One of the highlights of the Wine Bloggers Conference was the vineyard hike on Sunday afternoon. Of the three vineyard hikes available, I selected the hike at Quivira Vineyards. Our hike was organized by Zephyr Adventures, and guided by Nancy, Quivira’s General Manager.
For those with ADD, or, for those who just don’t have the desire or capacity to read long, rambling articles, I provide the summary below for your scanning pleasure:
Quivira Winery and Vineyards – their team members, mission, stewardship of the land, and their wines absolutely rock! The take away – visit Quivira the next time you’re in the Dry Creek Valley area.
On to the details… I arrived at Quivira about 1:30pm on Sunday afternoon – sunny, 90-degree day. My first impression of the Quivira was “wow” – the tasting room/winery was surrounded by immaculately kept grounds accentuated by colorful (and ‘alive’) wildflowers and vegetation.
Quivira gets its name from an old crazy European belief – way back yonder in the 1700 and 1800’s, the area we now call Sonoma once appeared on European maps as a mythical kingdom called ‘Quivira’ whose streets were believed to be paved with gold. Now, that gold is in the form of grape vines that produce grapes used in some of the finest wines in the world.
Quivira was founded in 1981 and received Demeter Biodynamic Certification in 2005. Located in the Dry Creek Valley AVA, Quivira has 93 acres under vine spread across four different vineyards. Included in these 93 acres are Zinfandel, Sauvignon-Blanc, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Montepulciano, and obscure varietals like Counoise. These 93 acres produce about 13,000 cases of Quivira wine annually.
The hike began with a walk through their Biodynamic garden which broke ground in Spring 2008, followed by a visit to one of three Italian bee hives on the property, a quick stop by their chicken coop, followed by a quick walk-by the weed abatement team – sheep. The walk also included a stroll around the vineyards and along Wine Creek. In addition to being good stewards of their land by practicing organic and Biodynamic viticulture, Quivira has also made a positive environmental impact by restoring Wine Creek that runs through the property. This creek is home to aquatic life and vegetation, including spawning ground for wild trout.
The vineyard walk culminated with a tasting of seven Quivira wines, all of which I liked (a rarity for me). A few of the notables included:
Our tasting began with Quivira’s refreshing Fig Tree Vineyard 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. This was a perfect starter after a hot hike. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes used to produce this wine are from Quivira’s Biodynamic Fig Tree Vineyard – named for a 130-year old Black Mission fig tree on the property. 13.9% alcohol. Crisp and lively wine with a nose of lemon and lime spritz that led to flavors of pink grapefruit. $18/bottle. Fermented with native yeasts.
We then moved on to one of the nerdier wines I’ve had in a while – the Quivira Mourvedre Viognier 2008 Rose. 92% Mourvedre and 8% Viognier. 12% alcohol. Only 50 cases made of this little gem. Interesting nose of fresh rose petal, cherry and spice. I got more cherry flavors in the mouth along with a raisin component. Excellent. $28/bottle. Fermented with native yeasts.
One of the highlights of our tasting for me was the Dry Creek Valley 2006 Zinfandel. I believe they affectionately refer to this wine as Ruby Zin, named for one of the pigs that reside on the Quivira property. A blend of 90% Zinfandel, 8% Petit Sirah and 2% Carignane. Dark purple color. On the nose I found ripe plum, cherry, mulberry, and a light earthy component. In the mouth, flavors of pepper and dark berries matched the tannins well. $20/bottle. Fermented with native yeasts.
Overall, Quivira wines provide an excellent representation of their ‘place’ in Dry Creek Valley that can only be truly achieved via organic/Biodynamic viticulture coupled with low/non-intervention in the cellar and use of native yeasts for fermentation.