Wine Last Sold on: December 20, 2011
Bradford Mountain Winery
2007 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
|Vineyard:||Grist, Goat Trek & Leila Vineyards|
|Region:||California: Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma)|
|Total Allocation:||Operative's Choice: Top Zinfandel|
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The Winery Says:
About This Wine:
Black raspberry and spice leap from the glass, and the palate expands with layers of dark fruits and a hint of sweet herb. The wine is at once elegant and concentrated, offering round, full flavors on the palate that evolve into a long, smooth finish. Balanced, rich, and eminently enjoyable, this is an exceptional expression of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel.
The Vintage: This wine is a blend of Grist Vineyard as well as Dry Creek Valley floor fruit. Our goal is to produce a wine that speaks to the qualities that define the Dry Creek Valley appellation, while retaining the distinctive elements the Grist Vineyard delivers. The 2007 vintage was among the finest we have seen in the hills above the Dry Creek Valley, offering a balance of ripeness, acidity, and flavor that is rare. Spring entered gently, with bud break and flowering occurring as expected. The summer proved to be a mild one, with consistently warm days and cool nights, promoting even ripening in the clusters. Some leaf pulling and crop thinning were needed, but in general, the vineyards took care of themselves that year. We saw the first wild pig eating fruit early on October 3, and had the picking crew in the vineyards by the fifth to bring the fruit in.
Winemaking: When the fruit arrived at the winery, we crushed and destemmed the bunches, leaving a significant amount of whole berries in the must. The fruit was cold soaked for 2 days before inoculation for fermentation. Temperatures were controlled to extend the length of the fermentation, and regular punchdowns were conducted to promote extraction of color and flavor. After 18 days, the must was transferred to a basket press for a gentle pressing into a combination of French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels.
The Grist Vineyard: The soil is red, volcanic and rugged, the growing season unusually long here. The location of Bradford Mountain in the Dry Creek Valley provides the wines we produce with the characteristics that are the mark of this famous appellation: sweet herbs, tar, plums and aromatic, oriental-like spice.
About The Wines:
There is a detectable mountain influence in these wines, while at the same time a tempering from the ocean, permitted by the site’s elevation. The soil is red, volcanic, and rugged, and the growing season unusually long here. While Bradford Mountain frequently becomes its own weather-station, often hosting weather patterns very different from those on the valley floor, it has enough inherent Dry Creek-ness to give Zinfandel and Syrah the mark of this renowned appellation: sweet herbs, tar, and aromatic, oriental-like spice.
About The Winery:
Bradford Mountain wines were born out of the Hambrecht family’s belief that there was something beguilingly distinct about the fruit from their Dry Creek Valley vineyards. Planted on a hilltop plateau 1100 feet above the valley floor, the vines produce a low-yielding crop (2 ¼ tons per acre) of intensely flavored grapes with an irresistible wild, brambly flair. Once sold to some of California’s most celebrated wineries, the fruit deserved to be bottled independently, and given the opportunity to tell the story of this terroir.
In 1998, ground was broken to build the Bradford Mountain Winery. A small, simple building was erected. Money was spared on architecture, and spent prudently on the best equipment available for boutique-scale winemaking: square, jacketed, open-topped tanks, a pneumatic overhead punch-down system and 168 carefully chosen barrels. The first fruit, 56 tons, was crushed in October 1998. Our Viticulture team has experimented widely with vinification and viticulture to best augment the uniqueness of the site. The very essence of the wines from Bradford Mountain is merely a reflection of the health and vigor of the vineyards. Thus we have developed an organic viticulture program to produce the finest fruit possible. After much tasting and a careful culling, the first vintage produced 1837 cases of wine. The Winery continues to evolve and develop small lots of artisan wines.
There is both a detectable mountain influence, as well as a tempering effect from the Pacific Ocean only 15 miles to the west. The soil is red, volcanic and rugged, the growing season unusually long. The location of Bradford Mountain in the Dry Creek Valley provides the wines with the characteristics that are the mark of this famous appellation: sweet herbs, tar, plums and aromatic, Asian-like spice. However, due to the elevation from the valley floor, Bradford Mountain is definitely host to its own mesoclimate, often seeing weather patterns very different from those in the valley below, thus creating a much lower yielding yet intensely flavorful crop.
Appellation: Dry Creek Valley
Varietals: 100% Zinfandel
Vineyards: Grist Vineyard – blocks 2, 4, 7; and valley fruit
Barrel Aging: 14 months in French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels; 40% new oak
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The Wine Spies Say:
Operative’s Choice: Top Zinfandel
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
This is a fantastic and amazing and delicious Zinfandel that easily earns this special alert. We always feature the very best wines that we can find, but when a wine really shines, we issue special alerts like this one.
HIGH QPR ALERT:
Today’s wine drinks way above its price class. We won’t tell the winery that they should be charging more money, if you don’t!
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Mission Codename: With answerable courage
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Bradford Mountain Winery, a winery known for crafting Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel of great distinction. Secure an ample allotment of their 2007 Zinfandel, a Ultra QPR wine that drinks better than some of its higher-priced rivals from the region.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: VML Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Bradford Mountain Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Winemaker: Ginny Lambrix
Backgrounder: Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley is a treasure trove of great wines. Arguably, the region is best known for producing some of the finest Zinfandel in the country. For today’s wine Agent Red returned to Bradford Mountain Winery, a Wine Spies favorite. There, he sampled Bradford’s stunning 2007 Zinfandel. Excited by his discovery, Agent Red was able secure every last bottle of this wine for our Zin-loving Operatives.
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 – Dark magenta with a solid core of mulberry juice. Color is dark and deeply concentrated and, at the edge of the wine, a fine ring of dark fuscia encircles the wine. After swirling, thin, wine-stained tears start high up on the wall of the glass before moving slowly downward.
Smell – Jammy blackberry and raspberry mix with sweet brown spice, blueberry torte, black cherry and a hint of fine, sweet dried herbs. As the wine opens up, dark chocolate, black pepper and a hint of cigar box begin to emerge.
Feel – Medium-weight across the front palate, the wine expands and gains a little more weight at the mid-palate. After a moment, plush tannins give the wine a crushed velvet feel. Gradually, an easy, softly grippy dryness leads to a chewy feel that encourages you to take another long pull.
Taste – Blackberry and softly smoky blueberry present at the front, with black cherry, fine dried herbs, dusty bramble and mulberry close behind. Cigar box and a hint of flint make a subtle appearance at the end.
Finish – Very long and flavor-filled, with dark fruit flavors gently yielding to soft, sweet herbs, flint with hints of softest cedar and tobacco. Throughout, the wine progresses very gradually from soft and sweet, to softly dry.
Conclusion – Do yourself a great favor today, dear Operative, and grab (at least) a case of this fantastic wine while you can. This is a classic Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel that offers great value with with delicious fruit, great complexity, a perfect feel and sweet aromatics. The 2007 vintage was an great one for Northern California wines and this wine finds itself in fine company, easily living up to the hype of the vintage. If you are looking for a great daily drinker, or the perfect Zin to serve your guests during the coming Holidays, you’ve found it. Just be sure to stock up. This may be your last opportunity to get your hands on some. Cheers!
Wine Spies vineyard Check:
The location of the Bradford Mountain Winery vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.