2017 Wild Cattle Creek Zinfandel

2017 Wild Cattle Creek Zinfandel

Wine Information

85% Zinfandel, 10% Carignane, 5% Petite Sirah

92 Points – Anthony Dias Blue, Blue Lifestyle
91 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com




Wild Cattle Creek


Dry Creek Valley

Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Dark purple color, with black licorice and mint on the nose. Medium-to-full bodied palate, well-coated tannins, blackberry fruit and a lingering finish with mineral notes. JO (1/20)

Vintage Notes

Heavy winter rains delayed bud-break at this hillside vineyard. After a warm spring, the vines set a full crop. At veraison, we thinned the zinfandel to concentrate flavors. The inter-planted varieties were picked and fermented together. Petite sirah brings color and spice to the intense zinfandel fruit. Carignane adds balanced acidity. Enjoyable as a young wine, this field blend zinfandel will age for a further five-to-six years.


In 1998, John Olney purchased a hillside ranch halfway between the town of Healdsburg and the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, he planted six acres to zinfandel with about 5% petite sirah and carignane interplants. In 2000, an acre of pure carignane was added.

The wine is named after Wild Cattle Creek which runs through the valley below and forms the property border. The creek is the only one in the area that runs year-around. Since the late 1800s, each summer, the local cattle descend from the dry hills to drink from the creek.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 42 inches (above normal)
Bloom: April
Weather: A wet winter brought much needed rain. Cool spring weather affected set across all varieties. Several heat spikes in late June, July and August saw temperatures over 105 degrees. We harvested just before the most extreme heat of the Labor Day weekend.


Harvest Date: 1 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.7˚
TA: 6.00 g/L
pH: 3.88
Fermentation: Natural primary and secondary (malolactic) fermentations; pressed at seven days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (15% new, 20% one year-old, 20% two years-old, 20% three years-old and 25% four years-old.)
Aging: Fourteen months in barrel

Hand-harvested; sustainably farmed grapes, destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 95 ppm during aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


Blue Lifestyle: 92 Points “A deeply colored field blend from the epicenter of premium Zin production; smooth, juicy and rich, earthy, intense and long.” – Anthony Dias Blue (April 2020)

JebDunnuck.com: 91 Points “Based on 85% Zinfandel, 10% Carignan, and 5% Petite Sirah, the 2017 Wild Cattle Creek has a great nose of spiced black and red raspberries as well as notes of cedarwood, incense, and potpourri. Medium-bodied and elegant on the palate, it’s well-balanced and already drinking nicely. It has the tighter, more linear style of the 2017 vintage yet is beautifully done. Drink it over the coming decade.” – Jeb Dunnuck (May 2020)

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 90.5

No. of Tasting Notes: 16

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