2006 Charles Creek Vineyards Muy Bonito – A Syrah Blend

Mission Codename: Que Rico!

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit our old friends at Charles Creek Vineyard and acquire their most pretty Syrah blend.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Charles Creek Vineyard

Wine Subject: 2007 Muy Bonito – A Syrah Blend

Winemaker: Kerry G. Damskey


Our Operatives are crazy for Charles Creek wines. The first time we featured their excellent wines here, our Operatives snapped up our entire allocation before the one-day sale was over. Today, we return to Charles Creek to bring you their Muy Bonito Syrah Blend. The popularity of Syrah is undeniable. Big and bold in flavor and texture, it packs a concentrated punch of flavor that many people love. This Rhone varietal, although many believe that the grape originated in the Persia region, is 100% French in lineage. The Syrah grape is directly descendant from the Monduese Blanche and Dureza varietals and is grown worldwide with great success. Today’s delicious Syrah is a delight with original flavors, deep aromatics and a tender mouth feel.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark garnet and purple with a dense but clear core that allows just hints of light streak through it. Along the edges, the color lightens slightly and when swirled, slow medium thick legs of random speeds ring the glass.

Smell – A bountiful blend of spiced ripe and tart red and black and red fruit led off my black cherry and followed by red plum, soft raspberry and other berries. Hints of sweet spice, black pepper and green herbs meld with a healthy oak note. Reminiscent of the southern Rhone on the nose

Feel – Full-bodied and dry on the palate, this initially cool and smooth wine is plump, expansive and chewy with firm but well developed tannins that warms as it lingers long and reach the corners of the mouth followed by balanced acidity and a touch of dark minerality.

Taste – Rich, generous and ripe spiced red and black fruit including black cherry, blackberry, ripe raspberry and plum meld with toasted oak and vanilla that has a subtle smokey character. Dark minerals, spice and black pepper adds a kick along with just a hint of mocha and green herbs.

Finish – Long and lingering with this wine’s textured tannins and minerality grasping the slowly fading fruit and begging for another sip.

Conclusion – The 2007 Charles Creek Vineyard Muy Bonito – A Syrah Blend will instantly appeal to lovers of California Syrah but also those who like Rhone wines as well. The unique blend that includes Grenache, Cabernet, Tempranillo and Cab Franc adds complexity on both the nose and palate with a sturdy but not overbearing structure. Drinking very well now (give this wine some time to open) this wine will continue to develop for several years. Pair this wine with grilled steak tips or anything else you throw on the grill; and at this value price, this can be your every day Syrah blend!

Mission Report:

Charles Creek’s winemaker, Kerry G. Damskey, was unavailable for an interview, today. What follows is our original mission report, when we first infiltrated Charles Creek winery – and discovered just how much we love their wines:

“Take a picture, it’ll last longer!”

Snapped out of my reverie, I turned to see who had busted me. It was my contact here at the winery, codename: El Patron.

“Oh, hi,” I replied somewhat dumbly.

I had arranged to meet Patron later in the afternoon and thought that I’d get in a little private recon before our scheduled rendezvous. I wanted to get a feel for the land and for the vineyards where the grapes for their Las Pasiones were grown.

After I explained the reason for my early arrival, Patron took me on a tour of the vineyard and, later the winery. During the tour, he briefed me on the background of the winery and its founders. Bill Brinton, one of the founding owners, has farming, innovation and creativity in his blood. A direct descendant of John Deer, Bill himself is something of a pioneer, creating wines of exceptional character and remarkable value. Charles Creek is named after his son Charley and his grandfather, Charles Deere Wiman.

Bill works in partnership with his wife, Gerry, and together they maintain the vision for the winery and work to select the best grapes for their wines. The pair share a passion for wholesome values and integrity, which spills over into their wines.

My tour of the winery was great fun, and the staffers I met there are just as passionate about the wines that Charles Creek produces as its owners. When I remarked that I thought that their wines were somewhat under-priced for the quality that they produce, they just gave me polite smile and said, “We know. We know….”

Today’s wine is a great value, but its no ‘budget’ wine. This wine, Las Pasiones, drinks way above its class, delivering elegance, balance and, most of all, deliciousness.

Winemaker Profile:

Kerry DamskeyConsulting Winemaker

With 25 years of winemaking experience on four continents, Kerry Damskey brings both expertise and perspective to Charles Creek Vineyard. Damskey has spent his career gaining a better understanding of the entire ecology of wine, including the impact of climate, soil, sun exposure, and temperature on the grape growing and winemaking process. This concept, which the French call terroir, is the name of his consulting company.

Damskey holds a B.S. in fermentation sciences from the University of California, Davis, is a graduate of the intensive program for small business at the Stanford University School of Business, and is a candidate of the Institute of the Masters of Wine. Damskey is a multi-time winner of the Sonoma County Wine Sweepstakes award the highest award at one of the most competitive events, and has received numerous other gold awards for his wines.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Charles Creek Vineyard tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.

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