Dry Creek Valley
At the Northern edge of Sonoma County, the Dry Creek Valley appellation reaches from the late 1800s Italian-Swiss Colony multi-culture farming communities into the more wine focused plantings of today. The regions warm day time temperatures meant it did well for growing grapes in the post-Prohibition push for wine. It’s cool nighttime temperatures mean it also has the structural range to support quality wine today.
Today, the Dry Creek appellation carries a central theme of quality Zinfandels. The Valley can be understood through four quadrants with varying growing conditions and fruit characteristics. However, the area’s Zins still share commonalities when compared to those made in other areas of California. Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels tend towards berry fruits with more raspberry-to-blackberry in the Southern Valley, and blackberry-to-black plum further North. The area offers rich flavors without need for over extraction, black pepper, some earthiness, and good acidity and structure. There is, of course, variation in winemaking style by producer.
Historical vineyards dot the area with vines floating around 100 years in age mixed through with Carignane, and, in some cases, also heritage whites. Dry Creek Valley can also support beautiful examples of Rhone wines, with some of the first contemporary adopters of Syrah in California planted in the Valley near Cloverdale in the 1970s. Producers also do well with Rhone whites, and Sauvignon Blanc has proven a signature grape for the Valley.
Touring with Jameson Fink
Jameson Fink standing in front of Quivira Vineyards
This week I got to spend two days touring Dry Creek Vineyard with Jameson Fink. He’s a friend of mine that lives in Seattle, and blogs (and podcasts!) about food and wine. Here’s a link to his site: http://jamesonfink.com/
We’ve been talking for a while about doing a wine trip together and so jumped at the chance to join up for part of his time in Dry Creek. Later I’ll be doing write-ups on some of the visits. Jameson will be posting more on his blog too. In the meantime, here are some photos of the visits we did together.
Visiting Ridge Lytton Springs with John Olney
Ridge Lytton Springs
Ridge Lytton Springs Winemaker John Olney
John and Jameson talking old vines standing in old vine Zinfandel
Petite Sirah coming in at Ridge Lytton Springs
Aging Zinfandel in American Oak, Ridge Lytton Springs
Three vintages of Ridge Lytton Springs (one of my favorites of theirs–it ages really well)
Finishing with a bonus: Ridge 1997 Monte Bello
Visiting Mazzocco Winery
The entrance to Mazzocco Winery, Dry Creek Valley
View of Lytton Springs Road from Mazzocco Winery
Talking Vineyard designates with Rob Izzo, Mazzocco Winery
Jameson talking Zinfandel with Rob
I wasn’t able to stay for the visit at Quivira but before going in to taste wines in the tasting room I was able to get this shot of Jameson and Andrew Fegelman in the Quivira garden. I love this.
Touring Preston Vineyards and Farm
Lou Preston introducing his farm
Giuseppe and his ewes (they go into the vineyard in Fall time along with the chickens)
Winemaker Matt Norelli talking about apple cider in the apple orchard
Gardener Rebecca Bozelli walking through the just planted winter garden
Jameson with the Preston farm team, from left: Rebecca, Ken, Jesus, Lou, Matt
talking vineyards with Vineyard Manager Jesus Arzate, and Lou
getting ready for lunch with farm foods
lunch with some Preston wines
Tomorrow I’ll post more on the Preston Vineyard & Farm.
Check out Jameson’s overview of the region here: http://jamesonfink.com/dry-creek-valley-wines-and-vineyards-provide-9-noteworthy-finds/
Thank you to John Olney, Rob Izzo, Andrew Fegelman, Lou Preston, Jesus Arzate, Matt Norelli, Ken Blair, Rebecca Bozelli, Lindsay Challoner.
Thank you to Michelle McCue and Anne Alderete. Thank you to Jameson Fink.
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