ultra-fine mouth feel.
Today’s Syrah hails from the Mounts Vineyard is Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley. The Dry Creek Valley across the Russian River from Alexander Valley has a generally cooler and wetter climate which makes the growing season longer and more flexible than neighboring appellations.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep dark purple with a darker inky core. Deep purple concentration of color to the edges with a fast-moving surface that, when swirled, leaving behind slow-moving, tightly-packed chubby legs
Smell – Bold intensity with flavors of ripe and jammy blackberry and smoky blueberry tart with raspberry layered over hints of toasty and vanilla oak, dark mocha and a touch of savory spices.
Feel – The full-bodied wine is deep, rich and well-balanced. Easy acidity and fine grained medium tannins make this wine easy to drink and compliments its plush flavors.
Taste – Luscious ripe and concentrated black and red fruit including blackberry, bright red cherry, raspberry and plum, nicely integrated with earthy components, spice, black olive, mushroom and dark chocolate
Finish – Long and rich with lush, lingering flavors of earthy fruit and spice that are well supported by the wines fine grained tannic structure
Conclusion – A brilliant and delicious offering from our good friends, the Mounts. David shows off generations of family farming and winemaking experience with this solid and uncompromising Syrah from his family estate vineyards. With deep fruit that is balanced against earthy spiciness, this wine has great structure, making it a fun and easy wine to drink – without losing its big character. Pair this wine with anything you might throw on the BBQ. We enjoyed ours with blackened blue cheese and bacon burgers. Delicious!!
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 today’s Syrah 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 Syrah 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 Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Mounts Family Winery
About This Wine:
The 2006 vintage was a challenging year in the vineyard but rewarded us in the cellar with muscularity, structure and ripeness. We experienced lower yields by half in our Syrah, coming off of a larger than normal 2005 crop year. The naturally lower yields resulted in intense, concentrated wines. Although we experienced sunburn in other varieties, our Syrah is grown near Dry Creek and suffered very little burn due to proper canopy management and overhead irrigation. Our Syrah was harvested in the first few weeks of September, much earlier than our other varieties. We were pleased with the concentrated maturity levels in the fruit for being as early as it was. The vineyard is divided into two blocks. Our north block is planted to Clone 1 which gives us rich, intense blue and black fruit flavors that are very fleshy and jammy. The South block is planted to the Durrell clone which gives us much more exotic flavors of black olive, raspberry, and truffles. In the cellar these blocks were
fermented separately using wild and selected yeast strains. A few of these were co-fermented with Grenache giving the final blend about 3 % Grenache and 97% Syrah. They were racked together in the spring of 2007 and put back into barrel for another 9 months. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered in November of 2007. – David Mounts, Winemaker
Crush Notes: Whole berry destemming, five day cold soak, 12-14 day total skin contact. Fermented in one ton open-top fermenters. Punchdowns three to four times per day during maceration. Gentle basket pressing.
Cooperage: Sixteen months in 37% new French and American oak.
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.