Wine Last Sold on: September 20, 2012
J Doran Vineyards
2009 J Doran Vineyards Zinfandel
|Vineyard:||J Doran Estate Vineyard|
|Region:||California: Contra Costa County|
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At today’s special Wine Spies price, this wine delivers tremendous value - and a drinking experience that exceeds expectations, easily earning it this special QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) Alert.
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Mission Codename: Going for Gold
- Agent Red
- In keeping with his recent Value Finding mission, send Agent Red back into the field, in search of a delicious, budget-friendly Zinfandel - for our Zin-loving Operatives. Secure an ample allocation.
- Mission Status
- Accomplished! Sort of… Remaining stock of today’s wine is very limited
- Christopher Doran
Today’s recommended wine was a huge hit with our tasting panel. All of us so used to wines from Napa and Sonoma, when we tasted today’s delicious treat, we were all very impressed. Wines from Contra Costa can deliver comparable quality - for a far lower price than their Napa/Sonoma rivals - and this wine is reall proof of that!
Dark and lush, this wine is deeply flavorful, delightfully complex and such fun to drink. We found ourselves spending a great deal of time with this wine, exploring its myriad aromas and flavors. Unanimously, we all agreed that this wine delivers exceptional value.
We paired ours with a vegetarian lasagne that was loaded with grilled fresh vegetables. The combination was perfection. Enjoy now, or cellar for the next several years. We believe that this wine will continue to get even better.
Plummy red with a darker heart of pure garnet. After giving the wine a hearty swirl, it settles down, quickly, leaving behind tall, skinny, wine-solo red legs that move swiftly down the glass.
Lush and complex, with layers of aromas, led by brambly blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, pine and mocha out in front. As the wine opens up, black cherry, sweet baking spice, dried leather, cracked peppercorn, subtle sage and a hint of pine join in.
Initially soft and round, then quickly grippy as fine to medium tannins introduce a plush, mineral rich dryness.
Black cherry, plum and bramble berries are followed by dried cherry, dried cranberry, tobacco leaf, dried leather, sweet spice, cedar and black pepper.
Extremely long, with spiced black fruit, mocha, bramble and sweet tobacco leaf, gradually yielding to cracked pepper, flint and a hint of cedar.
What the Winery Says
Our first release from our Estate vineyard. This is the wine that started it all for us. The vineyard was planted in 2004 on a steep hillside in Contra Costa County. Picked in early September ‘09, a 4 day cold soak before innoculation. Lightly pressed over Yountville Cabernet skins. Barreled into Medium toast plus French Oak barrels. Aged for 19 months
About the Winery
J Doran Vineyards is a boutique regional producer of quality, hand crafted artisan wines. Started in 2004 by Christopher Doran, J Doran wines is an example of how “one small thing can lead to another”…
J Doran Vineyards creates great quality wines that you want to share with friends and family. J Doran Wines blend great quality, a relaxed flavor and feel, perfect for enjoying with a great meal, or a great time.
Located in the historic Napa Valley, J Doran Vineyards creates regional flavor while using the premium grapes and quality winemaking skills found only in the California Napa valley wine country.
Winemaker Intel Briefing
- Christopher Doran , Owner, winemaker, J Doran Vineyards
- Place of Birth
- Born in Newport Beach, California. Grew up in Northern California. I feel very fortunate to live in this amazing and wonderful place.
- Wine Education
- I came into the wine business from the growers side. If you were out at a winery with everyone else wine tasting, I was the guy in the vineyard checking out the trellis & drip irrigation. After planting the vineyard in 2004, I wanted to know more about the winemaking process & started making wine at a winery on the Peninsula. Soon I was hooked. I took classes at UC Davis, but all my true learning came while interning in Napa & Sonoma with a group af truly talented winemakers
- Job Brief
- I have been fortunate to have had a varied career in a number of fields. I worked for NASA in the 80’s and after the Challenger accident shut down almost all work at NASA, I entered the Entertainment industry working for an Entertainment company for over 20 years.
