Peterson Winery

2005 Bradford Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon •Bradford Mountain Estate Vineyard

California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley

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Mission Codename: Natural Instincts

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Secure a delicious Cabernet from our friends at Dry Creek’s Peterson Winery

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Peterson Winery

Wine Subject: 2005 Bradford Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Winemaker: Jamie Peterson


Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley is a treasure trove of great wines. While The Wine Spies have been trying to keep from acquiring too many wines from the region when the wines are great, why not? Today’s selection is from the Bradford Mountain Vineyard which is located on the western edge of DCV and its higher elevation and unique soil composition most influencing the grapes grown there. This wine is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deepest dark garnet with an inky heart and concentrated color, right out to the rim of the glass. On giving the wine a swirl, the surface of the wine shows as softly springy. It settles down quickly, leaving behind tightly-spaced clusters of fast-moving legs that streak down the glass, giving us a hint of the weight of the wine

Smell – Bold and bright, with big blackberry leading the charge. This beautiful aromatic is followed by fresh bramble, plum, currant, oak, soft spice and flint. Under all of these sit atop a soft green chile pepper aroma

Feel – Lush and medium bodied, the wine is soft on its initial attack, then fine-grained tannins make a gradual appearance. So, too, does the fine acidity of the wine. After a moment, brightness yields to a slight drying of the lips, cheeks and tongue

Taste – Bold and bright, with well balanced flavors of dark mixed berries, tart plum, sweetwoods, dark chocolate shavings, spice, fresh herbs, minerals and bell pepper

Finish – Clean and crisp, with brightly hewn fruit. The wine evolves in your mouth, moving from lush and soft, to more dry and mineral

Conclusion – The 2005 Peterson Winery Bradford Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is a dynamic wine that moves brightly through your senses, evolving as it goes. This wine is more light-hearted than the 2001 Bradford Mountain that we tasted from Peterson earlier this year. This gives us a great window into how this wine is likely to evolve. Where the 2005 is youthful and ready to drink now, I believe that it will continue to gain complexity and sophistication as it ages. Enjoy some now, on it’s own or with almost any foods, and cellar some for the next several years.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Jamie Peterson

DATE OF BIRTH: 03/20/1981

PLACE OF BIRTH: Saratoga, CA (Mt. Eden Vineyards)

WINE EDUCATION: Ongoing, on-the-job. UC Davis Extension chemistry/lab analysis/viticulture classes.

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Grew up in Peterson Winery, helping with odd jobs in the winery and vineyard as a teenager. Worked first harvest at 19, and then traveled to Australia and New Zealand to work harvest in 2001. took over as Assistant Winemaker at Peterson Winery in 2002. Given full Winemaker responsibility in 2006.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Zero Manipulation”/Minimal intervention, letting the vineyard and vintage show through in each bottling. No fining, no filtration. Minimal new oak usage, minimal additions and SO2 use.

SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Dry Creek valley Zinfandel.


AGENT RED: Greetings, Jamie. We are thrilled to be showing your 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

JAMIE: Thank you for giving me the time.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

JAMIE: It’d be hard to pick one. Growing up with the sights, sounds, and smells of the winery and vineyards, there were many inspirational moments. But I didn’t think I’d be getting into the life of wine as deeply as I have until I worked harvests in 2001 in Australia and New Zealand. Seeing the international wine community and how it ties people together made me decide to come back to the family winery and join full time in 2002.

RED: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?

JAMIE: From my father, growing up in the winery, and being able to learn on the job.

RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?

JAMIE: I believe that vineyard and vintage driven wines are the only reason for small wineries to exist. I prefer wines from different vintages to reflect the growing season (otherwise why put the vintage on the bottle?) rather than use additives (acid, tannins, enzymes, gum arabic, overblown new oak) or technological processes (filtration, alcohol removal, micro-oxygenation) to create wines that taste the same each year. I don’t filter or fine our wines, and I predominantly use native yeast fermentations and malo-lactics, so we have to keep things clean and monitor closely, as we don’t choose to use the tools for fixing mistakes that some wineries do. We source from the same vineyards each year, so there is a thread of continuity running through vintages. Our vineyards are sustainably farmed, with a few certified organic, and a number of others dry-farmed.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

JAMIE: I’m inspired by European vintners who have made wines from the same places for generations, and haven’t succumbed to commercialism.

RED: How long have you been making wine?

JAMIE: 2002 was my first full year of working with wines from grape to bottle. 2000 was the first full harvest I worked with my father. At 28, I have 12 harvests under my belt (including working in both Australia and New Zealand in 2001).

RED: Who do you make wine for?

