Peterson Winery

2005 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel

Zinfandel •Bradford Mountain Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley

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Mission Codename: The Cougar

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Peterson Winery. Secure their Il Granaio Sangiovese, a wine that is much sought-after by their club members

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Peterson Winery

Wine Subject: 2005 Peterson Bradford Mountain Vineyard Zinfandel

Winemaker: Jamie Peterson


Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley is a treasure trove of great wines, but it is Zinfandel that is king in this region. Zinfandel is one of our operatives favorite grape varietals, and for good reason, so many wonderful California wines are made from this varietal. Related to the Italian Primitivo grape and 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. Today’s wine is a delicious DCV Zin that is worthy of your cellar

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep, dark garnet to nearly burgundy with dark garnet-hued edges and a deeply dark core. The surface has a delightfully springy and taught look to it when swirled. When the wine settles, it shows off unevenly spaced legs that start high and slow on the glass, then streak downward

Smell – This wine leads with a deep and gorgeous waft of fresh blackberry and blueberry. These are underpinned by wild bramble berry and soft fennel with beautiful spice of white and black pepper, mingled with soft oak

Feel – Smooth and dry with supple tannins and and easy acidity, this medium bodied wine is very easy to drink with only a touch of tartness at the back of the palate as a soft and very pleasant minerality sets in

Taste – Fresh and jammy blackberry leads this delicious wine. Then blueberry, raspberry and smoky plum follow. These commingle with a soft and earthy black pepper, vanilla and soft oak

Finish – This wine finishes clean and long, with lingering berry fruit, soft spice and dusky stonefruit

Conclusion – Like the other Peterson Zinfandels we have tasted, today’s 2005 Bradford Mountain Vineyard Zinfandel is a real thriller. Beautifully balanced and perfectly integrated, the concentrated fruit leaps out of this wine – without overpowering the senses. With supple tannins and a bright acidity, this wine makes a great food companion. I also enjoyed sampling the wine on it’s own, taking my time to enjoy the great feel and beautiful fruit of the wine.

Mission Report:

Learn how Agent Red first became aware of Peterson Winery, which is now a Wine Spies favorite in the Dry Creek Valley – in this mission recap:

Today’s wine was one of those happened upon discoveries. You know, the sort that you find almost by accident.

I was making a pickup at one of my dead-drops in the Dry Creek Valley. A local asset had left me samples to consider for a future mission. When I got to the spot, I found a small parcel, obviously not large enough to contain wine. I grabbed it and walked toward my car, all the while making certain that I was not being followed.

On opening the parcel, I found a hand-written note inside:

This location compromised. Proceed to [REDACTED] for the package.

I entered the coordinates into my GPS and made my way to the new drop. On arrival, I scanned the area. Not a person in sight. I proceeded on foot and retrieved the package. It was then that I noticed what appeared to be a a winery across the valley.

Sample bottles safely stowed, I decided to investigate.

“Peterson Winery” read the sign on the building. My pulse quickened. Peterson was a name that had come up a few times recently. I had meant to place them under proper surveillance, but had not had the time to schedule a mission. I got out of the car for a closer look.

I scanned the area, making note of all point of ingress and egress. A good spy should be able to make a quick getaway if needed.

“Are you here to taste some wines today?”

I spun around to see a young man, perhaps in his 20’s. I played along.

“Sure,” I said.

And so the tasting began. We tasted through the range of the wines, and when we got to the fabulous Shinbone, I made the decision – right then and there – to reveal myself and procure the wine for our Operatives.

“Listen,” I said. “I can get this on the calendar next week. Can you move that fast?”

The young man, who turned out to be Jamie Peterson, the winemaker and son of founder/owner Fred Peterson, quickly agreed to allow us access to the wine.

I left with samples, and flash forward two days to the present… Viola! This excellent and very exciting wine is available to you today, dear Operative. If you love big, expressive, juicy, delicious and robust wines, this one is certain to please.

