I was recently asked to participate in a live tasting of three field blend Zinfandels from Dry Creek Valley. If you have read my blog long enough you know this is the equivalent of asking my 10 year old boy if he would like to go shopping at GameStop. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity.
Dry Creek Valley is home to over 9000 acres of vineyards and has a history of grape growing that dates back over 140 years. The region is perhaps best known for its field blend Zinfandels. A field blend refers to the once common practice of commingling different varietals. The varietals often included Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouschet and Mouvedre amongst others.
Below are tasting notes on the three samples that were provided.
2011 Dry Creek Vineyard Beeson Ranch Zinfandel – Beeson Ranch was planted in 1882 and is located West Dry Creek Road. The wine is 85% Zinfandel and 15% Petite Sirah. Violet in color. 13.5% ABV. Red fruits, white pepper and flowers on the nose. Medium body. Nice acidity. Raspberry, plums, raisin and pepper on the palate. Just a touch on the lean side. Claret style Zinfandel that will reward those with the patience to cellar for a year or two. $38 at the winery.
My rating: 88 points.
2012 Dutcher Crossing Bernier Sibary Vineyard Zinfandel – Bernier Sibary Vineyard is a blend of 75% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 10% Carignane and 5% Matero (Mouvedre). Purple in color. 14.9% ABV. Seductive aromas of black fruits, licorice and cloves. Great mouthfeel. Rich, lush and creamy. Blackberry, loganberry, pepper and orange rind on the palate. Exquisite finish. Super Zinfandel. $43 at the winery.
My rating: 93 points.
2011 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel – From Lytton Springs East which was planted in 1901. 82% Zinfandel, 16% Petite Sirah and 2% Carignane. Purple in color. 14.4% ABV. Black fruits, vanilla, pepper and spice aromas. Medium body, strong acidity and healthy tannins. Lavender, vanilla, cherry, minerals and framboise on the palate. Still just a baby. Cellar for at least 3-4 years. $33 at the winery.
My rating: 91 points.
Dry Creek Valley is the epicenter of great Sonoma Valley Zinfandel. Dutcher Crossing is a new label for me. Call me impressed. Ridge was everything you would expect and I hope to try more Zins from Dry Creek Vineyard. Finally it was clear from this tasting that the ’12 vintage is all that and more. Buy accordingly!
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