Destino Wines

2007 The Mask Red Blend

Red Blend

California: Napa Valley

Offer Expired:Jan 16, 2010 at 11:59 pm
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Mission Codename: The Man behind the Mask

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Respond to Operative reports that Destino Wines of Napa makes a special Napa Vallley Red Blend, worthy of their exacting tastes. If true, procure an ample quantity for our Operatives

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Destino Wines

Wine Subject: 2007 The Mask

Winemaker: Chris Calkins


Today’s selection from Destino Wines is a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Syrah and 12% Zinfandel comes to us from select vineyard sites in the Napa Valley. Today’s wine drinks like a Rhone-style blend, but with plenty of Cabernet character thrown in – to make it an intriguing and delicious wine to sip and savor. The Napa Valley is the birthplace of some of our very favorite wines and this easy wine reinforces our love of wines from this special region. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Darkest garnet, with an inky core and pretty purple edges. When swirled, this wine reveals a tightly springy surface that settles quickly, leaving behind tightly-packed clusters of of skinny legs. After a moment, an additional cascade of skinny legs emerges, making their way slowly down the edges of the glass

Smell – Black plum, red plum and black cherry lead the bright and balanced charge, followed by dried fall leaves, boysenberry, pie spice and eucalyptus gum nut (the seed pod from a eucalyptus tree)

Feel – Medium-weight and fast across the mid-palate, then gradually more grippy, with a dryness that is introduced at the edges of the tongue – then moves inward as the wine settles in, coating the mouth and drying the lips and cheeks with fine tannins

Taste – Soft and plush mixed flavors of dark mixed cherry, blackberry and under-ripe plum, and soft sweetwoods, soft spice and a unique flavor of braised petite purple fig

Finish – Medium long in length with a slightly tart and mineral dryness that lingers along with dark fruit and earthen components

Conclusion – The 2007 The Mask is an approachable and easy to enjoy wine that works its magic as it reveals complexity and character that, at first, seems to hidden. With balance, great dark fruit character, a fun and evolving feel and intriguing aromatics, this is a great wine to spend an extended amount of time with, observing and enjoying as it opens up and reveals itself. Drinking well now, I recommend that you decant this wine for at least a half an hour before enjoying. I also recommend that you cellar a few bottles as this wine is sure to evolve beautifully over the next few years.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Chris Calkins

DATE OF BIRTH: (month/year)3/1949

PLACE OF BIRTH: Eugene, Oregon

WINE EDUCATION: Self taught, studied with consultant Ken Bernards, classes at UC Davis

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: founder of Destino wines 1998, President and CEO of THE Donum Estate 2001.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Leave it alone!!!!!!!

SIGNATURE VARIETAL: It is more of a balanced style than a focus on one variety.

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Best in Class Napa Chardonnay, Women in Wine..

CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Imported 1999 Pinot Grapes from France with Ken Bernards. The first and last humans to ever do this crazy thing.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: Life is too short to spend any time with bad wine, bad food or bad people…..


AGENT RED: Greetings, Chris. We are thrilled to be showing Destino’s, 2007 The Mask today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

CHRIS: Absolutely my pleasure.

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

CHRIS: My father did beer and wine taste tests with me and my sisters back in the early ’60’s. He got me paying attention to how things taste.

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

CHRIS: I was a home winemaker for years before I started Destino but it was the time i spent with Ken Bernards of Ancien Wines that gave me focus and the tools to turn what I tasted into wine.

RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?

CHRIS: Start with great ripe but balanced fruit and then try not to mess it up.

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

CHRIS: As I mention it was Ken Bernards but also David Ramey and Mike Trujillo.

RED: How long have you been making wine?

CHRIS:20 years. 10 years as an amateur and 10 years as a professional

RED: Who do you make wine for?

CHRIS: I make wine based on my palette, because that is always going to be the purest most honest form of expression. I do not make wine for reviewers.

RED: Tell me, what makes the Russian River Valley so special?

CHRIS: It is the wonderful marine influence. Cool nights and mornings covered in fog then warm dry afternoons. In wine, as in people, character is developed from extremes.

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

CHRIS: Find someone great to apprentice with and keep an open mind on where your journey will lead you.

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

CHRIS: A lot of free time for photography.

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

CHRIS: The Mask is an interesting blended red wine from Napa. California is such a wonderful place to be creative. We have almost unlimited varieties to choose from and we are not confined by tradition. The Mask is Cabernet, Syrah and Zinfandel.

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

CHRIS: A medium rare angus burger.

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

CHRIS: I am a photographer and my wife is tony award winning actress.

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

CHRIS: Currently at home I am drinking Destino 2004 Napa Cabernet and Destino 2007 Russian River Sauvignon blanc.
I am also loving a 2007 muscadet from Robert Chadderdon.

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

CHRIS: Look for balance, don’t be seduced by huge high alcohol monsters. I make wines to pair with great food.

RED: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?

CHRIS: any great grand cru white burgundy in any great year.

RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?

CHRIS: What is the most important thing in your life? Love. Love of my wife, love of my kids, love of my work, love of art.

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!

CHRIS: Thank you for taking the time.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

The Destino 2007 The Mask has big, ripe flavors, but is still well-balanced and layered. We used the same grapes as the previous vintage (Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel), but in different ratios to achieve the balance we sought in the blend.

About The Winery:

Welcome to Destino Wines… Meaning fate, journey and destination, the name Destino reflects a simple, guiding philosophy—that the winemaking journey is the destination. In this spirit, our approach to artisan winemaking expresses itself in a passion for the many small details. From the way the sunlight dapples the ripening grapes in the vineyards to the nuanced diversity of oak barrels from different forests in France, our wines embody a rich sense of exploration.

Destino Wines is a boutique ultra-premium winery, founded by Chris Calkins in 1998. Chris is now the resident winemaker to new owners Kevin & Anne Murphy, whose passion for producing wines of the highest quality ensures that Destino Wines will continue to delight and impress its loyal customers.

Destino Wines’ approach to winemaking is about flavor intensity, passion for the fruit, and an uncompromising quest for quality. We source our grapes from only the finest vineyards in Napa Valley and Russian River, we crush, ferment and barrel-age our wines at our modern facility in Carneros, and when it is time to bottle our wines, we double-verify that the wine is worthy of the Destino label.

We are a small operation, and could not achieve the success for which we strive were it not for the guidance and energy of our many friends in the industry. Making great wine requires a great passion, great grapes, and great relationships.

Technical Analysis:

Varietals: 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Syrah, 12% Zinfandel

Alcohol: 14.5%

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