Dry Creek Vineyard - 2 Zins

Today's stop for the 12 Days of Zin is Dry Creek Valley and the winery that bears its name. Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma is a venerable part of Sonoma County's wine history. For over 35 years they've been at the forefront of positive change and innovation in the wine industry. This family owned winery produces a bevy of varietals. Sauvignon Blanc is perhaps the one they are best known for, with Zinfandel likely ranking a close second. Their association with Zin includes being the first winery to coin the term "old vines." Today I'll look at two of their current Zinfandel releases. The 2006 Heritage Zinfandel is 88% varietal and 12% Petite Sirah, all from Sonoma County. This Zinfandel spent 10 months in American and French oak, 36% of it being new. Just fewer than 12,000 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $17.

Upon opening and tasting this wine the first thing I found is that a nice solid 45 minutes in the decanter is hugely helpful. After it opens up though, it's a very expressive wine. Plum and Blackberry notes fill the nose. The palate is loaded with lots of jammy berry fruit underscored by mocha and spice characteristics. The finish has just short of an avalanche of white pepper along with light but emerging earth characteristics, bakers chocolate notes and some dusty bramble. This is a well balanced Zinfandel, that's a fine example of what the varietal can be in Sonoma County. The Petite Sirah blended in adds deep, dark notes and some structure.

The 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel is 90% varietal and 10% Petite Sirah. All of the fruit is from Dry Creek Valley vines that average over 80 years of age. This wine spent 18 months in French oak, 57% of it new. The suggested retail price for this wine is $28.

While the 2005 Old Vines Zinfandel is a bit more immediately accessible than the 2005 Heritage Zin, decanting is still hugely beneficial for maximum pleasure. Once it fully opens up, eucalyptus, dust and dark berry fruit fill the nose. From the very first sip cherry notes are prominent and carry through the palate. A multitude of spice notes including white pepper, nutmeg and others are also prominent. Earth, continued spice, dust, bramble and mocha notes are part of a lengthy pronounced finish. This wine is very well balanced with tremendous acidity. The 3 years of age on this Zinfandel have helped it come together into a nicely proportioned package. While it's drinking well now it should age effortlessly for five to 8 years. This is a classic example of Dry Creek Zin.

Both of these Zinfandels from Dry Creek Vineyard are well made and good values within their respective price range. Over the years I have thought of Dry Creek Vineyard as a dependable producer of well made wine. These two Zinfandels simply underscore that idea.

Up Next: The 12 Days of Zin Continues!

Check out ZAP The Group dedicated to Zinfandel.

Please take a quick moment to vote for my blog