2005 Dry Creek Vineyard Somers Ranch Zinfandel

Mission Codename: Explore. Dream. Discover.

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Locate an expressive Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel for our Zinfandel-loving Operatives

Mission Status: Accomplished

Current Winery: Dry Creek Vineyard

Wine Subject: 2005 Somers Ranch Zinfandel

Winemaker: Lisa Bishop Forbes


Our operatives know that Dry Creek Vineyard makes a exceptional wines. In 2008, our Operatives graced Dry Creek Vineyard with a Wine Spies Intrigue Award, our annual awards for the best wines of the year. For today’s wine, Agent Red was dispatched back to the winery to hand-pick another fantastic DVC wine. He chose their 2005 Somers Ranch Zinfandel, a wine that is extremely popular with DCV’s own wine club. Read Agent Red’s complete tasting profile and mission report below for the full intel on today’s great wine

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – This wine is dark ruby red with excellent clarity, continuous color out to its edges and a surface that has an intriguing finely-polished look to it. When swirled, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind legs of varying widths – that move down the glass at varying speeds, another unique attribute

Smell – On opening, the wine presents a slightly tight nose, like that which you might find on a very young wine. Allow the wine to breath for 15 minutes and your olfactory will be awarded with deep aromas of ripe blackberries, currants, raspberries, and cherries, gently layered on a base of cocoa, licorice, the softest hint of black tea and cedar


Feel – This wine is medium-bodied and very smooth with fine tannins, clean acidity with a peppery tang on the mid-palate

Taste – Ripe blackberries and dark cherry take the lead, to be followed by rich plum, toast, oak and spice

Finish – The finish is smooth and rich, leading off with its dark fruits, and backed by its cedar, toast and spices

Conclusion – This is a wine as distinctive as the intriguing vineyard that is comes from. Decant this wine for fifteen minutes or more and be intrigued at what emerges. On first opening, we found the wine to taste slightly oxidized. After letting it sit for a spell, the wine that emerged surprised – and delighted us! Rich, delicious and fraught with darkly lush flavors, this wine is a dusky Zin with a fine elegance to balance it out. This wine is just what you would expect from a Dry Creek Vineyard Zin, and worthy of its many accolades and awards

Mission Report:

Below we have included Agent Red’s original mission report and interview with Dry Creek Vineyard’s president Kim Stare Wallace, when we featured DCV’s excellent 2005 Meritage. Keep in mind, that many consider DCV’s finest wines to be their Zins….

Autumn (when the following interview originally took place) is crazy time for most California wineries. With the 2008 Harvest nearly complete, winery attention turns to crush and fermentation. The whole period is a pins and needles affair, when wineries begin to gauge the success of the crop. Some try to predict how the vintage will turn out.

My confidential informant at the winery, second generation winery family member and Vice President of Dry Creek Vineyard, Kim Stare Wallace, says that the winery takes a more pragmatic approach to crafting their exceptional wines:

KIM STARE WALLACE: When I hear of wineries predicting greatness for a particular vintage, I wonder how they can really know. The process of making wine is one that requires the persistent application of attention, art and science.

AGENT RED: Is this how your wines seem to improve so much each year?

KIM: I’m glad that you noticed! We are one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma County, having broken ground on our first vineyards in 1972. While there are plenty of great, small, family owned wineries in the area, ours is unique in the sense that we have more than 35 years of growing and winemaking experience in the Valley. We are so deeply committed to evolving and improving the quality of our wines.

RED: So, when do you begin to get a sense of the quality of the vintage?

KIM: Spring!

RED: I’ll have to check back with you then. Recently you’ve made the decision to make wines from 100% Dry Creek Valley fruit. Is this approach more true to your roots?

KIM: Yes, but also, Dry Creek Valley grapes are the finest available. In our humble opinions, at least!

RED: According to our intel reports, your wines have gone from great to even better. What other decisions have led to the improvements?

KIM: Within the last 5 years we brought on new members to our winemaking team. With nearly 40 years of combined experience at some of the finest wineries in the world, our team is focused on creating Dry Creek Valley wines that are dynamic, exciting and uniquely us. Our wines present an authenticity and a quality that deliver a sense of our special region.

RED: Tell me a little about your 2005 Meritage, which, by the way, I am totally crazy about!

KIM: I am so glad that you love it. Most of us here at the winery feel the same way. In fact, its a go to wine for us when we are looking for a delicious wine to go with a great meal.

RED: It has great acidity and great fruit. What is your favorite pairing?

KIM: Ahhh. I am so glad that you asked. I’ll transmit my favorite recipe to you after our meeting. Share it with your Operatives.

[see left for a great pairing suggestion and recipe]

RED: Thank you! I look forward to that. Tell me, how was harvest this year?

KIM: (sighs) Well, for one, its over! We’re all breathing easier now. Harvest was fun this year, and it came earlier too. The final fruit was all picked by October 8th.

RED: And last year?

KIM: October 26th! We’re glad that its behind us, though, as it gives us time to place extra attention on fermentation and barreling. We’ll miss our harvest interns, though!

RED: I met a few of them. Nice mix of ‘kids’. Let’s see, one from France, one from Australia, a UC Davis oenology student. All of them future viticulturists or winemakers. Do you have interns every year?

KIM: Pretty much since my father started this winery 36 years ago.

RED: I see that you are getting ready to plant new vineyards. What’s going in this time?

KIM: On this side, probably Petite Verdot and Malbec, two great blending components. Across the street, we’ll be planting Zinfandel.

RED: Yummy! DCV Zin is great. Listen, I have to congratulate you on a few things. Ready?

KIM: Sure!

RED: First, your 2007 Fumé Blanc beat out 1,052 other wines to be named Sweepstakes Winner at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.

KIM: And you know what? This was the first year in nearly 20 that I have been attending that I could not go!

RED: Second, you were recently named Chairperson of the Meritage Association. Congrats on that! Third, your wine insider blog ”Wilma’s Wine World” is a great read. I recommend it to all, but one suggestion?

KIM: Yes?

RED: Change the name to ”The Quantum of Wallace”!

KIM: Very James Bond. I like it, but I’m sticking with my original name!

RED: As perhaps you should. You know me, I think that everything should be spy-themed

Be sure to visit Kim’s blog at: http://www.wilmaswineworld.com/

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Somers Ranch vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.

The location of the Dry Creek Vineyard winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

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