"We consider wine the sixth food group..." says Andrew Phipps of Phipps Family Cellars. It is this type of reverence for wine and the wine making process that makes the Phipps Family Cellars 2006 Zinfandel an exceptional wine and one of the selections for this month's Gold Medal Wine Club Platinum Series. Phipps Family Cellars is located in Napa and is produces a very small quantity of wine each year. Their initial release in 2004 yielded just 310 cases. Even though they are really small, the industry's appreciation of its wines has been nothing short of magnificent. Excellent reviews and high scores have vaulted the tiny winery into the ultra boutique category that is a testament to their skill and commitment. "I personally feel that wine is one of man's greatest achievements and the result of really hard work. For that reason, the appreciation of wine should be extremely high for everyone involved" added Phipps.
The 2006 Zinfandel is sourced from the Treborce Vineyard of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma, California. Mr. Phipps describes the process behind making this particular wine in a personal note to all Platinum Series members: "Once in the winery, we ran the clusters of grapes through our crusher-destemmer before cold-soaking the grapes and juice for 48 hours prior to fermentation. The wine was then aged in a combination of American French and Hungarian oak barrels for 22 months before bottling in August of 2008. The wine was then aged for 12 months in the bottle. It is now in it's finished state." This small-production (only 355 cases) Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel was awarded a stunning 94 points by Wine Enthusiast.
The second selection, a 2005 SoNador Cabernet Sauvignon from SoNador Cellars owned by medical professionals and wine aficianados Sergio Gonzalez and Maria Morales-Gonzalez and their friends Doug and Sue Gallagher. In addition to running a busy medical practice in Miami, the Gonzalezes travel to Napa to perform most of the work to produce their wines. The Gallaghers are involved with marketing the wine. The couples have established long-term contracts for ultra-quality fruit from growers in Napa returning to help winemaker Bruce Devlin pick the grapes, and bottle and finish the wine. The 2005 Cabernet is the fifth release from SoNador and has received 93 points from Wine News and 90 from Wine Spectator. Sonador only produces one wine and it seems to get better with each vintage release.
Both of these outstanding wines are available for re-order by calling 1-800-266-8888 or visiting the wine store on our website.
Throughout the year, we have the opportunity to buy superb wines worthy of your attention but with availability too scarce to share with all members. We call this our Plus! Program. For the Platinum Series this month, the featured Plus! bottle is the Ilsley Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. Ilsley has been producing grapes for some of the finest wineries in Napa for three generations. Ilsley's wines have consistently garnered 92+ point scores, establishing the venture as one of the great ultra-boutique wineries. The 2005 is no exception-awarded 94 points by Wine Enthusiast.
We hope you enjoy these exceptional, ultra-boutique offerings from Napa. Please let us know what you thought of the wines by commenting here, or rate the wine in the Judge the Wines section of our site.