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Our Latest Stryker Wine

October 21, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I have written before about Stryker Sonoma Winery in Geyserville, California (actually, a short distance outside Healdsburg on the way to Geyserville), which we visited on our Healdsburg trip four years ago. Tim Hardin, their winemaker, describes their style as

guided by a youthful enthusiasm and tireless dedication to the pursuit of quality and pleasure. We are a fun-loving group with a slightly irreverent attitude with respect to the traditional methods of producing and marketing wine. We go to considerable expense to grow and produce pure, balanced wines that are fully extracted, rich in complexity and exude depth of character. These wines are enjoyable in their youth, but also reward those with patience.

The wines of Stryker Sonoma are truly handcrafted, making use of both old-world traditional methods and the judicious integration of modern tools designed to allow for gentler handling of both fruit and wine. Our approach is sometimes risky, but the resulting bold, forward style is what we like to drink and we have found a growing following that also appreciates these wines.

The focus of our winemaking efforts is centered around the Cabernet family of varietals. Nonetheless, we also have a keen interest in Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Our annual production is roughly 7,000 cases, consisting of many small lots averaging in size from 200 to 400 cases each. Most of our annual production is sold directly to consumers from the winery’s tasting room and through our mailing list and website.

Of the wines we shipped home from the many wineries we visited during our 2008, our favorite was Stryker’s 2003 E1K. It has long been sold out, but the webpage still works. We learn there that “this Bordeaux-style wine represents our signature release. The concept behind this program is to showcase the incredible character of Sonoma County’s mountain grown grapes. All of the fruit used in this blend is sourced from vineyards located at elevations of one thousand feet or higher, hence the nickname ‘E 1 K.'”

A couple of years ago, we ordered a few more bottles of E1K, drinking the last for Joel’s birthday a few months ago. We also joined Stryker’s wine club, receiving our first shipment last March. I wrote about it at the time.

This week we received our second shipment, two bottles each of three different wines. Along with the wine comes a newsletter in which Tim Hardin describes each wine. Here’s what we got, with excerpts from Tim’s notes.

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Monte Rosso Vineyard, Sonoma County: 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of our Estate & Winery. During the 2002 harvest, I brought in an exceptional crop from Monte Rosso Vineyard and decided that we would age 50 cases … for our Club Members. I’ve released this library selection exactly 10 years to the month. This wine shows us just how age-worthy our wines have become.

2010 Merlot Estate Alexander Valley: It’s been four years since we’ve produced an Estate Merlot. When it comes to selecting grapes for our Estate wines, I have specific criteria in mind for the harvest in order for a wine to qualify for our Estate program. 2010 far exceeded my expectations. … A young Merlot, yes, but worth opening. Enjoy now or hold until 2017.

2007 Cab Sauvignon Estate Alexander Valley: I found this wine needed a good hour of decanting to allow the aromas and flavors to be fully realized. … An excellent wine today, and an exceptional bottle in a few year’s time. Enjoy now or hold.

The 2004 E1K is sold out too, except in magnum and double magnum sizes, but the 2005 E1K has just been released. We added two bottles to our club shipment.

We will hold the merlot for a while, and perhaps the 2007 cab as well. We are eager to try the 2002 cab and the latest E1K. If you’re down that way, I highly recommend a visit to the winery.

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