2008 Shinbone Shiraz/Cab Blend
Red Blend • Olson Vineyard
California: Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma)
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Mission Codename: The Burly Brawler
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Peterson Winery and acquire an allocation of the latest vintage of their highly coveted Shinbone, a stunning blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignane and Petite Sirah.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Peterson Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 Shinbone Shiraz Blend
Winemaker: Jamie Peterson
Backgrounder: Peterson Winery has become a true favorite of The Wine Spies and its Operatives. We are consistently impressed with the wines that are produced by the father and son team of Fred and Jamie Peterson. Today marks the third successive vintage that we have featured here. Peterson’s Shinbone blend is always exceptional, and always among the most popular Peterson wines that we feature.
Shiraz, while genetically the same as Syrah, this grape adopts its local character and Terroir to become distinctly Dry Creek in style. Incidentally, the name Shiraz comes from the capital of Fars (Persia) even though this grape traces its roots back to French breeding.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Like the prior two vintages of this wine, the color is a dark and rich-looking purple. Where this wine differs, though, is in its core – which is darker, but perfectly clear. After spinning the wine, tightly-packed tears move very slowly down the wall of the glass.
Smell – Bold ripe blackberry and and black cherry are first to greet you. These are followed by black licorice, dark plum, cedar and green tobacco leaf. After the wine enjoys some time in the glass, soft spice and woodsy aromas emerge.
Feel – Smooth but quickly dry on the attack, this wine introduces an instant mineral dryness that expands outward from the mid-palate. Firm tannins and balanced acids drive the fruit and minerality long into the softly spiced finish.
Taste – Dark and juicy with ripe blackberry, tart cherry and plum. These flavors lead to layers licorice, soft exotic spice, tobacco leaf, cigarbox and a touch of mineral-laden chocolate.
Finish – Long and lingering, with dark fruit giving way to red fruit and, eventually, chocolate, spice and dark minerals at the tail end.
Conclusion – Peterson Winery is on its way to becoming our most frequently-featured small California winery. This is testament to the superb quality and consistency of their wonderful wines. Today marks the third successive of their super-value Shinbone Shiraz Blend, a wine that we keep returning to each year – because we love it!. Today’s wine, Peterson’s 2008 Shinbone is every bit as delectable as its predecessors. This vintage shows more brightness and and very different spice component than past vintages, and the fruit really shines through. This is a juicy wine with plenty of character, built in the roll up your sleeves Aussie Shiraz style. Enjoy this wine with anything Barbecued, or all on its own. Cheers to Jamie and Fred Peterson, for delivering another stunning vintage of their very popular Shinbone!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Jamie Peterson
DATE OF BIRTH: March 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. 13 harvests under the belt at age 29.
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 (but his Syrah is amazing)
WINEMAKER QUOTE: ”If it ain’t got the root, it ain’t got the fruit.”
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: For Peterson Winery- 1991. For Jamie- 2002 Vintage, released in 2004
AGENT RED: Greetings, Jamie. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Syrah, today. We love the wine!! Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today. And, thanks for making such amazing wines!
JAMIE: As always, it’s great to be back with The Wine Spies.
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. Working closely with other winemakers and 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 learning 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, etc) 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 29, I have 13 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 and style to buy it. We don’t normally submit our wines for scoring or competitions, and instead rely on word of mouth and community to find enough supporters.
RED: Tell me, what makes the Dry Creek Vallley so special?
JAMIE: The Dry Creek Valley features and amazing array of soil types and exposures for such a geographically small area, leading to a diverse range of flavors and subtleties in wines, for many different varietals, or even of the same varietal. This is why we make multiple single-vineyard Zinfandels, and it also helps us make wines with complex flavors from blending from different parts of the valley, such as the Shinbone.
