Optima Winery – 4-way Review

The husband and wife team of Optima Winery in Healdsburg California started in 1984 and has remained a relatively small, family-run winery that produces premium wines. Its mission is quite simple – work with top vineyards in and around its local regions and help them each showcase those particular vineyard sites.

Mike Duffy is the winemaker and moved to the Sonoma area back in 1983 with the hopes of one day owning his own winery. He and Nicol have a “Brady-bunch” type family now and couldn’t be happier. It’s been over 20 years now and they show little signs of slowing down.

In this review, I take a look at their Cab, Petit Sirah, Zinfandel and Zinfandel port:

2005 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

Not available as of press time.

Price: $40
Nose: Black peppercorns, sweat-sock, tobacco, big-leage-chew, charred jalepeno and a pile of fresh earth in your hands.

Taste: Dark chocolate, cherries, twizzlers, road-tar, cigar wrapper and some spice hit the front of my palate. There’s a decent mid-palate transision that takes place, with some leather components and a touch of saw-dust in the mouth sensation that pick up for me. The end has quite a bit of acidity that rings through but still has ultra-tight tannins. I think this wine will drink much better with more time in the bottle – this is a wine you’d really do best to decant for a few hours.

2006 Petit Sirah – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: 100% Dry Creek Valley
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • pH: 3.78
  • Total Acid: 5.6
  • Residual Sugar: None
  • VA: 0.88 g/L
  • Total Phenols: 2930
  • Composition: 92% Petit Sirah and 8% Zinfandel
  • Price: $32

Nose: Cocoa powder, blueberries, star anise, white pepper,

Taste: Definitely get a nice dark chocolate flavor along with the blueberries, blackberry, and some nice hints of leather chunks, saddlesoap and gym sock. Strong acids in this wine help help it age well and it maintaints a very strcutured feel all the way through. My only concern at this point is that – to me – the wine still drinks a little young – I’d love to hit it again in a couple of years to see how it matures.

2006 Dry Creek Zinfandel – W.E.P. Rating: 95%

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: 100% Dry Creek Valley
  • Acohol: 14.5%
  • pH: 3.62
  • Total Acid: 5.57
  • Residual Sugar: None
  • VA: 0.87 g/L
  • Total Phenols: 2099
  • Composition: 90% Zinfandel and 10% Petit Sirah
  • Price: $25

Nose: Smoked bell peppers, black licorice, hickory, match stick and blackberry pie.

Taste: Take a can of cherry coke, shove a bunch of used match-sticks into it and a few drops of liquid smoke and that’s what you’ll have right off the bat with this wine. It’s full of smokey, dark fruits that linger quite nicely on the end and has some good acidity to help guide it along. This is not your typical “overly-flabby” California Zin.

2005 “Orgaz Zin” Port Zinfandel – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: 100% Dry Creek Valley
  • Alcohol: 20%
  • pH: 3.71
  • Total Acid: 5.60 g/L
  • Residual Sugar: 9.7%
  • VA: 0.75 g/L
  • Composition: 100% Zinfandel
  • Barrel Aging: 12 months in French Oak
  • ProductionL: 2160 bottles (500ml)
  • Price: $26

Nose: Dark chocolate, candy-cane action, black pepper, some medicine cabinate as well. mile chocolat, black raspberries and tar.

Taste: A FRIGGIN TIDAL WAVE OF dark chocolate, milk chocolate, some whoppers candy – a little malt action. I’m also getting that Vicks44D cherry flavor across the mid-palate and the dark fruits pick up on the finish – blackberries, black cherries and raspberry. The finish is quite long but does end on a slighty tart note which helps clean out the sweet.

Winery Website: www.optimawinery.com