Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dry Creek Vineyard 2011 The Mariner, Dry Creek Valley

The Mariner 2011Just as a mariner must navigate the ship’s course through stormy seas, so a winemaker must navigate through a tricky vintage. That’s how this proprietary blend from Dry Creek Vineyard got its moniker.

The 2011 vintage was tricky indeed, with a wet spring and summer. The summer growing season was unseasonably cool. Unwelcome rains returned late in the harvest.

We’re happy to say that this Meritage from prized Dry Creek Valley vineyards sailed safely into shore (and onto store shelves). It is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc,
5%Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec.

Grapes for this Bordeaux-style blend come from red, iron-rich soil. The vines are more than 20 years old and The Mariner spends 20 months in French Oak. It has sleek, integrated tannins.

We decanted this wine, although not for a long time (we couldn’t wait) and it has a silky and full-bodied texture on the palate. The wine is lively with bright red fruit flavors riffled with plum and raspberry flavors. As we savored the wine, subtle spice flavors surfaced as well.

The Mariner retails for $45 and is a solid value at that price. It is a great example of how the blend can elevate a wine above one produced from a single grape variety. Our recommendation: Full speed ahead with The Mariner.

Rating: 4.5 of 5  Value: 4 of 5

Full disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.

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