2009 Armida Winery Il Campo – Estate Field Blend

Mission Codename: This one time…

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Armida winery and secure a limited allocation of their coveted Il Campo Field Blend, a past Operative favorite – and the perfect wine for Holiday entertaining

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Armida Winery

Wine Subject: 2009 Il Campo Estate Filed Blend Zinfandel

Winemaker: Brandon Lapides


Zinfandel is related to the Italian Primitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grape Crljenak Kastelanski. Zinfandel is one of the most versatile varietals with the ability to make wines, both rich to fruity, dark to light, and dry to sweet. The Dry Creek Valley, where this Zinfandel’s grapes are are grown are characterized by their bright and balanced flavors, distinct minerality and spice are quite in popularity with our Operatives.

Petite Sirah’s California roots dates back to when it was believed to be a close relative of the Syrah grape. Later it would be found to be genetically identical to the Durif, named for its after French discoverer François Durif who found that the varietal was a Syrah grape pollinated with Peloursin flowers. Its smaller berries with higher skin to pulp ratio leads to more intense flavors. Another benefit of the smaller berries are tighter clusters that are more resistant to mildew. Currently Petite Sirah is less popular in France and increasingly popular in the United States

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark magenta, with even coloration, from heart to edge. After spinning the wine, widely-spaced legs rush quickly down the inside of the glass.

Smell – Bold and sweet and spicy, all at once, with a warm rush of blackberry and spiced cedar rushing up to greet you on the nose. These are followed, closely, by dark plum, cigar box, brown spice and soft leather. After the wine really opens up, subtle aromas of anise, dried tobacco leaf and dusty earth emerge.

Feel – Smooth and quickly drying on the attack, this wine starts light and cool, but then introduces a plushness that spreads all around the palate. This adds intrigue and complexity that gives the wine dynamic liveliness. Integrated tannins and soft minerals add additional texture.

Taste – Really juicy and delicious with ripe wild strawberry, Bing cherry and raspberry flavors that are bright and sweet. Right behind these, blackberry, plum and black raspberry mix with brown spice, tobacco leaf, black pepper and flint round out the palate.

Finish – Ultra long and lingering, with red fruit giving way to black fruit, spice, pepper and dark minerals at the very end.

Conclusion – A truly outstanding follow-up to previous vintages of Armida’s signature field blend, their 2009 Il Campo Filed Blend is a delicious, juicy, complex wine that our tasting panel is absolutely in love with. With a brilliant balance of red and black fruit flavors, an intriguing ad dynamic feel and aromatics that kept us sniffing long before our first sip, today’s wine is a must-have for anyone that loves big, flavorful, juicy red blends. We can’t get enough of this great wine, which is brilliant on its own or with a great Italian meal, roasted chicken or grilled New York steak. This is one wine to stock up on, dear Operative!

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Brandon Lapides

WINE EDUCATION: BS. Fermentation Science University of California at Davis

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Internships: Testarossa Vineyards, RH Phillips, Brancott Cellars; Assistant Winemaker: Peachy Canyon Winery, Dutton Goldfield Winery

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Lets bring back the old school philosophies, using as little new technology as possible.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: “Fill up my cup, Mazeltov.” – Black Eyed Peas.


AGENT RED: Greetings, Brandon. We are thrilled to be showing your 2009 Il Campo today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

BRANDON LAPIDES: My pleasure, Red. I am always happy to see that we can make some of our wine available to your loyal Operatives!

RED:I could tell you, Brandon, but… you know… Tell me, was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

BRANDON: Growing up I was mystified that when our whole family would get together, there would be many lengthy discussions about different wines. My curiosity then led to my eventual love of wine.

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

BRANDON: ’61 Latour. My grandfather had enough foresight to start buying Bordeaux wines in the late 60’s. I have been fortunate enough to have a few bottles over a span of 10 years. The wine has been the only wine that I have tasted that has ever lived up to its hype. The balance and complexities in the ’61 Latour after 40+ years of aging influenced my winemaking to try to have as much longevity in my own wines.

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

BRANDON: Our 2009 Il Campo Zinfandel is a co-fermentation estate blend of Zinfandel and a little Petite Sirah. We have nearly seven acres of vines on our estate and all of them go into this Il Campo blend. We pick our Zinfandel and Petite Sirah at the same time and co-ferment them together to better integrate flavors and tannin structure. My favorite part of this wine is that it comes from our estate. The grapes are picked and then crushed into a tank within an hour. Also we bottle our wines on site, so before this wine is shipped to you it has traveled 200 yards from our vineyards and another 200 yards to the barrel room, and that is it!!

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

BRANDON: Our favorite pairing is a slow roasted “Prime Rib Roast.” The tannins balance the succulence of the meat allowing the fruit and spice of the Il Campo to shine with every bite. A great wine to have on the holiday table.

RED: In your opinion, what makes your estate fruit so special?

BRANDON: Our estate is located on the southern border of Dry Creek Valley AVA. We are about 1 mile north of the border of the Russian River Valley. This means that we are located in the coolest section of the Dry Creek AVA. This allows our Zinfandel and Petite Sirah to hang on the vine a bit longer, plus the cool nights seem to lock in the acidity that balances this wine.

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

BRANDON: As harvest is winding down we are spending most of our time caring for our barrels of wine. Each barrel is touched every two weeks during this stage of winemaking, keeping us constantly busy.

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

BRANDON: I always recommend that consumers accompany our wines with food. Our wines pair well with a variety of foods and should be consumed with family and friends.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

BRANDON: I would love to invite any of your readers to come visit our vineyards, winery and tasting room right outside of Healdsburg. We have a beautiful patio with an incredible view overlooking our vineyards and manicured gardens. There is also a bocce ball court to test your skills after a glass of wine.

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 Vineyard Check:

The location of the Armida Winery can be seen in thissatellite photo.

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