Wine of the Week; 2007 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2007 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel.

The Winery

Bradford Mountain Winery is located in Healdsburg, CA. The label was started by George Hambrecht just out of college, in the late ’90s. The first crush was in October 1998, and produced about 1,800 cases of wine.

According to Bradford…

Over the years, our fruit has been purchased by such luminaries as Turley, Gary Farrell, Quivira, and Alysian, as well as other well-known producers.

I was referred to Bradford Mountain a few years ago by a friend who works in the wine business.  He was kind enough to set up a private tasting for my wife and I.  When we arrived at the address, we noted that it was (at the time) C. Donatiello winery. Today, it is  VML winery. Since Bradford Mountain, and VML share an address, I believe that’s where you can purchase the Bradford Mountain wines (by the way VML is a great spot for tasting – they focus on Pinot, and Chardonnay).

It was a bit of an unusual tasting in that we were ushered to the back of the winery to do the tasting.  I vividly recall the tasting because it was a hot day, and there were fruit flies everywhere!  Setting aside the fruit flies and the heat it was a great tasting. We picked up a few bottles of this wine and their Grist Vineyard Syrah.

The Wine

This wine is a combination of fruit from Grist Vineyard, which located on Bradford Mountain –  the highest point on Dry Creek Valley’s western edge (click here for video profile), and vineyard on the Dry Creek valley floor.  The Grist Vineyard is located on a hilltop plateau 1100 feet above the valley floor, and was planted to Zinfandel nearly 100 years ago.  The fruit for this wine is from vines are between 10 and about 40 years old.

The vineyard soil is rugged red decomposing volcanic rock, and I believe that results in the distinctive mineral component of this wine.

2007 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel

2007 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel

My tasting notes follow:

Garnet color with dark fruit, licorice, and spice aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied and fresh with a silky texture I don’t recall ever experiencing at this point, good balance, and soft well-integrated tannins. It shows flavors of mixed berry, hints of cassis, spice, dark chocolate and mineral flavors with a medium-long finish – 91pts

Rating: Highly Recommended.  This wine drinks like many a $35-$45 Zins I’ve had. Off the chart QPR! It’s aged well, I last had a bottle about a year ago

Pair with:  Seared Ahi Tuna, Ciopppino, BBQ Spareribs, Burgers or Rack of Lamb!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

  • Alcohol: 14.2
  • Closure: Cork
  • AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountyDry Creek Valley
  • Grape Varieties: 100% Zinfandel
  • Cooperage: 14 months in French, Hungarian, and American oak barrels; 40% new oak
  • Retail: $18
  • Cases produced: Unknown
  • Drink: now – 2014

This above wine was purchased for review

 

Wine of the Week; 2008 Unti Vineyards Grenache

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2008 Unti Vineyards Grenache.

The Winery

Unti Vineyards is a small family-owned and operated winery that specializes in Zinfandel, Rhône, and Italian varietals.  The winery was co-founded in 1997 by George and Linda Unti, and their son Mick Unti.  Mick manages all winemaking, sales and marketing for the winery. Sébastien Pochan is the winemaker.

The Unti’s farm 60 acres of vineyards in Dry Creek Valley.  When one thinks of Dry Creek valley wines, Zinfandel is top of mind. Italian varietals like Barbera, Sangiovese, Montepulciano are not.  However, the Unti’s are producing four bottlings of Italian varietals that have found success.

All of the Unti’s grapes have been biodynamically farmed since 2004.

My wife and I discovered Unti Vineyards in 2010 when we attended Passport to Dry Creek Valley. We returned a few times since then and have alway enjoyed their wines.

The Wine

This “Southern Rhône style” wine is primarily based on Grenache Noir.  The fruit come from their creekside vineyard, planted in 1998.  The budwood for the Grenache was obtained from Tablas Creek and Alban Vineyards.  According to Unti..

These clonal selections, all from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, give darker color and better structure than the majority of the Grenache clones planted in California

In addition to Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre are added for color, body, and complexity. 40% of the fruit for this blend is whole cluster fermented.

Wine of the Week: Unti Vineyards 2008 Grenache

Wine of the Week: Unti Vineyards 2008 Grenache

My tasting notes follow

Nearly opaque violet color with red fruit, white pepper, and anise aromas. Initially the nose was closed in. It opened up with a little air time. On the palate, it’s between light and medium-bodied, fresh and balanced with raspberry, and cherry  and spice flavors. Medium finish – 89pts

Rating: Recommended; This is my kind a Grenache!

The Wine Geek Stuff:

Alcohol: 14.5% alcohol.

Closure: Cork

AVA: > CaliforniaSonoma CountyDry Creek Valley

Varietal(s): 75% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre, 12% Syrah

Cooperage: 13 months 620 gal French oak foudres, 2 yr-old French oak barrels

Retail: $26

Cases produced: 715

Purchased for review

T.G.I.F. Champagne And The Like…Piper Sonoma Brut

This week’s sparkler is from Piper Sonoma.  I’m not sure why I haven’t tried this wine before, but it’s the only Northern California sparkling wine producer whose bubbly I’ve not had the pleasure of trying.

Piper Sonoma was founded in 1980 by the Piper-Heidseick Champagne house.  This brand seems to be lagging behind other California sparking wine houses established by French Champagne houses like Chandon, Mumm,  Taittinger and Roederer.  It’s exchanged hands a few times.  Last year it,  along with Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck brands from the Champagne region of France, was sold by  Rémy Cointreau to the Société Européenne de Participations Industrielles, or EPI.  Prior to that, Rémy Cointreau USA sold the winery to J Vineyards & Winery in 1997 and continued to make wine under contract there until 2007.  Then the brand was sold to Rack & Riddle Custom Wine Services in Hopland, followed by Rémy brand Bearboat.

This cuvée is a typical blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier that includes 20-25% reserve wines. Between 75-80% of the fruit is from Sonoma with the balance being from Dry Creek, and Carneros.

Piper Sonoma Brut

Where it’s from: California>Sonoma Valley

The grape(s) Chardonnay (60%), Pinot Noir (15%),  and Pinot Meunier (25%)

Production method: Traditional Method 

Alcohol: 13.5

Dosage: Brut

Aging: 18 months on less

 Retail: $18 (I purchased on sale for $12 – it’s frequently on sale at my local Safeway)

My tasting notes follow:

Light yellow straw color with lots of tiny bubbles with toasty biscuit, apple, and hints of floral and citrus aromas. On the palate, it’s between light, medium-bodied, and crisp with a surprisingly creamy mousse and green apple, vanilla, anise and mineral flavors. Medium finish. – 86pts

Pair with: The beauty of sparkling wines is their versatility with food, because of their palate cleansing quality (think scrubbing bubbles;-). This one would be wonderful as an aperitif ,  and with first courses, such lobster rolls, crab cakes, or deviled eggs or salads.

Recommendation: This is a very good sparkler.  I see it as a step up from many of the Korbel sparklers, but sold at a price point just below comparable entry-level sparklers from Mumm, Chandon, Gloria Ferrer, etc.  It’s a “tweener” that offers good value at the sale price of $11.99.

Cheers!