2007 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Acure Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
What we say
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Mission Codename: Miro, Miro on the wall, Who’s the fairest of them all?
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Revisit our friend Miro and retrieve his 2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Miro Cellars
Wine Subject: 2007 Hillside Select Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Miro Tcholakov
Today’s wine was grown at the Acure Estate Vineyard, a prime hillside climat in Alexander Valley. Alexander Valley in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but recently people are starting to discover its Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Chardonnay as well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Intense dark purple with garnet and violet reflections throughout its dark but clear core. Along the edges, the color remains a dense garnet and violet and when swirled clusters of fast thin legs streak down the side of the glass to the wine below.
Smell – Bold and unrestrained aromas of dark wild berries included blackberry but to a lesser extent raspberry too. Layer this fruit with wild black licorice spicy pepper and hints of smoke, violets and dark mocha.
Feel – Youthful and unabashed fully textured finely grained tannins hold on tight to the palate and coat the mouth, but give this wine some time to open up and a lovely balance appears in this dry full bodied wine as the acidity and minerality frame flavors and linger into the finish.
Taste – Well focused flavors of tart dark berries including blackberry, raspberry and other bramble fruit with a distinct forest-floor component. Notes of black licorice, mocha, spicy pepper and toasted/smokey oak adds complexity.
Finish – The flavors taper off in medium time but the finely textured firm tannins and minerality linger for an eternity and begs for another sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Miro Cellars Hillside Select Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon takes its time to reveal its true character but once it does you’ll be rewarded with a delicious, youthful and highly tactile wine. Aromas and flavors of dark berries and forest notes and a healthy does of spice and a fantastic mouth feel. If enjoyed young, please decant this wine; or cellar it for up to ten years. We enjoyed this wine with simple grilled hamburgers with aged cheddar cheese.
MIRO INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Miro Tcholakov
DATE OF BIRTH: February 4, 1966
PLACE OF BIRTH: Trojan, Bulgaria
WINE EDUCATION: Higher Institute of Agriculture, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, UC Davis, SRJC
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Dry Creek Vineyards-1990-1999 as Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Master, Trentadue Winery-1999-present-Winemaker/VP of Production, Miro Cellars-2001-present. Also consulted and continue to consult for a few other small projects domestically and abroad. Currently serving on the Board of Directors for ZAP and “PS I Love you” organizations
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: “Freedom of Expression”- meaning for Miro wines I source only vineyards that are interesting to me in regard of geology, soil types, location, grape growing styles, grape grower…etc. Not being confined to an “Estate” vineyard gives me the freedom of choice. If the vineyard does not deliver I move on. Great wines can be made without blue blooded heritage and a Chateau in the foreground.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: So far I made my mark with Petite Sirah for the Miro brand, with my other jobs I have done very well with other varieties and blends. In general I’m very fond of perhaps the only two varieties that California has claim to fame as truly “heritage” –P. Sirah and Zinfandel. My Petite has done well with the gate keepers and media so far.
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Well I’m not sure what do you consider Highlight but if you mean wine scores I have a few 90 points and above from Wine Enthusiast, Parker, Wine Spectator, Connoisseur Guide, California Grapevine, top picks in New York Times, USA Today, and hundreds of Gold medals and Best of Class and a few Sweepstakes from wine competitions that matter.
I have met and tasted my wines one on one with Michelle Rolland (without paying for it) if that is considered an event but I found that to be very interesting. I have been on the pages of few wine publications. Once Dan Burger put me on the top 20 winemakers in the country…
There is probably more that I don’t remember…
MIRO QUOTE: Just drink it-it is only wine!
Below is Agent Petite Sirah’s recent interview with Miro when we featured his 2006 Petite Sirah.
AGENT PETITE SIRAH: Greetings, Miro. We are thrilled to be showing your 2006 Petite Sirah today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
MIRO TCHOLAKOV: A pleasure. My ’06 has become very popular and your Operatives are going to see the last of it.
PETITE SIRAH: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MIRO: I don’t think that there was any specific event-wine has always been part of our life back in Bulgaria. We made every year about 1000 liters and manage to drink most of it before the next harvest. Wine has always been part of the life circle, just like making cheese or jam or tomato sauces. We also made grappa every year. My grandfather Mariano was the initial inspiration and the first hand source of winemaking knowledge.
PETITE SIRAH: And where did you learn the most about winemaking?
MIRO: The real winemaking I learned during my first years at Dry Creek. I’m not done with the learning by any means yet. Back in Bulgaria we made the wine in the most pure way possible. We rarely used even sulfur! No additives and none of the modern gadgets-just grapes and barrels.
PETITE SIRAH: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
MIRO: Don’t play with the wine just because you know how. Only intervene when you absolutely have to and you are sure of the outcome. Always pay attention to the details all the time. Everything you do to the wine-matters!
