Friday, May 13, 2022

Dry Creek Vineyard Celebrates 50 Years Of Innovation And Excellence

Dry Creek celebrates with a special anniversary edition of its signature Fumé Blanc.

Setting Sail With Fumé Blanc

Years ago, before I had any notion of becoming a wine writer, I was perusing a shelf at a wine shop hoping to find something interesting for dinner. At that time, my definition of “interesting” included being reasonably priced.

I was attracted to a bottle with a boat with a billowing sail. It was Dry Creek Vineyard’s Fumé Blanc. My wine knowledge then was pretty limited and I didn’t even know what grapes were in it. Well, we loved it and this version of Sauvignon Blanc has been a staple for us ever since.

We aren’t alone in our love of Fumé Blanc and this year there is special cause for celebration. It’s the 50th anniversary of Dry Creek Vineyard.

Dry Creek Vineyard is one of the last, truly-private family wineries in Sonoma County. They consistently produce 90-plus rated wines.

The Roots Of Dry Creek Vineyard

It all began 50 years ago with David Stare and a dream. Stare traveled to Germany after completing his engineering studies. It was there he developed his interest in wine. Soon after his family spent two weeks in France, where he developed a love of Loire Valley and Bordeaux wines.

His path then led west to California where he discovered a rundown 55-acre prune farm in the Dry Creek Valley region of Sonoma County that was to become his dream location. He purchased the orchard and began planting the region’s first vines since Prohibition. Stare was determined to plant Sauvignon Blanc, despite the advice of several famed vineyard experts who warned that the variety was “inappropriate” for the region. He ignored the warning and plowed ahead and established an iconic and innovative Dry Creek winery. Today Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted grape in Dry Creek Valley.

Here’s a look at two 50th-anniversary Dry Creek Vineyard releases:

2021 Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

Before even tasting a drop, you can tell that this is a special wine. On the reverse side of the front label is a drawing of the 1972 Fumé Blanc label. The front of the label has a nice embossed 50th-anniversary seal. The reverse of the back label has three historical photos.

While there are aromas of cut grass and grapefruit, don’t expect a New Zealand-style Sauvignon Blanc. Upon sipping, a lovely balance of acidity and tropical fruit is evident. Bright notes of tangerine and a cooling minerality keep you reaching for one more glass. This wine is our favorite California Sauvignon Blanc and at $16 it is an amazing value. I also place this in the “people pleaser” category: no matter your guests’ wine knowledge or palate, they are sure to love it.

2021 Dry Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg

There just isn’t enough good quality Chenin Blanc, like this bottle, to go around. If you only know Chenin from inexpensive bottles from South Africa or perhaps overly sweet Vouvray, you’re in for a treat. This wine reflects the Loire Valley-inspired roots and has been produced every year since the winery was founded. The grapes come from the Wilson Ranch in Clarksburg.

On the nose, there are melon and white blossoms. Finished in stainless steel, it is a refreshing wine, with flavors of peach and lemon. It has a soft texture and a lower ABV of 12%. Wonderful with seafood or as an aperitif, the SRP is $16.

Full disclosure: These wines were received as marketing samples.

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