2006 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
California: Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma)
What we say
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Mission Codename: Vroooom!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Procure a World exclusive Zinfandel from Adobe Road winery, making it available to our Operatives first
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Adobe Road Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley
Winemaker: Franc Dusak
Backgrounder: Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley is a treasure trove of great wines. While The Wine Spies have been trying to keep Agent Red from acquiring too many wines from the region, he persists. And we indulge him, for the wines he has returned with of late are, quite simply, remarkably great. Today’s wine Agent Red returns to our old friends, Adobe Road Winery, and he returns with an exclusive new release for our Operatives. Read about Agent Reds visit with Jamie, following his tasting notes and mission report below
Varietal 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 balance and juiciness, are gaining in popularity with our Operatives.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red, this hearty-looking wine sticks to the glass. I am reminded of a great Petit Sirah. The wine shows continuous color out to its edges and a surface that has a bouncy look to it. When swirled, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind legs of varying widths – that move down the glass at varying speedsSmell – On opening, the wine presents an ever so slightly tight nose. Allow the wine to breath for 15 minutes and your olfactory senses will be awarded with more open and deep aromas of ripe blackberries, currants, raspberries, and cherries, gently layered on a base of cocoa, spice, black pepper and just a hint of black tea and cedar
Feel – This wine is medium-light and very smooth with fine tannins, a clean acidity and a peppery tang on the mid-palate
Taste – Ripe raspberries, blackberries and dark cherry take the lead, to be followed by rich plum, chocolate, oak, spice and more black pepper
Finish – The finish is smooth and rich, leading off with its red fruits, and backed by its dark berries, toast and spices
Conclusion – Adobe Road never fails to please us with its wine offerings. Today’s Dry Creek Zinfandel is no exception. Long on aromatics and flavors, this is a wine that is best enjoyed over the course of a meal. The longer it sits in your glass, the more it seems to become your friend, opening up, softening up – and just becoming more drinkable. I enjoyed a glass with a classic grilled American burger, but I found the wine refined enough to drink on its own or with lighter foods
Today we welcome guest reviewer, Jonathan Keller, of amoureuxdevin.com. Please enjoy his review:
Look – Dark red, almost cherry-cola color coats and stains the glass well. Great legs that start slow and fat but finish graceful and well defined
Smell – A fairly tight, slightly warm nose opens to reveal essence of grilling spices, smoke, blackberry jam, dark chocolate cocoa and caramel
Feel – Slightly viscous mouth feel. Not terribly weighty, but definitely clings to your palate
Taste – Raspberries, dark berries, chocolate covered cherries, bakers chocolate with a hint of tell-tale black pepper
Finish – The finish begins with bright berry & cherry fruit, yielding to a wave of refreshing acidity finally followed by mild and velvety tannins
Conclusion – All in all this is a classic example of Dry Creek Zinfandel. If you are looking for an over syrupy over done style Zinfandel, you’ll have to look some where else. This is a Zinfandel with some real definition and character. Adobe Road seems to know their way around a Zinfandel grape!
Today we are very pleased to bring you an interview with the very busy winemaker for Adobe Road Winery, Michael Scorsone:
AGENT RED: Greetings, Michael. We are thrilled to be showing your newest Dry Creek Zin today. The wine is great. Thanks so much for the wine, and for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today. I don’t know if you know this, but Adobe Road has the distinction of being the winery we have featured the most during the last two years. We’re that impressed with your work!
MICHAEL SCORSONE: Thanks, Red, my pleasure to spend a few minutes with you today.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
MICHAEL: Growing-up in an Italian Family, attending the C.I.A, Being a professional chef.
RED: C.I.A.?! By that, you mean the Culinary Institute of America and not that other spy agency. Tell me this, where did you learn the most about winemaking?
MICHAEL: I learned a lot through previous jobs and schooling, Traveling and working in Italy, France, New Zealand. However, anyone can learn to make wine. It’s personality and philosophy that sets us apart.
RED: What is your winemaking style or philosophy?
MICHAEL: Let the wines show character and personality. A strong sense of vineyard location. Show tradition…but not afraid to take chances. Don’t make the wine into something it’s not.
RED: Porsche racing legend, Kevin Buckler, owns the winery. How much input does he have during the winemaking process?
MICHAEL: Kevin has a great pallet! He is always tasting with us and giving input. He definitely brings something to the table.
