2009 Stephen & Walker Russian River Valley Zinfandel.

Mission Codename: The Harmonious

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Operatives have been clamoring for a big, juicy and delicious Russian River Valley Zinfandel, worthy of their exacting tastes. Send Agent Red to our friends at Stephen & Walker to secure an ample cache of their finest Zinfandel

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Stephen & Walker

Wine Subject: 2005 Russian River Valley Zinfandel

Winemaker: Nancy Walker

Winery Backgrounder: Zinfandel is related to the ItalianPrimitivo grape, tracing its origin to the Croatian grapeCrljenak 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. TheRussian River Valley is ideally suited for red grape varietals. Its early morning fog and coastal breezes result in a cooler climate than the neighboring wine growing regions. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Perfect garnet with a glinting ruby-red edge. Clear and slightly darker at the core, this wine is very pretty. After spinning the wine, tall, chubby, wine-stained legs fall from high up on the glass wall.

Smell – Heady and lush, with smoky, spiced dark cherry chocolate candy that leaps from the glass. As you inhale more deeply, the wine reveals blackberry, black cherry, bramble bush, dried black rose petal, dark strawberry and soft spice.

Feel – Soft, cool and light across the front-palate. Then, very gradually, the wine becomes softly grippy, gaining a light to medium bodied feel at mid-palate. Supple tannins and a soft acidity give the wine a very approachable yet gently complex overall feel.

Taste – Darkly juicy and very delicious, lead by brambly blackberry and dark cherry. Close behind these, dried meats, black plum, subtle cigar box and toasty spice appear.

Finish – Long and very flavorful, lead by that wondrously complex chocolate cherry candy from the nose. This flavor gradually yields to dark berry fruit, cigar box, dried flower petals and soft spice.

Conclusion – We love you, Nancy Walker! This is the best S & W Zinfandel we have ever tasted – and the best one, in a long while, that we’ve tried from any winery. From our first inhalation of this heady wine, we knew what it had in store for the rest of our senses. This wine delivered a sensory experience that had our entire tasting panel gushing with praise and excitement. When asked to characterize the wine in one word, most of us said, “Balance!”. Everything about this wine is held together in harmony. Aromas and flavors run the gamut, from sweet to savory. Bright acids and supple tannins frame the delicious favors. The finish is a delightful progression, with flavors that tail off, one after another, leaving the mouth with a soft dryness and a coating of flavor. If you love fantastic Zinfandel, do not miss out on this fantastic 2009 Stephen & Walker Russian River Valley Zinfandel.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of Stephen & Walker Tasting Room, in downtown Healdsburg, can be seen in this satellite photo.

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