Bold California reds don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket. Here are two picks that prove our point.
In the fall we had the opportunity to visit Dry Creek Vineyard. This is one of our favorite wineries and, Dry Creek Valley is one of our fav appellations.
Dry Creek Valley was untouched by the North Bay wildfires that tore through Napa and Sonoma in October. Although the damage to life and property was devastating, most of the grapes were already harvested at Dry Creek Vineyard and most other wineries in the area.
That means no ill effects from smoke are anticipated with the 2017 Napa and Sonoma harvests. That’s good news based on two recently released Dry Creek Vineyard reds: the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley, and the 2013 Meritage, Dry Creek Valley. We don’t want the string of outstanding releases to be interrupted!
Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Sonoma has always been a shining light for Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2015 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet is a great example why. Over the mountains in Napa, you’d expect to pay two to three times the price for this delicious Cab that retails for $28. In Dry Creek Valley, the long days of vibrant sunshine, paired with cool foggy evenings, are perfect for growing Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2015 growing season was drier and warmer than typical. The drought-like conditions stressed the grapes, resulting in lower yields, but intensely flavored grapes.
I recently presented a “Wine 101” program to a community service organization. I brought this bottle with me to let the audience taste an example of an outstanding California Cabernet.
The wine is fruit forward, with moderate tannins. The flavors are rich with raspberry and cherry with a hint of pepper on the end. At least one attendee hurried to her wine shop to buy more bottles.
Dry Creek Valley Meritage
We often get asked the question, “What is your favorite wine?” To me, that is like being asked, “Which is your favorite child?” We love them all –but if pressed, I’d probably say that Meritage is my favorite red wine.
Meritage is the name given to American Bordeaux-style blends. In 1985, Dry Creek Vineyard founder David Stare was the first winemaker in California to produce a wine with Meritage on the label. The DCV experience with Meritage shows with every bottle.
The 2013 vintage is a blend of 40% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. The grapes come from a combination of benchland and hillside vineyards and the vines are more than 15 years old. The wine is aged 21 months in French and Hungarian oak, with 30% being new.
We paired the Meritage with a delicious pork roast. This is an elegant wine with riffles of spice and dark fruit. The texture is silky and lush.
While single vineyard wines have been skyrocketing in popularity and production, it is worth remembering that some of the world’s greatest wines are carefully crafted blends. On their own, we love Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc – but assembled together by an artist-winemaker, they soar even higher.
Dry Creek Vineyard Meritage is a great value at $30 and a welcome choice for entertaining, a special meal, or just plain enjoying.
Full Disclosure: This wine was received as a marketing sample.