Kelley Creek Winery
Merlot • Schneider Vineyard
California: Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma)
What we say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Kelley Creek Winery.
Mission Codename: Do You Know? Merlot!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Explore Kelley Creeks’ New Wines
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Kelley Creek Winery
Wine Subject: 2005 Merlot
Winemaker: Scott Lindstrom-Dake
Winemaker, Scott Lindstrom-Dake, has been making great wine since 1995. His Thumbprint Cellars wines are among our very favorites and now he brings you Kelly Creek wines, grown on his family’s estate in Dry Creek Valley.
Of winemaking, Scott says, “I developed a palate for fine wine, but as a college student I couldn’t afford to buy it. My mom and step-dad have been growing premium wine grapes for years and the light bulb just kind of went on- I can make my own wine.”
So it began with Thumbprint. A few years later, Scott’s Kelly Creek wines exhibit all of the qualities we have come to expect from this masterful winemaker. If you love Thumbprint wines, you’ll love Kelly Creek. Just don’t expect them to be a carbon copy of Tumbprint, because, these new wines seem to have a unique character of their own.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple in color with good clarity with lots of long slender legs when swirled vigorously.
Smell – This wine exhibits very balanced aromas of fruit, including ripe raspberries, oak and cocoa. As it opens up it presents a distinct butterscotch aroma reminiscent of a ’Werther’s Original’ hard candy.
Feel – Smooth and juicy as you would expect from a Merlot, but also slightly dry and a bit chewy in character. Softens nicely as it opens up.
Taste – Ripe fruit balanced with a hint of black pepper spiciness and a slight earthy quality. As this wine opens up, additional layered flavors of blackberries, plums and cocoa emerge.
Finish – This wine finishes smooth, clean and medium long, fading nicely.
Conclusion – As with all the wines from Kelley Creek and Thumbprint Cellars, this Merlot is exceptionally easy to drink, is true to its varietal character, and demonstrates the quality you would expect from a handcrafted wine. Merlot often gets a bad rap, but this wine clearly shows why Merlot continues to be among the most popular wines among our operatives.
As a deep cover agent, I’m not often going public with my mission briefings. Usually, I do the more Top Secret work while Agents Red and White are off gallivanting around the globe. Today is going to be different because I am thrilled to report that I have uncovered an incredible new wine – and scooped my fellow agents by bringing it to you before the rest of the wine buying public finds out!
The Wine Spies have been big fans of winemaker Scott Lindstrom-Dake. His Thumbprint Cellars wines are world class, elegant, and downright tasty. Because I work hard to keep my network of assets working for me, I was able to learn of Scott’s new Kelly Creek wines long before they appeared on everyone else’s radar. Keeping my ear to the vineyard floor allows me to maintain close connections with winemakers around the region. This attention pays off for the Wine Spies and for you, our loyal operatives.
The reward, in this case, is a wine that is available exclusively for you. Since we have successfully completed missions with Scott in the past, he was thrilled to make available to our operatives a small quantity of his new Merlot. After you, our operatives, grab it all up, it may be some time before it is available again.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Schneider Vineyards in the Dry Creek region of Sonoma can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
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Awards & Accolades:
Silver Medal – 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SCHOTT ZWIESEL)
Wine maker Scott Lindstrom-Dake has been crafting Sonoma County grapes into wine since 1995. Most of his recognition has come from his own brand, Thumbprint Cellars, which launched in 2000. Wine writers and local wine competitions have awarded Thumbprint Cellars and Kelley Creek Wines with several medals and high praise.
About This Wine:
This complex merlot has enormous fruit character. Aromas of spicy plum and black cherry flow graciously into flavors of subtle spice, dark currant, black plum and bittersweet chocolate. Complex acidity blends with layers of fruit and spice to form a velvety smooth finish.
“The remarkable 2005 Vintage brought more grapes than my folks had expected. Long time Sonoma County grape growers, Barbara and Dick Schneider scurried to find a home for their ultra-premium wine grapes. Ultimately, they convinced me to help out right in the middle of the harvest. What has come of this venture is our new brand Kelley Creek Wines. Kelley Creek is a small tributary that flows through the Schneider’s property and into Dry Creek. Western Dry Creek Valley has amazing hillside and benchland vineyards, diverse micro-climates and rich personalities that have eveloped this slice of California like no other wine region in the world.”
- Scott Lindstrom-Dake, Wine maker
Alcohol By Volume: 14.7
Aging: French Oak barrel aged.
Production: 3000 cases.