Surprisingly, the valley has almost as much Cab planted as Zinfandel. Conditions are great for Cabernet grapes with long days of intense sunshine that let the grapes ripen to perfection.
The 2011 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet has a flavor profile of bright cherry, but with undertones of spice and earth. As I sip the wine, I can picture the hilly, sun baked soil. The wine has an herbal quality as well.
The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc and 1% Malbec. It’s a winning combination, with the Merlot providing just the right amount of softness. We let the wine decant for about a half hour as we sipped and this is recommended as it really opened up.
This vintage was barrel aged for 18 months in Hungarian, French and American oak. The grapes come from vines that are 15 to 20 or more years old. While enjoyable now, this wine will only improve over the next four to five years.
Selling for $25, this is a solid California Cab suitable for entertaining, or relaxing with a loved one on a chilly February evening.
Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.