93 Insider Points
Big fruit still present with this aged Zinfandel. Black rasberry compote, fruit leather on the nose. Plum and asian spice dominate the flavor profile of this wine. This is a very serious Zinfandel that aged with grace. The oak is well balanced with the fruit and acid. This vintage was very good and the wine is drinking well past what our Panel expected. Highly recommended by our Insider Panel. -WB 3/17
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
$0 SHIPPING Selection (6+/btls)
As Eurocentric as any American winemaker working today, Richard Mansfield is a stickler for tradition and for details. Maybe his intense approach in the vineyard and in the winery is partly to blame for the fact that Mansfield makes so little wine. What does get released under this micro label is without a doubt some of the most delicious stuff produced anywhere in California, and we are lucky to know the man personally and offer a taste of his 2006 Dry Creek Zin.
For this vintage, grapes were sourced from the low-yielding upper slopes of Bradford Mountain—one of Dry Creek’s prime sites for magnificent Zin. Mansfield practices meso vinification in all his small-production wines. This technique requires him to walk every row of the vineyard during harvest and to tailor both picking and winemaking methods to the qualities of each small lot as its brought into the winery.
All lots are crushed separately and kept distinct during fermentation and aging, after which Mansfield begins the long and difficult process of blending, sometimes one barrel at a time! His 2006 Zin is hearty and mouthfilling, offering up blackberries, raspberries and blueberries on the nose and in the mouth, with a sprinkling of vanilla and other rich baking spice and a rich finish of crème de cassis.
Reasons why we love it:
Vintner Richard Mansfield studied chemistry at the University of Oregon and when on to earn a Master’s Degree in both viticulture and enology from Germany’s highly regarded institute of winemaking in Geisenheim.
As a seriously veteran winemaker, Mansfield boasts 30 or so vintages under his belt, having made wine in Germany and at his own Callahan Ridge in Oregon.
The Mansfields own one of the last remaining, non-restored ‘ghost wineries’ in the valley. The historic structure was built by Italian and Chinese workers in the late 1800s and was used to process material from a nearby perlite mine during prohibition.
Buyer Beware: Aged wines, those 7 years and older, are rarified and special. Their youthful flavors are tamed and made more complex by the hands of time. While we carefully tuck our wines away in a temperature controlled warehouse safe from light and sound, each wine and every bottle ages differently. For this reason, our Palate Guarantee does not automatically apply to wines of 7 years in age or older.
Possessing a complex bouquet of dark fruit and briery spice with mocha toffee and bread-out-of-the-oven nuance. Strong fruit notes of blackberry essence and cherry pie accompany spice rack mélange of cloves, anise and cinnamon. Good tannic ripeness balanced by ripe fruit and rich acidity. Full-bodied, layered and worthy of aging.
Richard Mansfield, a veteran winemaker with 28 vintages under his belt, produced the 2004 Mansfield Merlot from the Moore Ranch Vineyard, perched on the east facing slopes of the Vaca Mountains. These old vines overlook the hustle of Napa Valley’s floor from what appears to be eons of time and space, but the distance is crossed in mere minutes by car. Richard, in European style, walked each row of these long-standing vines, carefully selecting only perfectly ripe grapes for his fermentation vats. Carefully shepherding these small lots through fermentation and barrel aging, slowly tasting and blending small amounts of wine to create the perfect expression of this remote site.
Serve with beef, pasta with red sauce, barbecue, spicy cuisine, and game.