Wine Spies Winery Check:

The location of the Peterson Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

This wine bolts out of the chute like a Brahma bull. Intense spicy black pepper and lush blackberry fruit aromas emerge against a vanillin oak and mineral background. Seductive favors burst on the palate—spicy rich blackberry, white pepper and the ever present mineral essence threads through to the lingering finish. Integration of fruit, oak and tannins make this wine a great cellar candidate, yet it may be tough to restrain yourself from drinking it now.

Fred’s (Peterson) Vintaged View: I fell in love with mountain wines and mountain vineyards in 1979 when I frst laid eyes on Mount Eden Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I carried that devotion to mountain wines with me when I moved up to Dry Creek Valley in 1983 to develop a vineyard and build my house on Bradford Mountain.

The Bradford Mountain Zinfandel comes from a 30+year-old block planted in the early 1970s. With the exception of a few old Carignane vines in the block, it’s pretty much all Zinfandel. Unlike the benchland Zins, the mountain Zin has a peppery quality and more black fruit character (think wild blackberry).

I’m fond of saying that this is wine with incredible Zin fruit on the palate and a structure like a great cabernet. Though few Zinfandels can stand up to more than a decade of bottle aging, this is certainly one of them and will reward those folks with the proper storage and patience to lay it down.

About The Vineyard:

Bradford Mountain Vineyard – Planted in the 1980s on the western edge of Dry Creek Valley, our Bradford Mountain Estate Vineyard is 32 acres on the very top of the mountain (elevation 1000 feet). We took great pains to fnd the proper varietals and clones to plant in the mineral-rich mountain soil. The well-drained, red-clay soil, combined with sunny days and cool nights, produces small, intensely favored Cabernet grapes with a higher acidity and a lower pH than valley fruit. These grapes are picked at a higher brix (sugar level) to achieve the perfect balance for exceptional wines.

About Peterson Winery:

We are located in the Dry Creek Valley, in the northwest region of Sonoma County. Peterson Winery’s new tasting room is now open for wine tasting and sales daily 11am-4:30pm. We often pour our wines at local tasting and charity events as well. Check for upcoming events on the News & Events page.

Our wines are also available for tasting at the “LOCALS” tasting room in Geyserville. See for directions and details. Click on the “Find Us” link for a map to the winery and to LOCALS in Geyserville.

If you have any questions about Peterson Winery or our wines, send us an e-mail at and we’ll respond as soon as we can.

We can’t tell our whole story here, but we hope that by looking at a few photos and reading a bit more about us, you’ll find out who we are and why we love to make great wines.

About The Winemaker:

Jamie Peterson – It’s not by coincidence that I’m the winemaker at Peterson Winery. I’ve been helping my father at the winery for the past ten years, back to the days of labeling the bottles by hand. I worked two harvests here at the winery, in 2000 and 2001, and the 2001 harvests Down Under in Australia at Lowe Family Winery, and then in New Zealand, at Ngatarawa Winery. With this solid base of experience, much to my excitement I was given the opportunity of taking over winemaking duties in June 2002, and have been loving it ever since.

Overseeing the quality of the wine from when the grapes come in all the way through to the bottle is my main responsibility and priority. Since it’s just my father and I, this keeps me pretty busy, but when I’m not checking up on barrels or wrestling with the bottling equipment, you can often find me at one the numerous tasting events we attend, whether it is for charity or for the love of wine. In my free time, I’ve started a Peterson Winery softball team with my friends here in Healdsburg. I also enjoy cooking, foraging for local culinary mushrooms, reading, and am a Giants baseball fan. Continuing winemaking tradition of Zero Manipulation.

Technical Analysis:

Composition: 100% Zinfandel

Appellation: Bradford Mountain Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County

Harvest Date: September 26, 2005

Alcohol: 14.8%

pH: 3.50

TA: 0.65g/100ml

Barrel Aging: 21 months

Type of Oak: 20% new French oak barrels, 20% new Hungarian oak barrels, 60% 3-5 year-old French oak barrels

Bottling Date: July 20, 2007 (unfned & unfltered)

Production: 410 cases/15 cases (1.5L Magnums)

Release Date: December 2008

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