2006 Carneros Viognier
California: Carneros - Los Carneros (Sonoma)
What we say
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Mission Codename: Dusting for prints
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Decode the print on Thumbprint Cellars bottles
Mission Status: Mission Accomplished
Current Winery: Thumbprint Cellars
Wine Subject: 2006 Viognier, Los Carneros, Sonoma County
It was a beautiful day in downtown Healdsburg, California and I was looking forward to my mission Thumbprint Cellars. Agent Red had been there before, but Central Command sent me in to investigate the mystery of the image of the Thumb print that can be found on every bottle of Thumbprint Cellars wine.
On this mission I had to go undercover and pose as a wine consumer. This is one of my favorite covers as I love to have the same experience that folks outside of ‘the trade’ have.
I walked into the Thumbprint tasting room where I was struck by the casual and comfortable nature of the place. That’s not to say that the tasting room lacked style or polish. This place was all class. Art on the walls, great lighting, great music and an overall atmosphere that made it feel more like a classy lounge than a traditional stuffy winery tasting room.
Almost immediately I was greeted by a smiling young woman behind the counter. She handed me tasting sheet and invited me to try anything on the list that looked interesting to me. I flashed my best tourist grin and shyly said that I was new to wine and needed a good introduction. For the next thirty minutes, as other customers came in (mostly to buy wine which was a great sign!), she gave me an education about wine, about Thumbprint Cellars and about their style of winemaking.
I was impressed by her knowledge, but I as more impressed with their wines. Almost everything I tasted that day was spectacular and I am recommending to Central Command that we offer up several Thumbprint wines to our Operatives in the field.
Toward the end of the tasting, a very jovial looking guy walked in and went around the counter – to face me directly. For a moment I thought that my cover may have been blown but then the guy smiled, shook my hand and asked me how I liked his wines. At that moment, I made a connection in my brain! I told him that I loved his wines – and then I lied and told him that I was a palm reader. Instantly he turned his hand palm-side up under a pool of light from the overhead halogen light.
After a moment of pretending to look at his palm it was revealed to me! The secret of the Thump Print of each bottle of this follows wine could be found, of all places, on the winemakers thumb! The prints matched perfectly.
“So,” he said. “What does my future hold?”
“That’s easy,” I replied, “*Many* more great wines!”
I later learned that thumbprint cellars’ winemaker, Scott Lindstrom-Dake, had been making wine since 1995. He told me, “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.”
Scott’s first vintage was a great success and his wines enjoyed by his close friends and family (all 4 cases of it). As requests for more wine grew, Scott decided to move away from ‘shiners’ (unlabeled bottles), and add a little flair to his wine packaging. Using a gold pen, he wrote personal messages on each bottle he gave away or sold. After writing on one particular bottle, Scott inadvertently grabbed the bottle where the gold ink was still wet – leaving a large gold thumbprint. He loved the look, and so Thumbprint Cellars was born.
thumbprint cellars plans to continue its growth over the next several years. Projections place production at 5000 cases a year by 2010. To maintain the handcrafted quality expected in all thumbprint cellars wine, production is anticipated to cap at 5000 cases a year using organic and bio-dynamic grapes supplied by artisan Sonoma County growers.
Erica and Scott Lindstrom-Dake, proprietors of thumbprint cellars, are always in awe of the beauty and bounty that Sonoma County offers thumbprint cellars. They look forward to seeing thumbprint cellars take its place alongside the many fantastic wine producers of Sonoma County (and the world!).
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Golden yellow
Smell – Strong and pleasing nose fig, apricot, honeysuckle, jasmine and citrus. After some time in the glass, pear and melon appear.
Feel – Slightly sharp at first, but then mellows beautifully to become more velvety
Taste – Buzzy on the tongue at first but then slowly reveals ripe peach, bananna muffin, pineapple and mild apricot.
Finish – Long, sweet and lingering
Conclusion – Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc featured heavily in my recent missions and I was exposed to little else. I was getting a little bored with those and my desire for something new, unique and delicious was increasing. My craving has been satisfied by this superior wine from Thumbprint Cellars.
This, like all of the Thumbprint Cellars wines that me and fellow spies have tasted, gets a big Wine Spies recommendation.
Wine Spies Vineyard Background Check:
Vineyards – This wine comes from grapes grown in the famous Carneros (also known as Los Carneros) region of Sonoma County. In 1983, Carneros received official recognition as a dedicated American Viticultural Area (AVA) and is designated as a “cool climate” area. The region is known for exceptional Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and, increasingly, Viognier.
Los Carneros wineries include Acacia, Ancien Wines, Artesa, Buena Vista, Ceja Vineyards, Clos du Val, Cuvaison, Domaine Carneros, The Donum Estate, Etude Wines, Gloria Ferrer, Havens Wine Cellars, Madonna Estate, MacRostie Winery, Merryvale, Patz & Hall, Pine Ridge Winery, Robert Sinskey Vineyards and ZD Wines. Counted among its most well-known vineyards are Hyde Vineyards, Hudson Vineyards, Durrell Vineyards, Sangiacomo Vineyards and the Stanly Ranch, operated by Silverado Premium Partners.
The Los Carners region can be seen in this satellite photo
Pairing: I recommend paring this exceptional wine with spicy or tangy foods. I enjoyed (hic) nearly a half bottle by myself – after a long hot day – over a dinner spicy Thai food. YUM!
What the winery says
2006 Viognier, Carneros, Sonoma County -
Buzzing aromas of dried pear, nectarine and honeysuckle. Perfect for hummingbirds and bees. Flavors of peach, bananna cream, subtle coconut and ripe pineapple expand with vibrant acidity, crisp citrus and mineral components.
Experience with triple cream and Parma cheeses or a warm Fall porch.