Monday, December 10, 2012

Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 Meritage, Sonoma County

We are big fans of Meritage. Who wouldn’t be?

Meritage (pronounced like “heritage”) is the American version of a Bordeaux blend and the primary grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Like the French, American makers of Meritage have discovered that a well conceived blend of grapes can hit the target in ways that a single variety cannot.

The Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 Meritage has depth and complexity, but the blend makes it very accessible. The 2008 blend is 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 17% Cab Franc, 14% Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot.

I decanted this bottle for about 30 minutes before we enjoyed it with our meal of chicken fajitas. Was this the ideal pairing? Hard to say, but I was in a Meritage mood it ended up as a quite nice match.

In the glass this is red to brick red with a medium body. The aroma is a mash of berries.

Our first sip was strong with tannins, but then retreated into more delicate flavors. There is plum and currant on the palate with a touch of tartness on the long and sophisticated finish.

The 2008 vintage was challenging with several weeks of frost followed by heavy winds and finally fires. The winemaking team navigated tricky conditions to produce a winner of a wine.

The vines average 20 years and the vineyard terrain is a combination of benchland and hillside. The wine is aged for 22 months in a combination of French and American oak. DCV 2008 Meritage retails for $28.

This is a stylish Sonoma bottle to savor at a price that isn’t hard to swallow.

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