Dry Creek Vineyard
Summary: Dry Creek Vineyard, located in Sonoma and built in 1972, offers an enjoyable experience inside and outside for visitors. Dry Creek Vineyard was one of the first wineries to use the word “Meritage” for a Bordeaux-type blend. They also coined the word “Old Vine.”
Outside of Dry Creek Vineyard’s tasting room, visitors can enjoy the park-like setting of the area. Trees, picnic tables and umbrellas with views of the vineyards are all part of the scenery.
Large doors open to reveal a tasting room with numerous items to browse. A large fireplace provides a pleasant warmth to the room. Don’t miss the unusual cork handbags, soaps and ceramics. Looking for a wedding gift? Consider the Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook.
Dry Creek Vineyard’s tour began with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc that was a light golden color and fruit forward. The first stop was at a display case with a timeline featured. Dry Creek Vineyard was one of the first wineries to use the term “Meritage” to identify a Bordeaux-style blend of the five Bordeaux grapes. David Stare (original owner) was part of the group that founded the Meritage Association. By 1987, the winery had coined the term “Old Vine” that referred to vines planted pre-Prohibition.
The next stop was the barrel room where eight tall oak casks are also housed. A table in the room offered views of the soils in the vineyards.
Continuing to the vineyards, the vine leaves in the fall were a mix of yellow, orange, red and green. The 42 acres of vineyards include Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Sauvignon Blanc planted in 1972 was the first Sauvignon Blanc planted in Dry Creek Valley. A small section has three experimental types of Zinfandel. We had an opportunity to taste some of the fruit left behind when harvested. The secondary fruit on a Zinfandel grapevine had green seeds and moderate sugar levels. On another Zinfandel vine, the fruit was further advanced with a higher sugar level and brown seeds.
David Stare, owner, wanted to start a winery and liked the style of the Loire Valley wines. This influenced his winemaking. He fashioned his winery after a chateau. The vineyards are located on property that was once planted with hops. After hops, prunes were planted. The prunes needed to be pulled out before planting grapevines. After David retired, Don Wallace and Kim Stare began running the winery. Don is enthusiastic about the farming aspect of the winery. Currently he is working on getting the vineyards certified as sustainable.
Since the Stare family enjoys sailing, they chose wine bottle labels featuring sailboats. For the past 11 years, Dry Creek Vineyard wines have been the official still wine for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards.
Chenin Blanc 2010, a straw color, had citrus bouquet notes. The taste had notes of apple with a touch of pear and citrus. The finish was crisp with tropical fruit. Fumé Blanc 2010 was a light straw color with a grassy aroma. The taste was of grapefruit and lemon grass with a hint of tropical fruit. The crisp finish had citrusy notes with a grassy aftertaste.
Old Vine Zinfandel 2008 was a dark purple The wine offered a dark fruit bouquet. The taste had notes of plums and black raspberries. Tannins were on the fruity finish. Meritage 2008 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. The dark purple with a ruby rim colored wine had dark fruit aromas. The taste was of blackberries and raspberries. Bold tannins were on the finish and fruit yielded to spice. Mariner 2007 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The dark purple wine offered dark fruit notes and licorice on the nose and taste. Bold tannins were on the fruity finish. Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 was a dark purple. The aroma and taste had cherry and blackberry notes. The finish had tannins and was fruity with hints of cocoa.
Enjoy a visit to Dry Creek Vineyard winery and discover a winery with a passion for winemaking and sailing.
Dry Creek Vineyard
3770 Lambert Bridge Rd
Healdsburg, California 95448
GPS: 38º 39.196’ W122º 55.455’
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