2007 Kokomo Winery Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Mission Codename: Deeper than the Ocean

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to our old friends at Kokomo wines, where their 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is reputed to be ready to enjoy. Secure and ample allottment for our deserving Operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Kokomo Wines

Wine Subject: 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley

Winemaker: Erik Miller

Backgrounder:

The Dry Creek Valley AVA in northeastern Sonoma (north of Healdsburg) county is somewhat warmer and wetter than the Russian River Valley AVA region just to the south and the Alexander Valley AVA just to the east. The warmer and wetter climate provides great versatility with regard to the types of grapes that can be effectively cultivated in the region.

Today’s superb wine comes from three unique vineyard sources around the valley, including Mounts vineyard (a Wine Spies favorite) on the west side of the valley, the Mountainview Ranch, which is the highest-elevation vineyard in the valley, and the Timbercrest Vineyard on the east side, which boasts vines that like those of the Mounts vineyard, date back to the 1960’s.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark and concentrated, with darkest red and purple hues, from the dark garnet heart, right out to the ruby-colored edges. The wine settles quickly when swirled. After a hearty swirl, tall legs start out chubby, thinning out as they slowly make their way down the edge of the glass.

Smell – Warm and very lush, with tart cherry pie, plum and blackberry leaping from the glass. These are followed by dark dried violet petals, black currant and black cherry. After some swirling, additional aromas of cigar box, mushroom and leather emerge.

Feel – Velvet smooth and very round on entry. Then, as the wine passes the mid-palate, lush tannins set a firm dryness spreading around the palate, drying the cheeks and pursing the lips.

Taste – Layered and complex, with dark cherry, overripe blackberry and smoked blueberry in the lead. These are closely followed by black currant, soft black pepper, black tea leaf and flint.

Finish – Long and lush, with lingering dark fruit that gradually yields to spice, pepper, black tea and soft oak.

Conclusion – 2007 seems to be the recent ‘it’ vintage for coastal California Cabernet Sauvignon, and the examples we have been tasting validate this. Today’s 2007 Kokomo Winery Cabernet Sauvignon is an alluring wine, especially for its relatively low price. We tasted this wine soon after its bottling and again more recently, and it has really progressed beautifully. Gone are the hard edges, which are replaced by bold fruit and a plush feel. This gives us some insight as to how the wine will continue to progress. If you purchase a few bottles, today, please be sure to keep a few to lay down for the next few years.

Mission Report:

WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER

SUBJECT: Erik Miller

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Keep my thumbprint off the wines as much as possible and let the vineyard show through. Terrior is what makes the wine unique and I believe it is the winemakers job to ensure it is not lost in the winemaking process.

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2005


WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT RED: Greetings, Erik. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

ERIK MILLER: We are excited to be on our third covert mission with you – and thank you for your continued support.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

ERIK: Working my first harvest and experiencing fermentation!

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

ERIK: My neighbors’ Pinots. Papapietro Perry definitely inspired me to embrace California Pinot. Delicious!

RED: Who do you make wine for?

ERIK: We make wine for food, but it is important that the wine can be enjoyed on its own.

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

ERIK: Our 2007 Dry Creek Valley Cabernet is a great representation of the appellation. It is made up of three different vineyards from Dry Creek Valley: Timber Crest (on the east side benchlands), Mtn. View Ranch ( on Bradford Mountain 1000 ft. elevation), and Mounts Vineyard (40 year old vines from the West Dry Creek). It is 100% Cabernet.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

ERIK: Red meat! This Cabernet pairs beautifully with steak, hearty winter stews, and cured meats

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Dry Creek Valley so special?

ERIK: Dry Creek Valley is special for several reasons. It is one of the most narrow appellations in the state making each side of the valley distinctly different. Another huge factor for our appellation is the influence of the Russian River. The Russian River flows due south from Mendocino and when it hits Healdsburg (Dry Creek Valley) it make a 90 degree bend to let out in the Pacific Ocean. This brings a lot of the fog from the river through the beginning of the valley, making it 10 degrees cooler than the end of the valley.

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

ERIK: Getting ready for harvest. Sampling vineyards and sanitizing, sanitizing, sanitizing.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

ERIK: Bottling and going on sales trips. We are also starting to think about blends for the 2010 vintage and tasting how the vintage is coming around.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Winery Check:

The location of the Kokomo Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

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