PETITE SIRAH: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
MIRO: Well I don’t think there is just one person-it is more of a collective of people and styles. I do not believe that I have a particular style per say-I just try to get out of the grapes the most from every vintage-and that would be different every year.
PETITE SIRAH: How long have you been making wine?
MIRO: Legally? Commercially –this harvest was my number 20!
PETITE SIRAH: Who do you make wine for?
MIRO: I guess I can say that first I want to be satisfied with the wines I make and of course it will be great if a lot of people including media like them as well. Otherwise I’ll have a lot of wine to drink by myself…
PETITE SIRAH: Tell me, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?
MIRO: Well, I always had a soft spot for Dry Creek even after moving to Alexander Valley. Dry Creek is less uniform geologically and climate wise than say AV. There are many secluded little vineyards hidden in some small valleys or hill tops. I love the red dirt on the slopes. I just like the flavors that all that combination of dirt and climate do to Zin and PS.
PETITE SIRAH: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
MIRO: You have to love the job. If you are in it just 8 to 5 don’t even think about it. If the love and passion are not there you will be just a booze maker. Also you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of time and long days and hours away from the family.
PETITE SIRAH: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MIRO: It is Harvest!! Everything that I normally do plus Harvest on top of it.
PETITE SIRAH: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
MIRO: 2006 Petite is probably the most ready to drink yearly Petite I’ve ever made. The 06 harvest was not exactly a perfect one especially for the late ripening varieties but PS is not one of them. From winemaking point of view I prefer fermenting PS in open top and basically think of it as Pinot with a bit more air exposure. It is an easy to understand wine-just big, dark and delicious. It has a mile long finish and it will stand the test of time and only get better. It has a very seductive sweet and ripe aroma that will make you keep smelling it until the last drop.
PETITE SIRAH: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
MIRO: Petites usually go well with the category of comfort foods-anything related to fall and winter. Meat with root vegetables like stew, oven roasts, something cooked slowly for a long time. Also as a no brainer-grilled meats. Occasionally I love it with the Chicken Livers dish at the Bistro Ralph in Healdsburg.
PETITE SIRAH: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
MIRO: I wanted to be a MD back in Bulgaria but my girlfriend talked me out of it
PETITE SIRAH: Thank goodness for us fans of your wines! What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
MIRO: Rhone wines for sure. I even make one for a winemaker called Cuvee Sasha a GSM-simply delicious without all the pretence.
PETITE SIRAH: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
MIRO: Think of them as $100 bottle of wines and you will not be disappointed. I hate the cliché but they are “affordable luxury”
PETITE SIRAH: If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
MIRO: I would like to try again the 1927 Château D’yquem
PETITE SIRAH: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
MIRO: Have I been connected to KGB? The answer is –perhaps!
PETITE SIRAH: Our intel reports were correct then! 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!
MIRO: Thank you, Agent Petite Sirah!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the approximate location of the Miro Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
The grapes were harvested mature at only 23.5 Brix sugar-a rare for California due to very poor soils and low vine vigor. The wine is focused and concentrated with considerable tannins assuring longevity for at least 10 years. The nose is a bit closed at the time of these notes but with solid layers of dark stone fruit, maple, cocoa, spice and a hint of forest floor. This is a full bodied wine with long and juicy, somewhat youthful finish. The wine was bottled unfiltered.
Vineyard: Prime, hill side Alexander Valley Vineyard owned by Dr. Siegemund and biodynamically grown with minimal irrigation and fertilizing. The location is just South of Cloverdale. The entire vineyard is only 5 acres on five different blocks. Close spacing, Southeastern exposure.
Soils: The soils are with high mineral content-decomposed blue rocks and granite, shallow and with low fertility.
The Vintage: 2007 is shaping up as one the best so far in this decade. The weather was nearly perfect without excessive heat allowing the grapes to “hang” on the vines and mature without any stress. The fruit set was very well balanced as well, matching the vine’s potential to perfectly ripen the grapes.
Winemaking: The grapes were harvested in the early morning of October 10th. After hand sorting, the grapes were crushed with 30% whole berries. The lot was only three tons so I used the smallest tank available. After three days of cold soak yeast was introduced and the wine was free run only drained at dryness. The wine was aged in 50 % new European oak barrels for twenty two months and racked barrel to barrel four times using nitrogen only.
About The Winery:
MIRO Cellars searches the region for the finest grapes from a variety of vineyards to make their one-of-a-kind specialty wines. Award winning winemaker Miro Tcholakov considers the particular geology and seasonal climate variations of each vineyard when selecting the most interesting grapes the region has to offer. Because Miro has complete freedom to make precisely the wines he loves best, the results are a spectacular leap above the expected.
Let yourself in on one of the best kept secrets in wine today—MIRO.
Appellation: Alexander Valley
Harvest Date: October 10th, 2007
Blend: 100 % Cabernet Sauvignon
Barrel aging: 22 months in 80% new French and Hungarian oak barrels
Bottled: July 9th, 2009
Production: 194 cases