2008 Bonneau Wines Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

Mission Codename: The end of the Rainbow

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Bonneau Wines, whose 2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel has been winning awards, including a recent 90 Point score from Wine Spctator Magazine. Infiltrate the winery and secure a sizable allocation for our Zin-loving Operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Bonneau Wines

Wine Subject: 2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

Winemaker: John Bambury


The Dry Creek Valley across the Russian River from Alexander Valley has a generally cooler and wetter climate which makes the growing season longer and more flexible than neighboring appellations. This is an area best known for producing rather incredible Zinfandel.

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. Dry Creek ValleyZinfandel, which are characterized by their balanced flavors, is among the most popular wines of our Operatives.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep ruby hues, with perfect color concentration, from core of the wine to the edge of the glass. After swirling, thick, wine-colored legs take a long time to emerge, before they begin to run slowly down the glass.

Smell – Dark and foreboding with a heady rush of spiced black cherry, ripe blackberry, dark wild strawberry and sweet red plum. When the wine opens up, it brings forth dried leather, tobacco, brown spice, subtle dried herbs and black pepper.

Feel – Initially light and soft, the wine gains some weight and complexity as it settles onto the mid-palate. Ripe tannins and a medium acidity provide a wonderful frame for the complex fruit.

Taste – Blackberry, wild strawberry and spiced cherry take the lead. These are followed by dark raspberry, dusty bramble, dried tobacco leaf, dusty earth, brown spice, dried fall leaves and a soft hint of black pepper at the tail end.

Finish – Fruit flavors linger for a very long time, gradually giving way to dark earthen notes of tobacco, spice and leather. The very end of the finish is punctuated by a gum-tingling zing of soft black pepper.

Conclusion – We went crazy for the 2007 vintage of this wine, but we must declare this 2008 Bonneau Winery Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel to be a superior big brother to that earlier release. Characterized by dark, juicy, bold fruit and an earthy complexity, this is a wonderful wine to sip, swirl and discuss. As you swirl the wine, it opens up to reveal more authentic fruit flavors and a softer, more elegant overall feel. This is a fun progression to witness and enjoy. Pair with your favorite BBQ – and be sure to stock up. You’ll want enough to get you through the summer.

Mission Report:
h3. Mission Report:


SUBJECT: John Bambury, Vintner

WINE EDUCATION: OTJ! Learn as I grow, invest & produce.

CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: I’ve been a Salesman, Entrepreneur & Grower all my business career. Winemaking is a relatively new departure.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Make it easy to enjoy right now & worth having for any special occasion.

WINEMAKER QUOTE: Seek & you’ll discover.

FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: Our 2002 Catherine’s Vineyard Estate Grown Chardonnay was officially released January 2004.


AGENT RED: Greetings, John. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

JOHN BAMBURY: It’s always a pleasure to be here with you.

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

JOHN: I’ve always been interested in cooking & making recipes better. I took that philosophy to my winemaking endeavors. I’m meticulous about growing grapes, optimizing harvest & sorting fruit for superior quality. The rest of the program involves doting over the soak, fermention & aging process to make sure the best qualities of the fruit is emphasized.

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

JOHN: I’ve had tutelage from three wine masters Phillip Titus at Chappellet; Randle Johnson at Hess Collection & Rick Tracy Great Grand Wine Guru.

RED: Who do you make wine for?

JOHN: I make wine the way I like to drink it—as the best compliment to food.

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

JOHN: This wine comes from grapes grown at a small vineyard just off Litton Springs Rd in Dry Creek Valley. The south facing hillside allowed the grapes to come to full maturity just before the first fall rains in 2008. From the get go the wine exhibited intense flavors of raspberries & spice. It’s one of my most favorite wines. So much so, that I reserved 4 barrels to age another year in new French & American Oak.

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

JOHN: This wine goes great with nutty tasting cheeses like aged gouda or it’s a delicious compliment to barbecued meats.

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Dry Creek Valley such a special place for Zinfandel?

JOHN: The Dry Creek is one of the warmest spots in Sonoma County. The climate the alluvial soils combine to offer ideal conditions for cultivating heat loving grapes like Zinfandel. I think Dry Creek Zinfandel wines are more elegant than those from other appellations.

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

JOHN: I’ve been busy this off season expanding & upgrading our winery in Sonoma. We’re putting in new state-of-art de-stemming, sorting & processing equipment made in France by Bucher Vaslin that will sharpen our quality & improve our efficiency. So we’re looking forward to the 2012 vintage.

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

JOHN: They’re ready drink. So try them & enjoy them now. If you really like your selection put 6-10 bottles away & try them every six months to see how it’s developing. Our wines are made as reward for a great discovery.

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

JOHN: Fine wine is loaded with nuances. Look for interesting characteristics in our wines. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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 Bonneau winery can be seen in thissatellite photo.

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