Monday, July 12, 2010

Dutcher Crossing new small lot Zinfandel

Dutcher Crossing Winery in Dry Creek Valley is known for its small-lot wine program. They have recently released the 2008 Bernier-Sibary Vineyard Zinfandel made from a 3-acre vineyard block off Canyon Road. “The Bernier-Sibary vineyard is a classic Italian field blend of 75% Zinfandel, intermixed with 10% each of Petite Sirah and Carignane, and 5% Matero (Mourvedre),” said Debra Mathy, proprietor of Dutcher Crossing. The vineyard is owned by Jane and Scott Sibary and farmed by grape grower, Paul Bernier. “Our goal is to capture the sense of place in the bottle by creating a wine that is definitely Zinfandel, but with added nuances from the other varieties,” said Mathy.

The Bernier-Sibary grapes are usually the last Zinfandel to be harvested according to Dutcher Crossing winemaker, Kerry Damskey. “Even in an early, warm vintage such as 2008, the inter-planted Carignane and Matero slow the site’s overall maturity,” he explained.

When harvested the grapes undergo open top tank fermentation with punch down. They have 18 days of skin contact before 14 months in the barrel, of which 32% of the barrels are new French oak.
The 2008 Zinfandel has a dark rich color. The California Wine Examiner tasting panel discovered that this is a wine that needs some air to come alive. When tasted right after opening the wine was not dynamic. But let it air for some time, even a couple hours it comes alive and shows you what a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel can be. In fact this wine held up well even a couple days after it was opened!

On the nose are dark berry flavors of blackberry, blueberry, anise and a subtle oak characteristic. As you taste the wine, these same berry flavors are intense, bringing in spices of cinnamon and a bit of clove. It has a nice lingering finish. This wine would go well with honey glazed BBQ ribs for a delightful summer meal. The price for this Zinfandel is $39. 
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