- Winemaking Philosophy
- Keep it focused & simple. Let the vineyard express itself. Find ways to compliment what nature has given you & resist the urge to try and “make” something into what it is not. It’s never a bad thing to understate but over deliver.
- Signature Varietal
- I also make Sauvignon Blancs & Rose, but my sedimental favorite has to be the Zinfandel which is produced from our own vineyard that we hand planted on a steep hillside in 2004. With that said I truly love our Napa Cab.
- Career Highlight
- Working as an intern in Sonoma in 2007 and one early morning looking over the Carneros valley and knowing that this is exactly what I want to do in my life…. The look on someone’s face when they try our wine & love it. Actually, each day that I drive in among the vineyards, watching hot air balloon rise over the Napa valley, smell the fermentation and barrels as you enter the winery and realize just how lucky you are to have found your passsion and to be able to do so in this beautiful & wonderful place, I’d have to say that each day is a career highlight for me.
- Winemaker Quote
- “Luck is the residue of preparation”
Agent Red Greetings, Christopher. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 J Doran Vineyards Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
Christopher Doran Thank you Gentlemen. It's a pleasure.
Red Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
Christopher There was no one real moment, it was rather a continued series of events. Like many, I went thru the 3 stages of loving wine.. a)knowing nothing b)believing 100% in the opinions of others c) trust myself & enjoy the continued variety & range of wines that are out there. This, combined with my interest in growing created the perfect path to where I am now.
Red What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
Christopher I've been blessed to have worked with a number of truly talented winemakers, however without a doubt the most influential has been Mike Smith of Myriad Cellars, Quivet and others. Mike's approach & style both rang true for me. Mike also was instrumental in my approach to winemaking. His "It's all good" attitude and calm in dealing with the pressures of crush, his respect for those that work with him in the winemaking process were valuable models. Mike was also instrumental in getting me to move my project up to Napa, a decision that I have never regretted and has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.
Red Who do you make wine for?
Christopher My goal is to create exceptional handcrafted artisan wines that are perfect for sharing with family & friends. My commitment to making small lot, uncompromising quality wines is my passion.
Red Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
Christopher Our 2009 Zinfandel is produced from a steep hillside vineyard over looking the Cline Ancient Zin vineyards in Contra Costa County. T Zinfandel has a bold up front flavor, balanced fruit with a hint of white pepper on the mid palate. Given a 6% saignee at crush, cold coaked for 5 days prior to innoculation, pressed lightly over Yountville Cabernet skins. Aged in French Oak medium toast + barrels for 16 months.
Red What is your favorite pairing with today's wine?
Christopher Our Zin is a great compliment to almost any grilled meat or poultry. It's a stand out with pasta dishes as well. BBQ Beef Tenderloin is a fave. A great pairing you may not think of is with Tandoori chicken.
Red In your opinion, what makes such a special place for Zinfandel?
Christopher What I've learned is that Zin loves heat. Similar to Cab but the soil conditions for Zin are different. We planted our Zin on a steep hillside with an eastern exposure. This assures plenty of sun, with the benefit that late day sun is somewhat minimized be the back of the hillside,a good prevention of the fruit getting burned by a late season heat spike. The hillside also insure a resistance to frost as cold air "slides" off the hillside.
Red What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
Christopher in a word... CRUSH! right now we are hip deep in fruit coming in, Sauv Blancs, Pinot, our Contra Costa Zin was just picked & crushed and soon we will have much more on the way. The 2012 growing season has been tremendous, and with both yields up and fruit quality outstanding, this is shaping up to be an exciting year.
Red How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
Christopher If there was one thing I would say to people it would be don't be intimidated by wine or feel you don't know enough about it. Just trust what YOU like and enjoy it. Wine is a journey, you will constantly discover new things you'll like, you will change directions and discover something new all the time. It's one of the great things to enjoy about wine. This is something you are meant to enjoy. I think sometimes people get wound a little too tight about wine. Don't over analyze.. just enjoy.
Red Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Christopher It would be to thank your readers for their time, they are clearly on a journey of discovery about wines and that I encourage them to continue to do so and be sure to enjoy the ride!
Red Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Christopher Thanks guys. It's been fun. Keep up the great job you are doing. You guys rock!