Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Latest Dry Creek Vineyard Releases Offer Crisp Refreshment, Refined Flavors

A trio of new releases from Sonoma’s Dry Creek Vineyards has something for almost every palate.

We recently had the chance to “test drive” three new wines from one of our favorite wineries, Dry Creek Vineyards. They each are very different wines, but each caused us to return to the bottle for a refill.

2017 Dry Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg

We had planned a special wine dinner in honor of friends visiting from out of town. I originally planned some big reds, but blistering hot weather changed our plans. We opted for some light, summery food and wine.

We paired the 2017 Dry Chenin Blanc with Potato & Wild Salmon Cakes with Ginger, Scallions and Dill Sauce. It was accompanied by a spinach salad with strawberries, blueberries and toasted hazelnuts.

Dry Creek Vineyards has produced dry Chenin Blanc every year since the winery was founded in 1972. This is a bracing, crisp white wine. Stainless steel fermentation keeps the flavors of pear and green apple fresh. It’s lively and a spot-on pairing with seafood of any sort. SRP is $15.

2017 Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

We love Fumé Blanc, a handle used for some Sauvignon Blanc in California. Priced at $15, this is one of our favorite QPR (quality price ratio) wines. In short, you’re getting a great value that’s sure to please. This Sonoma version of Sauvignon Blanc has bright lemon and grapefruit flavors without over-the-top acidity. (I’m talking to you, Marlborough!)

We enjoyed this bottle on a warm evening on the patio. Winery founder David Stare was the first person to plant Sauvignon Blanc in Dry Creek Valley – and now it is the most widely planted white grape in the region. Mouthwatering flavors and a nice minerality!

2015 Old Vine Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

It’s hard to believe, but true. Dry Creek Vineyard first coined the term “Old Vine” in 1987. Those are two words we love to hear – especially attached to Zinfandel. Old Vine vineyards are usually defined as averaging more than 50 years of age. For this particular bottling, the vines are more than 95 years in age and in some cases, more than 110 years old.

Why does that matter? As vines age, they produce fewer grapes. In the counterintuitive world of winemaking, that’s a good thing. Since there are fewer grapes, each receives a greater concentration of flavor. This bottle has 76% Zinfandel, 22% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignane. It is a delightful example of Zinfandel at its best.

This is a refined drinking experience with layers of cranberries, raspberry and cocoa. We detected a bit of spice and pepper on the finish. It is aged 16 months in French, American and Hungarian with 27% new oak. The aging regimen gives added complexity.

The 2015 Old Vine Zinfandel is a winning wine for any occasion. It retails for $35 with a production of 2,200 cases. It’s a wine we highly recommend.

Full Disclosure: We received these wines as a marketing sample.

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