Pinot Noir may get the lion’s share of attention in Sonoma, but Merlot is well represented in vineyards. This classic Bordeaux variety shines in this bottling from Dry Creek Vineyard.
Small But Mighty
Merlot isn’t made in great quantities by Dry Creek Vineyard, which is known more for its Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery has the capability to turn out some great Merlot and has had some outstanding reserve and single vineyard vintages.
The 2013 harvest will be remembered for near perfect conditions. It was one of the driest seasons on record in Dry Creek Valley, one of our favorite subregions of Sonoma. The summer was mild followed by a crisp fall – ideal conditions to allow the Merlot grapes growing on red, iron-rich soil to ripen slowly and fully.
We have been sampling a number of white wines recently, so Green Dragon demanded a bottle of red. I was happy to oblige with this DCV Merlot.
In the glass this is deep in color and opaque, creating a sense of mystery. As we unwrapped the mystery, we enjoyed a full body. The blend is 85% Merlot with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. That’s a righteous Bordeaux-style blend that provided an abundance of flavor.
Flavors were bold and expansive. Notes of currant and black cherry mix pleasantly with a layer of earth and a nip of spice.
Aging is for 17 months in French and Hungarian oak with 35% being new. That translates to subdued oak notes and smooth tannins. The finish is long with spice again on the backside.
The 2013 DCV Merlot was named one of the best Merlots in California in a 2016 competition (Fifty Best) and we can’t argue with that. This is a immensely satisfying Merlot. for $26 SRP makes it even more so.
Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.