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. Taste as much as you can and think about who you will be making wine for.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
JAMIE: We’re about 35% through bottling our beautiful 2009 red wines, and keeping an eye on the intense, slowly developing 2010 wines. Bud break is getting underway in the vineyard, so we’re hoping for a frost free spring and a good start to the growing season. We’ll be on the road a bit, visiting our friends and customers in Iowa, Wisconsin, New York, and perhaps Chicago and Minnesota.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
JAMIE: The Shinbone was born out of a progression of influences and events coming together. Both my father and I have spent time in wineries in Australia, where Shiraz is king (or duke… since Cabernet Sauvignon is probably really “king” everywhere…), and they create some very nice blends with it. In 2006, our grapegrowing neighbor and friend Dave Olson had some Syrah grapes he was looking to sell that made more of the soft, fruity “Shiraz” style wine than we were getting from our own mountain vineyard, and we jumped at the chance to take the fruit. The resulting wine inspired us to try blending with the darker, structured hillside Cab, and the blend was born. The Shinbone label was an idea our designer, Chris Blum, had been working on, and we felt it fit the wine perfectly with the strong yet fun image and style. The 2008 we wanted to further add complexity and nuance and blended some old vine Carignane and dry farmed, hillside Petite Sirah.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
JAMIE: This wine is perfect with something off the ‘barbie (BBQ); Smoked ribs, with a tangy sauce. We describe this wine as a bit of “yin and yang, sweet and sour” wine, with sweet fruit from the Shiraz, and nice tangy acidity from the Cabernet.
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 accidentally 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.
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 featuring 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:
Lovely fruit aromas of strawberry, mixed dark berries and plum join with hints of toasty oak, anise and earth notes. The creamy core holds rich vanilla and plum favors wrapped with threads of smoked meat, licorice and tar. Nicely balanced with a smooth texture and easy to sip, this unique blend pairs well with your favorite everyday meals—grilled steaks, mac & cheese, pizza, burgers and more.
Jamie’s (Peterson) Vintaged View: Our Shiraz/Cab blend fits into the “burly not girly” wine category, and is our way of paying homage to our brethren down-under who produce some equally wonderful blends.
When we first made the Syrah from the Olson Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, the wine reminded us of the more opulent, fruit-forward Australian style. I started calling the wine in barrels Shiraz to differentiate from our Bradford
Later, when tasting through the lots, we thought, “what would complement and give a little more backbone to the base wine?” Both my father (Fred) and I had spent time with winemakers from Australia, and had tried some of the wonderful things they could accomplish by combining soft Shiraz with structured Cabernet Sauvignon, thus providing the inspiration for this “new classic” blend.
In 2008, we decided to juice up the blend further with the addition of spicy old-vine Carignane and rich Petite Sirah.
The resulting wine follows the BBQ friendly Shinbone style, with added complexity not always found in the wines from Down Under.
Primary Vineyards: Olson Vineyard – The Olson Vineyard is located just outside of Healdsburg in the southeast corner of the Dry Creek Valley. This Syrah (aka Shiraz) vineyard, adjacent to Dave & Aggie Olson’s house, borders Dry Creek in deep but gravelly soil. The vines are trained to a quadrilateral cordon system, which opens them up for perfect light and air exposure, producing grapes with classic, full-favored Australian-style Shiraz characteristics.
Enos Vineyard: Nestled in the Southwestern hills of Dry Creek Valley lies this five-acre vineyard. 60% of the block was planted in 1972 on St. George rootstock, and the other section was planted in 2001 on 110R rootstock. Managed in 2007 by longtime Dry Creek Valley grapegrower Ray Teldeschi, and farmed to standards set by us and vineyard owner Jason Enos, this vineyard produces a small crop of intensely flavored and balanced Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for which the western hills of Dry Creek Valley are renowned.
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 tastelocalwines.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Composition: 50% Shiraz – Olson Vineyard Sept. 30, 2008; 20% Cabernet Sauvignon – Collier Falls Vnyd Sept. 18, 2008; 20% Carignane, Forchini Vineyard Sept. 6, 2008; 10% Petite Sirah, West Vineyard Sept. 17, 2008
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, CA
Barrel Aging: 21 months
Types of Oak: 20% new Hungarian oak barrels, 10% new American oak barrels, 70% 2-5 year old French and Hungarian oak barrels.
Bottling Date: July 8, 2010 (unfined & unfiltered)
Production: 250 cases
Release Date: January 2011