The Mariner by Dry Creek Vineyard is one of my favorite blends. We had a chance to uncork the 2010 vintage, the latest release, after a recent dinner at Poco Piatti.
While we relaxed with a sampler of music from Austin, Texas, we decanted The Mariner. We opened up with a bottle of Syrah – but soon the crowd (OK, it was Green Dragon, Cabinator and Glorious T) called out for more. The Mariner pulled out of the harbor and sailed into our living room.
This year’s edition is a blend of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petite Verdot. This is a Meritage wine, so you can be assured that it is top quality. Meritage is America’s Bordeaux-style wine and is regulated by the Meritage Alliance.
One of the reasons we love The Mariner is the label with the inspirational quote and the drawing of an intrepid captain piloting his ship through a tumultuous storm. Winemakers at Dry Creek faced a storm of sorts during the 2010 vintage. It was the most difficult growing season in many years thanks to late spring rains, a cool summer and then several heat spikes before and during harvest. They managed to sail through the rough waters and emerge with a great wine.
This year the blend is balanced between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. To me it seems softer than the 2009 vintage with less earthiness and more blackberry and cherry flavors. There are a few crumbles of toasted oak in the complex mix. The finish is smooth as a calm sea.
A suggested retail of $45 for The Mariner is well worth it. This bottle is suitable for a special occasion or a nice dinner with friends.
Full disclosure: This bottle was received as a marketing sample.