As we listen to Jim Nabors singing “Back Home in Indiana” at the Indianapolis 500, one winemaker in Dry Creek Valley, Erik Miller, might not be thinking of the sycamores and new mown hay, or the moonlight on the Wabash, as much as he is thinking of budding Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vines.
Erik grew up in Kokomo, Indiana and graduated from Purdue University in 1999. But upon graduation he felt the pull to “Go west young man” and headed off to Sonoma County, trading cornfields and soybeans for vineyards and rolling hills. He started working crush for Belvedere Winery in Russian River Valley. With this taste of winemaking, he knew he wanted more and enrolled at UC Davis to study enology. He landed a position as cellar worker at Amphora Winery in Dry Creek Valley. In 2004 he started Kokomo Winery, named after his hometown. He convinced his college roommate to join him as assistant winemaker and by 2006 they moved into their own facility at Timber Crest Farms in Dry Creek Valley.
The 2008 Chardonnay is from Peters Vineyard in Russian River Valley. This is a very surprising Chardonnay exhibiting a high quality Burgundian style with great levels of acidity and aromas of vanilla, pineapple and a touch of tropical fruits. This is not a buttery Chardonnay but rather a true exhibition of the fruit of the vine with the classic citrus and green apple flavors, and full body texture and followed by a long clean finish. Only 520 cases were made and the suggested price is $29.
The 2007 Sonoma County Zinfandel comes from three vineyards in Sonoma County, ranging form Martorana Vineyard high above Lake Sonoma to Timber Crest Vineyards on the benchland of Dry Creek Valley to Perotti Vineyards, a small one acre site that has proven to deliver a fruit forward aroma. This is a big jammy wine rich in aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum with chocolate and spice to deliver a well rounded wine with an earthiness that you expect from Zinfandel. They produced 800 cases and the suggested price is $22.
For more information: Kokomo Winery website