Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Last year, Deerfiled Ranch Winery’s Red Rex became a best-seller. Send Agent Red back to Deerfield Ranch Winery to procure an ample allocation of their current-vintage Red Rex, an Super-QPR (Quality to Price Ratio) wine that delivers a high-dollar drinking experience – for a low price.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Deerfield Ranch Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Red Rex
Winemaker: Robert Rex
Backgrounder: Located in Kenwood, California, Deerfield Ranch Winery is a Wine Spies Operative favorite. The winery, who sells out of its wines with great frequency, showed us some love by allowing us special access to their wine cave. We chose to emerge with one of our Drrefield favorites, their delicious Red Rex.
Sonoma Valley’s first vines were planted way back in 1825 by Spanish missionaries. This unique micro-climate region receives less rain and is less influenced by the fog making this warmer AVA ideal for the Cabernet, Merlot and other tantalizing varietals found in today’s exceptional red blend..
Look – Gorgeous dark ruby hues, with perfectly even coloration – from core to edge. Lighter and less opaque than previous vintages, the look of this wine reminds us of a darker Sangiovese. Settling quickly when swirled, the wine leaves behind tall, skinny, wine colored tears that run quickly down the glass.
Smell – Red cherry and raspberry burst from the glass. As you inhale more deeply, blackberry, spiced cherry candy, dark strawberry and cassis join in. Spin the wine for a little while and it comes even further to life, exuding sweet cedar, cigar box, sweet leather and a touch of pepper.
Feel – Tender and soft on entry, the wine then gains a little weight at the mid-palate where it settles in with a velvety feel. A slow-spreading dryness begins at the edges of the palate, spreading inward. Ultimately, the dryness spreads to the lips and cheeks. Overall, the wine shows a balanced acidity that frames the fruit just perfectly.
Taste – Juicy and bursting with dark cherry, raspberry and cassis flavors, at first. Then, smoky cranberry, spiced Bing cherry, leather and dark flower petals follow. As the wine opens, tart cranberry, cigar box and black pepper emerge.
Finish – Very long and filled with flavors, beginning with the lush fruit, and ending with cedar, pepper, dried flowers and a hint of flint.
Conclusion – If we loved the 2006, we are absolutelycrazy about this delicious 2007! Once again, Robert Rex shows off his remarkable winemaking skills. Today’s2007 Deerfiled Ranch Winery Red Red is a fantastic wine that drinks well above its regular retail price – which makes today’s offer a real no-brainer. Here at Wine Spies HQ, we are stocking up. Since you follow our reviews, you know that 2007 was a banner year for California Red wines. Combine one of the best years on record with Robert Rex’s talent for selecting and sorting fruit, his skill at blending and his mastery of the winemaking process, and you get one very special wine. Very food friendy, and a delicious solo-sipper, this approachable wine is also very flexible. We recommend that you pick up at least one case of this truly great wine!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Robert Rex
WINE EDUCATION: 38 years of wine making experience
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Robert Rex is a “renaissance man” possessing a great palate and an exceptional talent for winemaking. He is a chemist, graphic designer and accomplished gourmet cook. He has the ability to fix almost anything. The harvest of 2010 will be Robert’s 38th consecutive year of winemaking. Robert and PJ, his wife and business partner, have lived in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley, for 28 years at their beautiful hilltop retreat, Deerfield Ranch, where the Deerfield Ranch Winery was founded. The view out their back door of Sonoma Mountain is the inspiration for the winery logo.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Making wine is like gourmet cooking. We start with the finest ingredients, grapes farmed by growers who put as much attention into the vines as we do into the wines. Great wine begins in the vineyard. We have worked with the same growers year after year to perfect a partnership to produce the best wine. By drawing from many vineyards, we get grapes from appellations where varietals grow the best. We allow the grapes to fully vine ripen, hand pick and sort the grapes, and use the most gentle production techniques. We produce wines using organic methods and are on of only three certified organic producing wineries in Sonoma.We make wine by hand in small lots and taste them constantly to manage their constant change. We experiment with the latest techniques while operating from a foundation of tradition. We mold and nudge the wines in one direction or another to make them lovely, fruity and delicious to drink. Our reds receive extended barrel aging, which makes them mellow. Attention to cleanliness and balance makes them age worthy.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: Taste the passion
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 1982
AGENT RED: Greetings, Robert. We are thrilled to be showing your Red Rex today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
ROBERT: Thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure to share my passion with others.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
ROBERT: When I was 9, I had piece of angel food cake and begged my mother to teach me how to make it. I’ve been in love with cooking ever since and winemaking, especially blending, draws from the same fundamentals. I often say I am a product of my environment in that way, if I had grown up in New York I’d have a restaurant, I grew up in California so I have a winery.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
ROBERT: My early mentor was Andre Tchelistcheff who taught me about blending and of course my wife PJ for sure. PJ is very sensitive to histamines and sulfites in wine so all our wines are clean, meaning we triple hand sort the grapes removing anything you wouldn’t feed your baby. As a result our wines have extremely low levels of histamines and sulfites, so anybody can drink them without experiencing headaches or allergic reactions.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
ROBERT: For everyone who enjoys wine. I appreciate the reviewers and bloggers who spend time creating tasting notes and reviews but the best compliment I can get about one of my wines is delicious!
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ROBERT: The Red Rex is a complex varietal blend. Winemaking is really 30% chemistry and 70% cooking. With 28 vineyards under contract we have many different lots, different ingredients, to work with. I think of myself as a chef with this wine, building the perfect dish from many different varietals to exemplify the structure and layers of flavor.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ROBERT: People! The Red Rex is a crowd pleaser and works with a variety of different dishes from ham sandwiches to lamb chops.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma County region so special?
ROBERT: Sonoma County has so many unique terroirs but there is an indescribable characteristic about the whole county and you see it reflected in the attitude of the people who live here. Even driving to the grocery store you see landscapes that take your breath away. Watching the sunset over Sonoma Mountain from the estate or walking the rows of the vineyard you can feel the bliss of Sonoma and it is reflected in our wines.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ROBERT: Harvest is in full swing and we’re bringing in fruit every day. Stop by the winery and you can see the activity. It really makes you respect a bottle of wine when you see the crew sorting grapes, punching down fermentators, pressing out the juice and barreling down the wine. The details of the harvest include picking decisions, yeast selection, fermentation protocols and barrel programs.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
ROBERT: Passionately. Winemaking is more than a profession, it’s my passion. The long hours and hard work wouldn’t be worth it if I didn’t absolutely love it, and that’s what I want everyone to taste – the passion. Wine is such a delicate art and one that is meant to be enjoyed.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
ROBERT: If you make it to Kenwood please stop by the winery and taste wines in the Grand Room of our wine cave. We always love to take the time to share Deerfield wines with guests. Sante!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine.
The approximate location of the Deerfield Ranch Winery can be seen in this satellite photo.