2017 Dry Creek Heritage Vines Zinfandel
“It doesn’t have to be pricey or hard to find to be a really darn good wine.” – Me.
Yep, I just quoted myself to start this dispatch.
Because this winery – Dry Creek Vineyard – makes incredibly compelling wines and has been doing so for 50 years. Yet the owners and staff are so politely convivial, they’re not going to toot their own horns, announcing to the world how succulent their wines are. So it’s up to me!
Founding Dry Creek Vineyard in the 1960s, the first winery in Sonoma since Prohibition, MIT graduate and impresario David Stare cashed in his engineering credentials for a small slice of heaven – an empty strip of land across from the Dry Creek General Store, in Sonoma County.
Next came Zinfandel, with its rich, century-old tradition of being planted in Dry Creek Valley, simply because the wines are darn delicious. More than 50 years later, David–now along with his daughter Kim—is making profoundly delicious wine.
This is a winery with deep roots in every sense, and they mean what they say in labeling it “Heritage.” The winery is 50 years old, but the vines that make up this Zinfandel are all very old Manzoni clones, now in their dotage at over 100 years old. Mostly from Dry Creek, thishas a dash of Russian River fruit to give the wine an added note of complexity – a cool maritime influence that brings in brighter fruit flavors. But it’s also got a good chunk of co-feremented Petite Sirah, 21 percent, that simultaneously brings out the freshness while adding a depth of black fruit and tannin. Carignan rounds it out with just a touch of spice box. The results are outstanding:
The wine opens with deep blackberry notes, oatmeal raisin cookie spices and just a jot of brown sugar notes. The core is indeed fruit-driven, but that Petite Sirah brings in notes of dark chocolate, espresso and dark plums. This is no monotone fruit bomb of a Zinfandel: High-toned notes of cherry, with enough of energy throughout the midpalate, escort you to a long-lasting richness on the finish. Zinfandel is one of the great wines of the American landscape, and this one shows its grand heritage through and through.
Over in Napa Valley wine, especially Cabernet, is expensive. And most of it is sold before you get a chance to buy it. Fine: Napa Valley Cabernet is Expensive. But Zinfandel is America’s Great Grape. And here is Dry Creek, with 50 years of making extraordinary Zin that competes on any level you choose to measure it against. This is a great wine, and an even greater buy. Don’t miss it.
“Bold and robust style with a pronounced spicy, violet and red berry nose, structured palate, grippy tannins and zippy acidity.” – Decanter
“92 points. Best Buy.
“This wine offers sultry spice and brown sugar notes. Structured tannins wrap around integrated acidity, tangy red fruit, dark chocolate and coffee. Blended with 21% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignan, it has a lasting richness to the finish. Best Buy.” – Wine Enthusiast
“91 points. #64 Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the Year.
“Briary and vibrant, with zesty raspberry, toasted sage and cracked pepper flavors that take on richness toward polished tannins. Drink now through 2025.” – Wine Spectator