Mounts Family Winery
2007 Dry Creek Valley Petite Sirah
Petite Sirah • Estate Grown
California: Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma)
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Mission Codename: Deep Purple
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Mounts Family Vineyards, and procure their most popular wine, their delicious estate Petite Sirah – a wine which captivated the hearts of our Operatives in its 2006 vintage.
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Mounts Family Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Petite Sirah
Winemaker: David Mounts
The Mounts family grows a variety of grapes on their hillside estate in Sonoma County’s beautiful Dry Creek Valley. This is an area best known for producing rather incredible Petite Sirah. Agent Red recently paid the Mounts Family a visit on their estate vineyards, where they tasted their wines and learned about the family’s long history of farming, grape growing and winemaking in the valley. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest purple, with color that remains deeply concentrated – through its inky heart and out to the very edge of the glass, where a fine ring of burgundy encircles the glass. On swirling, this wine shows a very heavy-looking surface. When the wine settles, it leaves behind tall, wine-stained legs that crawls slowly down the glass.
Smell – Unique Blackberry-anise torte is the first intriguing note to grace the nose. Just below these, you’ll find candied cherry, blueberry, dried meat, soft vanilla oak and a hint bramble.
Feel – Soft and light in the very first part of the first sip. Then, the wine reveals a lush, medium weight, with fine grained tannins and a soft minerality that lead to a crushed velvet dryness that pervades the entire palate.
Taste – Densely packed with dark flavors, this wine leads with ripe blackberry, dark plum, black cherry and softly smoky blackberry. After a moment, bright Bing cherry, tart cranberry, red currant and hard leather fill out the palate.
Finish – Bold and rich with dark flavors, the wine starts dark, but then goes more red, as plum and blackberry are replaced by tart cranberry and Bing cherry. As these tail off, the palate becomes slightly dry, with a distinctive – and exciting – crushed velvet feel that is accompanied by a soft and flinty minerality.
Conclusion – We went bonkers for the 2006 vintage of this wine, and we were so excited to find that we love today’s 2007 Mounts Family Petite Sirah, even more! The delicious fruit in this wine shines through, and you can actually taste the Petite Sirah grapes, as though they were tasted right off the vines – dust and all. Today’s wine is not as brash as previous vintages, or as many Dry Creek Petites, which can tend to be rather overpowering. Instead, this wine is nicely balanced, with dark and red fruit working together in perfect harmony. This wine is far more food-friendly than one might expect from a bold Petite. Pair with a grilled steak or BBQ pork ribs. Enjoy now, and cellar a few for the next several years. We are sure that this beauty will only continue to improve.
What follows is a recap of our initial mission to Mounts Family Winery, wherein we refer to the Mounts Zinfandel which we featured last month. While that was an excellent wine, we like their Petite Sirah even better
It was a warm and beautiful morning. The temperature was close to 70 degrees and the sky was a perfect clear blue. It was a typical spring morning in the Dry Creek Valley. If only it was Spring! It was, in fact, the beginning of January where, even here in California, we should be experiencing cooler temps – and our share of vine-sustaining rains!
Agent Syrah was with me on another training mission. For this one, he led the mission to Mounts Family Winery. I had given Agent Syrah the directive of locating a superb California Zinfandel. I gave him free reign, allowing him to choose the region and winery.
Almost immediately, he came up with a winery.
“What do you have,” I asked.
“Mounts. 06. Estate Zin. DCV. Intel suggests a classic DCV, ripe, lush, balanced. 400 cases.”
“Very good. Next steps?”
“I would suggest a direct infiltration. No extended surveillance. Proceed immediately.”
With that, we made our way to mounts.
After a drive through the beautiful Dry Creek Valley, we found ourselves at the bottom of a long uphill driveway. the drive led through pristine hillside vineyards, eventually leading us to the winery at the crest of the hill.
As we parked, a woman approached. Agent Syrh said, “Lana Mounts. General Manager and wife of David Mounts, the winemaker.”
If I was not already impressed, I was now. Agent Syrah was shaping up to be a fine Wine Spy.
Agent Syrah took command, introducing Lana to me as though he already knew her, and I was someone she needed to know. He cut right to the chase, explaining that we had been investigating her winery – and that we were here to evaluate and – if we loved their wines – appropriate Mounts Family wines for our Operatives.
Lana took us to here wine cave and we were soon joined by her husband, David Mounts. We tasted through their wines and we were very impressed. I gave Agent Syrah the signal and he quickly negotiated for a quantity of today’s excellent Mounts Family Estate Zinfandel.
If you ever find yourself in the Dry Creek Valley, stop in to Mounts for a tasting. The vineyards are beautiful, the people a pleasure to hang out with – and the wines are really wonderful.
Finally, be sure to keep an eye out for Agent Syrah’s future missions. I have a feeling that this young spy is destined for greatness.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Mounts Family Vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – THE RHONE REPORT by Jeb Dunnuck – A real wow wine, the 2007 Mounts Petite Sirah Estate Grown had deep and rich aromatics of blackberries, cassis, charred earth, and subtle new oak. The wine is medium to full bodied on the palate and has a sense of elegance and balance that isn’t found very often. The finish has gobs of velvety, fine grained tannins on the long finish. Well done.
About This Wine:
The 2007 vintage was an excellent year in the vineyard and in the cellar. The spring began warm in the month of February and stayed moderate the remainder of the season. The vines used up all of their available moisture by the month of May giving us smaller clusters and berries. Irrigation began much sooner to keep the vines from shutting down. It is normal for the crop load to be quite large on our Petite Sirah so diligent shoot thinning and cluster removal was performed at precise moments throughout the season. That, combined with complete lateral removal in the fruit zone following bloom gave us excellent cluster separation which is critical for berry development. The fruit was harvested during a very cool month of September with excellent maturity and concentration in the fruit. Much of the fruit for this wine came out of our older block of well established 16 year old plantings. This fruit gives us deeply concentrated blue and black fruit flavors without overwhelming tannin. The remainder of the fruit came out of our younger 6 year old planting situated on a very shallow hillside which gives us enormous structure with ripe yet naturally high tannin levels. In the cellar the bins were put through a long cold soak and fermented out in a total maceration of 12-14 days to help preserve that great fruit richness and to avoid excessive tannin levels. The lots were racked and blended in the spring of 2008 and then again in the fall. The wine was bottled in Spring of 2009. David Mounts, Winemaker
Crush Notes: Whole berry destemming, five day cold soak, 12-14 day total skin contact. Fermented in one ton open-top fermenters. Punchdowns three to four times per day during maceration. Gentle basket pressing.
Cooperage: Sixteen months in 40% new French, tight grain, burgundian toasted barrels.
About The Winery:
Quality through sacrifice is our priority at Mounts Vineyards. With this philosophy of excellence passing through three generations of wine-grape growers, it is our aspiration to extend it to our new family winery. We are excited to announce the arrival of Mounts Family Winery, opening in the Spring of 2007.
Mounts Vineyards has been growing premium wine grapes for over 50 years in the Dry Creek Valley. Every block design brings together the unique orientation of hillside exposure, soil type, and depth. With each of these factors we determine our variety, the appropriate clone, and the most favorable root-stock. The careful planning and consideration that goes into developing our vineyards allows the vine to grow to its full potential for vine health and balanced canopy growth. From them, we achieve the greatest possible expression of fruit character, balance, and structure in all of our wines.
Our hope is that you will appreciate the wines we have nurtured from our estate vineyards. We anticipate you will take pleasure in every sip, share them with your friends and family, and savor memories that our wines help create.