Do you know the way to Michel-Schlumberger

While the American Viticultural Area, or AVA, of Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma is synonymous with Zinfandel, there’s a lot of great wine coming from this area that you shouldn’t miss. To raise your awareness of what wines you can enjoy from Dry Creek Valley, I took a trip to three wineries in September, filming television segments for the nationally syndicated morning show Daytime. Our first stop was Michel-Schlumberger, where we had not only the opportunity to meet with President and General Manager Judd Wallenbrock, Wine maker Michael Brunson, and Director of Retail & Direct to Consumer Operations Jim Morris, we got to tour the vineyard, meet all of the staff, and enjoy a night of music at the winery.

The short video here is just one part of the experience we had at Michel-Schlumberger. It will take you on the first of two virtual tastes and tours of this 30 year old winery. The second part is the television segment airing on Daytime Monday, November 16th, 2009. If Daytime isn’t available in your viewing area, I’ll have a comment below with a link to the segment online shortly.

Michel-Schlumberger Deux Terres Cabernet Sauvignon from Matthew Scott Horbund on Vimeo.

*Disclaimer* The wine discussed in this post and in the video were provided to me at no cost by Michel-Schlumberger.

I know that I started this post by saying Dry Creek Valley and Zinfandel were synonymous, but in 2006, Cabernet Sauvignon accounted for 2,316 acres of vines planted, topping 2nd place Zinfandel which had 2,251 acres under vine. Michel-Schlumberger produces various Bordeaux varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, as well as Pinot Blanc, Syrah and Chardonnay. The wine tasted in the video, the Deux Terres 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, is their top non-reserve offering and was an enjoyable wine. It didn’t need much time to open, perhaps 20 or 30 minutes.

Right out of the bottle the nose was dark fruits, black cherry and blackberry, with a mocha and spice component that was very inviting. The palate was dark cherry fruit with medium to firm tannins, giving that dry, almost astringent feeling on the inside of my mouth, similar to black tea. I enjoyed the finish of pepper and spice, and while it wasn’t extremely long, it was quite nice. Robin loved the wine to just sip on, though she didn’t feel it complimented her pasta and red sauce. I thought it was nice enough with my eggplant parmesan hero, but really feel it needs a rich beef, veal or lamb dish to compliment the flavors and structure.

The vineyard is farmed organically, as I mentioned in the video, with an eye towards sustainability and the environment.  Not only does the team at Michel-Schlumberger care about the land they farm to bring you delicious wines, they care about Dry Creek itself. Together with other wineries in the area, they’re working to restore Wine Creek and keep the Steelhead Trout population strong and preserve an integral part of the ecology. A visit to Michel-Schlumberger will allow you the opportunity to walk the vineyards that were established in 1979 by Jean-Jacques Michel. Jacques Schlumberger joined the team as a minority partner in 1991, and took over the estate as majority partner in 1993. When Michael Brunson joined the team as assistant wine maker in 1993, Fred Payne was the head wine maker. The Deux Terres we talked about tonight was one of Fred Payne’s wines, as Michael Brunson took over the wine making role in 2006.

You can follow the winery on twitter at @m_schlumberger and Jim is on twitter too as @sonomawineguy. Jim, and others at the winery write about all things Michel-Schlumberger on Benchland Blog. Other writeups about the Deux Terres 2004 can be found at Drink Dry Creek, and other visits to the winery on Breathe, Luscious Lushes, and  Wannabe Wino.

Hopefully you’ll visit Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma and Michel-Schlumberger soon.  When you do, call the winery before your visit, and be sure to allow enough time to not only tour the grounds but taste their wines. Oh, and tell them mmWine sent you!

Be sure to tune in to Daytime and see our tour of the vineyards and winery, as well as the tasting with Show co-host Lindsay MacDonald.

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  • http://palatematch.com/blog/ dcpatton

    This was the 2004 correct? Sounds like a great nose.

    Great background on Michel-Schlumberger.

  • http://agoodtimewithwine.com Matt.mmwine

    Thanks for your comment and compliment. Yes, this was the 2004 Deux Terres!

  • http://agoodtimewithwine.com Matt.mmwine

    If you haven’t seen the Daytime television segment, you can watch it online
    http://budurl.com/Sonoma

  • http://www.yourdoctorsorders.com Terry Simpson

    Matt – you did a great job on this piece- love it – and the video was not half bad either!

  • WhatDebPours

    Matt -Great segment! I haven’t tried the Deux Terres yet (hopefully soon), but am already a fan of Michel-Schlumberger. I really enjoyed their Pinot Blanc over the summer, and M_S is one of my favorite local hangouts. The winery itself is a gorgeous property and the folks that work there could not be nicer. A “must visit” for anyone heading to Dry Creek Valley.

  • http://www.michelschlumberger.com Jim Morris

    Thank you for the kind words about our amazing 2004 Deux Terres. It is one of the best Cabernet blends that we have ever produced and were thrilled you enjoyed it. The 2005 is even better.

    We love what we do and try our best to be the best stewards of the land we have been entrusted to farm. We believe that organically grown grapes make better wines with purer flavors. We would love for everyone to experience what we are doing. Thanks so much for the nice piece on us and sharing our amazing estate with your viewers. Come see us again.

    Jim

  • http://www.michelschlumberger.com Judd Wallenbrock

    Thanks Matt! I really appreciate the coverage & invite all of your readers to come for a visit. You can follow all of us on our blog (www.benchlandblog.com), on twitter (@M_Schlumberger) and on Facebook — but nothing compares to the experience of our ‘off the beaten path’ winery, as you know.

    Come back any time — bring your friends — let us show you what Benchland fruit in the highlands of Dry Creek Valley is all about!