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Wine of the Week: Collier Falls

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Collier Falls is a family-owned vineyard and winery in Healdsburg, California’s beautiful Dry Creek Valley.

They make limited quantities of hillside estate red wines from 20 acres of their own sustainably-farmed vineyards. Each year they strive to grow outstanding fruit and make world-class wines here in Sonoma County. They hope the wines of Collier Falls express the true flavors of the grapes, and are exceptional examples from this wonderful winegrowing region. Their name comes from the waterfall below the Zinfandel vineyards.

Stop in and shop or shop these wines online at www.michaelswinecellar.com
Petite Sirah, Collier Falls Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Ca, 2011
Petite Sirah Collier Falls Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Ca 2011
In 1997 they saved the top 8 rows of our Zinfandel block for Petite Sirah vines to blend with our Zin. 6 years later the Petite tasted too good to blend and we decided to bottle it as a stand alone varietal. This 100% estate-grown Petite Sirah is inky black in color with aromas of eucalyptus and cracked peppercorn alongside floral nuances of honeysuckle and violet. Dark, layered flavors of blueberry jam, blackberry cobbler, and tea leaves highlight the mid-palate. This is an opulent, full-bodied wine that shows surprising restraint and soft tannins, accentuated by a plush and lingering finish with a touch of vanilla oak. Only 126 cases made.

Zinfandel "Hillside Estate", Collier Falls Vineyards, Ca, 2013ZINFANDEL HILLSIDE ESTATE COLLIER FALLS VINEYARDS CA 2013
The wine shows striking colors of deep crimson and black. A complex bouquet offers distinct aromas of butterscotch, jelly donut and damp forest. This is a robust, full bodied Zinfandel displaying rich flavors of strawberry and fig, with hints of eucalyptus and powdered sugar. Its long finish highlights lingering notes of cola, tobacco, charred wood and black pepper. Pairs perfectly with duck breast and wild rice. Only 357 cases made.



CABERNET SAUVIGNON HILLSIDE ESTATE COLLIER FALLS VINEYARDS CA 2012Cabernet Sauvignon "Hillside Estate", Collier Falls Vineyards, Ca, 2012
The wine is deep, dark red in color with aromas of blackberry, cinnamon and clove. This elegant, balanced and spice driven Cabernet has a very approachable palate with distinct notes of red currant and vanilla. They recommend 20-30 minutes of decanting to fully showcase its soft flavors and lingering finish of red fruit. Only 323 cases made.




Primitivo "Late Harvest", Collier Falls Vineyards, Dry Creek Vally, Ca, 2011 
This dense, purple, brooding wine belies its elegance. Deep, smoky aromas are softened by violet and floral notes. Complex flavors of blueberries, baked blackberry, and plum highlight the mid-palate. The wine finishes with hints of dark chocolate and toasted walnut. It’s full-bodied and structured with soft tannins. Enjoy now or cellar for 10-15 years.


Collier Family
A trip to Wine Country in 1992 changed Barry and Susan Collier's future together. That weekend encouraged them to sell their home and move to Sonoma County, and by 1997 they were growing grapes and making wine as Collier Falls.
They farm 20 acres in the northwest corner of Dry Creek Valley at elevations exceeding 1,000 feet. These steep vineyards of rocky, clay soil produce mountain fruit with great color, character and intensity. Exactly what winemakers love to craft distinctive, hillside estate wines. The vineyards also sit above the fog line. So while morning fog cools the valley floor, the hillside fruit enjoys plenty of sunshine. And during the warmer parts of the day, these southeast facing vineyards get early shade, creating an ideal temperature balance for the grapes — lots of sun to develop ripe flavors and varietal characteristics, and cooler periods to help the fruit achieve balance and complexity.
Sustainability at Collier Falls involves the integrated management of land, water, vegetation, animals and insects. They seek exceptional quality in the fruit, and feel a responsibility to preserve the part of the ecosystem for future generations of Sonoma County winegrowers.
  • Erosion control– Hillside farming has its challenges. All vineyard blocks are terraced to reduce the impact of erosion. Underground drainage, catch basins and silt ponds collect soil and water run-off, protecting the ecosystem of the natural streams and ponds surrounding the property.
  • Natural pest control– They maintain a completely pesticide free environment. Owl boxes in the vineyards provide homes for native Barn Owls, while Douglas-fir and Redwood trees on the surrounding hillsides serve as raptor perches for hawks and falcons. These birds help control the populations of gophers and voles in the vineyard. They also release ladybugs to combat the detrimental spider mite.
  • Conservation and irrigation– A natural underground well is the water source, and the installation of a drip irrigation system allows us to minimize water usage in the vineyard. They can also add beneficial organic elements like potassium, calcium and nitrogen to the drip irrigation system. This ensures the soil and vines get specifically tailored supplements to maintain a healthy and balanced growing environment.
  • Leaf pulling– Removing leaves around the grape clusters improves air circulation throughout the vine canopy, which reduces the risk of bunch rot and allows us to farm without spraying fungicides on the vines. Leaf pulling also helps to reduce the numbers of leafhoppers and mites that may be present.
  • Cover crops– They plant two different types of native grasses (Zorro Fescue and Blando Brome) to stabilize the soil, reduce erosion, and reduce dust and spider mites in the vineyards. They also plant Crimson Clover which attracts beneficial insects and acts as a green manure by adding nitrogen to the soil.
  • Organic fertilizers– They add a mixture of manure, grape pomace and compost to the vineyard soil to improve soil quality and structure, and to increase the levels of beneficial microorganisms.
Collier Falls
Natural springs and creeks in the mountains of Dry Creek Valley create the 30-foot waterfall that inspired the name Collier Falls. Just a few steps south of our hillside Zinfandel vineyards, the dense forest suddenly transforms into this beautiful scene.
The waterfall runs year round, and at its peak during the rainy season spills over 5 million gallons of water per day. Each year, steelhead trout arrive here to spawn. The water creates Fall Creek and feeds into Dry Creek, which flows into the Russian River, and connects to the Pacific Ocean.
For more information visit https://www.collierfalls.com/vineyards.

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