JAMIE: I make wines for my own tastes, and then we find enough people that share our ideas to buy it. We don’t submit our wines for scoring or competitions.

RED: Tell me, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?

JAMIE: The Dry Creek Valley is a special place to grow grapes because of the amount of different types of quality terrain for growing a variety of varietals. From the Eastern bench to the Western hills and mountains, the range of soils and exposures lends itself to the diversity of wines we like to make.

RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?

JAMIE: Realize that winemaking is both simple and complicated. It’s all just fermented grape juice, but it’s all about the details; every minute little thing you do or don’t do to the grapes or wine will affect how it turns out.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

JAMIE: Just finishing up harvest; we took in 50% more grapes than we ever have before, as our newly replanted Bradford Mt. Vineyard comes into production. Right now is the “what just happened” phase, where we continue to do more of the lab tests to confirm that what we are tasting is what is really there, and there are no surprises. Everything from this vintage is looking great, and I’m excited to have been able to take in this much from such a great year.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today

JAMIE: The 2005 growing season was cool, and one of the latest harvests we have ever done. The Cabernet was let hang for a long time, to bring the natural mountain acidity into balance, and the resulting wine is richer and darker in fruit than the Bradford Mountain Cabernet usually is. We blended in some Cabernet Franc to soften the wine and provide some floral complexity. This wine is one of the finest I think I have seen into bottle, and will really benefit from aging.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

JAMIE: I love this wine with a grilled rib-eye steak, roasted rosemary-garlic fingerling potatoes, and sides of sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, sautéed spinach, and good sourdough bread (from the Downtown Bakery here in Healdsburg).

RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know

JAMIE: I like to go mushroom hunting (for chanterelles and porcini), even though as a teenager I accidently picked and ate Death Cap mushrooms.

RED:What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?

JAMIE: Zinfandel is the wine I seem to open the most often of our own, but I also drink a lot of Rhone wines, and wines from the Ventoux.

RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?

JAMIE: So many people look for the “best” wine. I always ask them “best for what?” Every wine has a place and time for appreciating (unless it just is a wine that really sucks…), and it’s more important for people to figure out what types of wine they like, and why, than what others think is the best. Trust your own palate rather than what a critic or others say.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and about your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

JAMIE: Thanks for having me, and for appreciating and selling our wines!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

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

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

Being seduced by a wine may seem impossible, but once you taste this beauty you’ll understand. Rich dark berry fruit aromas mix with cedar essence and forest foor. Luscious blackberry and currant favors layer over spicy cedar and a gentle core of minerality. These favors, seamlessly woven into the softening structure tannin and oak, continue on through long, lingering fnish. Drinkable now if you can’t wait, this seductive mountain Cab will continue to mellow and develop with additional bottle aging.

Fred’s (Peterson) Vintaged View: This is our most terroir-driven wine—a Peterson wine that shouts out its origins with every sip. The Bradford Mountain vineyards produce wine grapes with a unique and very recognizable minerality, and that expression of place reaches its apex in the Bradford Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

The intensity of the Cabernet Sauvignon is complemented with exotic fruit and wonderful aromatics from Cabernet Franc to create a wine that offers layer upon layer of favors and aromas. Though big and bold, this is still a wine with balance and fnesse. It is not one of those over-oaked, over-extracted and high-alcohol creations that are currently the rage with some wine critics, yet have no place on the table, nor the potential for successful bottle aging. This is a wine that will defnitely beneft from both bottle age and/or decanting to allow the wine to open and reveal all of its depth and complexity.

Vineyard: Bradford Mountain Estate Vineyard, on the western edge of the Dry Creek Valley is where Fred and Kathleen live and raised their children, and where Fred planted his first vineyard in Dry Creek in 1983. The vineyard is located just south of Bradford Peak at 1,000 ft. elevation with the perfect southwest exposure. The Cabernet Sauvignon clone planted is the “La Cuesta” selection that was planted in Woodside, California by Dr. Rixford in the 1880’s from cuttings taken from Chateaux Margaux. The well-drained, red clay soil of Bradford Mountain combined with sunny days and cool nights produce small, intensely favored grapes.

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% Bradford Mountain Vineyard

Varietal Breakdown: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon 9% Cabernet Franc

Harvest Dates: Oct. 19, 2005

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

Alcohol: 14.3%

pH: 3.40

TA: 0.67g/100mlw

Barrel Aging: 21 months

Types of Oak: 60% new French oak barrels 40% 1-2 year-old French oak barrels

Bottling Date: July 5, 2007 (unfned & unfltered)

Production: 240 cases (750ml)/ 10 cases (1.5L magnums)

Release Date: December 2008

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