RED: How long have you been making wine?
MICHAEL: ’09 will be my 8th vintage.
RED: Excellent. And who do you make wine for?
RED: Right answer! Tell me, what makes the Napa Valley so special?
MICHAEL: The people
RED: What is one piece of advice that you would give to someone that is considering a career as a winemaker?
MICHAEL: It is a lifestyle…not just a job! You have to love it and be passionate about farming and winemaking. Yes.. it is romantic, but it is very hard work.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
MICHAEL: Traveling …… You have to sell the stuff too!!!!
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today
MICHAEL: Lots of fresh black plumb and sweet baking spices. This wine is from very old vines in the hills of dry creek.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RED: Please share one thing about yourself that few people know
MICHAEL: If I tell you….then everyone will know.
RED: What is your favorite ‘everyday’ or table wine?
MICHAEL: I love “Burgundy” I also love to find cheap random “old-world” wines that are usually overlooked.
RED: How would you recommend that people approach your wines, or wine in general?
MICHAEL: With a corkscrew, a glass, and a willing attitude!
RED: Nice! If you could choose any one wine to drink (regardless of price or availability), what would it be?
MICHAEL: Wow !!!! I could go crazy trying to narrow that down to one wine. Probably some older Domain Dujac from Burgundy
RED: What is the one question that I should have asked you, and what is your answer to that question?
MICHAEL: Shaken…….not stirred and long walks on a beach
RED: Interesting… Well, Michael, thank very much for spending this time with me. Keep up the great work, we continue to be big fans!
MICHAEL: Thanks, Red!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
A spy photo, taken from the edge of today’s vineyard can be seenhere.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
This extremely rich and balanced zinfandel defines the true expression of the grape. An overwhelming crushed black plum is complimented by hints of cinnamon, clove, anise, and black pepper. A generous hint of flambéed cherry gives the sensation of roundness and sweetness. The complex finale exudes notes of cocoa, espresso, and hazelnut. This wine will compliment a juicy burger topped with a powerful cheese, rich Bolognese, and Southern Barbeque.
About The Winery:
Adobe Road is a small, family-owned winery located in Petaluma. We specialize in flavorful, distinctive wines. Each of our vintages is handcrafted with fine attention to detail, for a unique taste and experience. Our wines are created in small lots, allowing precise quality control to ensure that every bottle is just the way our wine artisans intended. Traditionally, Adobe Road has produced rich red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, but 2006 brings a lighter Sauvignon Blanc to our tasting room.
Adobe Road Winery is owned by renowned sports car racer and entrepreneur Kevin Buckler and his wife, Debra. Adobe Road Winery produces award winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Petite Sirah exclusively from Sonoma County sources. The tasting room is located in Petaluma, California. In 1995 Kevin founded The Racer’s Group (TRG) and grew it into an internationally prominent manufacturer and distributor of performance Porsche parts, while simultaneously building a career as a successful endurance sportscar racer and team owner. Kevin’s accomplishments as a driver include class wins at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (2002) and the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans (2002), an overall win at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona (2003), and the title of Porsche World Cup Champion in 2002. As a team owner, Kevin has directed the growth of The Racer’s Group into an internationally-acclaimed racing team.
With friends, the Bucklers started making “garage wine”, which, after prodding from enthusiastic friends started commercially bottling under the Adobe Road label in 1999. Through Kevin’s good connections, he has acquired grapes from some very prestigious vineyards, which he handcrafts into extremely limited-production wines. The awards have followed, with the Adobe Road 2001 Zinfandel winning a Silver medal in the prestigious Orange County Fair Wine Competition. In March of 2005, Adobe Road brought home the gold, with the 2002 Pinot Noir winning a Gold Medal – Best of Class; the 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon placing Silver and the 2002 Zinfandel receiving Bronze at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. With the goal of producing exceptional wines by hand-crafting small lots of red varietals exclusively from Sonoma County, the Bucklers have dedicated themselves to seeing their vision through to reality, and the results are paying off.
Winemaking Notes: Hand Harvested Ripe Mature Fruit. Destemmed for a long, cold soak. Temperature controlled fermentation for full fruit complexity and depth of color. Extended maceration until full varietal characteristic achieved.
Barrel Aging: 16 months in 85% French and 15% American Oak
Release: June 2009
Bottled: May 2009
Production: 700 Cases