Stephen & Walker
2005 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
California: Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma)
What we say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s beautiful Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is well worthy of this special Superior designation. We always feature great wines, but when one really stands out, we issue one of these special alerts
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Mission Codename: More medals than Michael Phelps
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Operatives have been clamoring for a big, juicy and delicious Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, worthy of their exacting tastes. Send Agent Red to the DCV to secure an ample cache of the best Zinfandel he can find
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Stephen & Walker
Wine Subject: 2005 Estate Zinfandel – Dry Creek Valley
Winemaker: Nancy Walker
Winery Backgrounder: Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski_. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels, which are characterized by their big, extracted flavors, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and juicy ruby red with a slightly darker heart, with perfect clarity and concentrated color, right out to the farthest pink edge of the wine. When swirled, this wine shows a fast-settling and continually-spinning surface that leaves behind tightly packed clusters of skinny legs that move down the glass at staggered speeds
Smell – Richly aromatic, with cascading layers of juicy blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, and cassis, with soft spices and cigar box, followed by chocolate, soft oak and a hint of truffle
Feel – Exciting and medium-bodied, right for the start, then the wine glides across the mid-palate before becoming more grippy as medium grained, ripe tannins take hold
Taste – Bright and juicy cherry and berry lead the charge, then a more soft and smoky character reveals itself, accompanied by flavors of bakers chocolate, generous soft spice and a subtle truffle earthiness and soft minerals
Finish – This wine finishes smooth, softly dry and ultra-long showing off a balance of its fruit, spice and earthiness
Conclusion – We really enjoy Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels, but we love today’s shining example from our friends at Stephen & Walker Vineyards. Their 2005 Estate Zinfandel is worthy of our strongest praise – and well worthy of your collection, dear Operative! If you go as crazy over great Zinfandel as we do, give this one a swirl – and see what all of the medal fuss is about. This wine deserves all the Gold it has received. From its big and juicy flavors, to the supple texture and on to its finale finish, this food friendly wine is also a perfect solo-sipper for those that really appreciate a fine Zinfandel.
“Ἐν οἴνῳ ἀλήθεια!”
I awoke with a start. “Who’s there?!” I demanded.
4:15am. No security alarms. Its cold, but I decide to get up to see if I have had a breech.
A quick sweep of the safe house and a check of the security system reveals that I am, indeed, alone.
When I return to bed, my phone boop-beeps. An urgent dispatch from HQ. It reads:
Agent Red: Pliny the Elder has been kidnapped and is being transported to Germania. Proceed to intercept immediately.
This made little sense. Pliny and Germania. I pinched myself to make sure I was awake. OUCH! It seemed that I was.
I quickly packed my gear and made my way to the door. I opened it, and… there stood an imposing figure – in a toga. He smiled broadly at me and pushed me to the floor. I knew that this was Pliny.
I said to him, "Well, I don’t know how you can even exist, but this should make for an intriguing mission report.
With that, he said, “True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read”
“Umm, ok. If you say so.”
With that he picked up the bottle of Stephen & Walker Howell Mountain Cab that I had reviewed the night before. He looked at the label, grinned broadly and said, “In vino veritas!”
I stared at him for a moment. Then, a loud cacophony of sounds rang out – jarring me suddenly awake. I had been asleep!
I looked over at my review station. There, the bottle I had reviewed sat empty – where I had only poured myself a glass. And, emerging from the neck of the bottle – a single olive branch…
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – California State Fair 08
Gold Medal – San Diego Wine Competition 08
Gold Medal – World Wine Championships – Exceptional” 08
Gold Medal – California State Fair 07
Gold Medal – Los Angeles International Wine Competition 07
Gold Medal – Los Angeles International Wine Competition – Best Label Design – 07
Gold Medal – Orange County Fair 07
About This Wine:
Voluptuous and rich dark berry fruit, with generous flavors of smoky oak and chocolate truffle, over subtle notes of plum and tangerine.
This Zinfandel was a joy to make (what Zinfandel isn’t)? We crushed all berries, and let them sit on in a cold soak for 4 days before we added yeast, the grapes had just started to ferment on their own anyway! The small, 1 ton, open topped fermentation tanks are my favorite to use for making wine, because you can walk right up and get you nose next to the cap and smell all those gorgeous aromas and flavors just churning away inside the fermentor. Fermentations lasted about 9 days and then we pressed off directly into our French oak barrels for ageing 15 months in the cellar before bottling.
Tasting Notes: Rich, dense, smoky toasty oak, vanilla, ripe berry fruit. Soft integrated tannin, medium long finish.
Vineyard Notes: This vineyard is in the middle of Dry Creek Valley just off West Dry Creek Road. The vineyard sits on the bench above the valley floor.
Vintage Notes: 2005 Was another warm and early vintage for Dry Creek Valley, nice moderate spring, warm summer – 4 weeks near 100F. Hot blast in August to help ripen tannis and develop rich fruit flavors with soft complex tannins.
About The Winery:
We are a small, artisanal family owned winery located in the heart of the California wine country in Healdsburg, California. We have spent most of our lives in the vineyards and wineries of California, so it was a natural progression to start our own, winery in 2004. Our three partners: Nancy Walker, Tony Stephen and Irv Bush collectively have half a century growing wine grapes, and making fine wines.
We are proud and passionate to bring you wines made from the remarkable vineyards we tend with our growers in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey Counties. Every bottle of wine we produce has our commitment and unique perspective, and that is to bring you the true flavors realized from the terroir. Based on our experience, we believe each wine is a specific, individual expression of the fruit from our vineyards and the craft of our winemaker.
We are excited to open the doors and welcome you to our new wine tasting room on the Plaza in Healdsburg. Come visit with us, taste our wines and savor the flavors of our Dry Creek Zinfandel, Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Monterey Pinot Noir or Mendocino Port.
About The Winemaker:
Our Winemaker, Nancy Walker, has had the luxury of working as a winemaker in California for the past 22 years. Based in Mendocino County, Nancy has traveled throughout the region visiting growers from Temecula to Portland and from the Shenandoah Valley of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Through her travels, Nancy has developed an appreciation for the regional and local differences that each unique vineyard produces and with this, she is able to tend to our vineyards with our small growers throughout the state, to produce wines of concentration and distinction.
Nancy is a graduate of the University of California at Davis, renowned for winemaking education. Her winemaking career began in 1984, as a cellar worker at McDowell Valley Vineyards. From there, she honed her skills at many local wineries starting with Geyser Peak (1984-1985) as Wine Chemist and QC Technician. From there it was on to Dunnewood (1985-1990), where she was the Assistant Winemaker for 5 years before moving on to Assistant Winemaker at Clos du Bois (1991). Nancy was then responsible for the set up and operation of the small family winery at Brutocao Cellars (1991-1998).
Nancy was then searching for diverse production and vineyard opportunities, and accepted a position at Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland (1998-2005). She then moved on to Winery Exchange (2005-current), an international beverage company, where she is responsible for the winemaking portfolio of Washington, Oregon and California.
Nancy manages has her own wine consulting business where she advises small, micro-lot wine brands of ultra-premium wines.
Acidity: 0.62 g/100
Appellation: Dry Creek
Bottling Date: February 17, 2007
Fermentation: 10 days in 1-ton-open-topped fermentation tanks
Harvest Date: September 5, 2005 – Hand picked fruit at about 22.0 Brix, soaked up to 25.8Brix after 4 days cold soak.
Months in Barrel: 4 year old french barrels
Oak: 15 months in 4 year old french barrels
Release Date: April 15, 2007
Time In Oak: 15 months
Varietal: 95% Zin, 5% Petite Sirah