Friday, June 15, 2012

Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 The Mariner, Dry Creek Valley

The Mariner is a proprietary red blend introduced by Dry Creek Vineyard back in 2004. The winery’s vision is to create the finest Meritage using the five noble Bordeaux grapes. The 2008 vintage is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc.

We sampled this with Ace of Bass and our new friend Michael. The wine came on strong with a bit of “heat” due to the 14.5% alcohol. We suggest that this wine be decanted for about a half hour to let it open up and settle before sampling.

The wine has flavor notes of plum, black cherry and red fruit. There were notes of black tea and spice. Most of the action took place up front and the finish did not linger as much as we would like.

We were tasting the Mariner along with several bottles from Napa and there was quite a contrast. The Mariner was spicy with a bit of earth and dust for a very unique flavor profile. The Napa wines, by contrast were big and fruity.

The 2008 vintage was an immense challenge for the winemaker. There were consecutive weeks of frost in March, heavy winds in April and fires in the area in June. Despite the tricky conditions, Dry Creek Vineyard has created a blend that is certain to intrigue the wine lover. The Mariner is aged 26 months in French Oak.The fruit comes from 20+ year old vines.

We found this to be a unique wine with a different flavor than most. For optimal enjoyment, swirl and decant liberally.

Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.

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