Best End Of Summer Wines List From Dry Creek Valley
As the sun sets on summer and we gradually transition into the harvest season and the cooler temps of Fall, it’s time to start moving away from light sipping whites and rosés and towards the richer, rounder white wines; wines that will pair better with the rich and heartier food cooler temperatures naturally bring to the table. To that end, we’ve compiled a “Best End Of Summer Wines List From Dry Creek Valley” to highlight selections ideally-suited to this seasonal transition and maybe just a little overlooked when it comes to the more conventional tastes out there.
With that in mind, to build the bulk of this list, we cast our eyes towards the Rhône wine region in Southern France and its great white varieties: marsanne, roussane, and viognier. And sticking with the Rhône, we’ve picked a few reds as well, starting with the grape that originated there, syrah and grenache, the dominant variety in most Southern Rhône wines. But we’re not going to leave out rosé entirely, since the drier, more intense styles tend to align well with late summer, early fall fare.
We’ve selected some amazing wines for this list from some fantastic Dry Creek Valley Wineries: Dashe Family Cellars, Frick Winery, Pasterick Wines – Vineyard of Pasterick, Pedroncelli Winery, Preston Vineyards, Trattore Estate Wines, Unti Vineyards and West Wines.
Vineyard of Pasterick’s Estate Viognier was hand-harvested from their highest hillside block and the grapes immediately whole-cluster basket pressed, then settled for 24 hours. Afterwards, they were barrel fermented dry in experienced Saury French oak barrels which are renowned for aging and highlighting fruit without overpowering the wine. This lovely Viognier features apricot, honey, pear and floral aromas that are opulent, heady and luxurious. This is Vineyard of Pasterick’s second Viognier release, a palate dancer that’s sure to thrill the palate.
For more on Vineyard of Pasterick, click here.
After 20 years using Rhone varieties grown on their estate, Preston Vineyard’s has perfected their rosé in the “dry style” using a combination of mourvedre and cinsault along with the occasional addition of grenache. This vintage is almost equal parts cinsault and mourvedre, lightly crushed and then pressed after a soak of approximately 5 hours. Pale salmon-hued, yet slightly, iridescent, when you lift a fresh glass to your nose, you are greeted with a scintillating mixture of fresh strawberry, toasted grain, orange peel and almond aromas. This rosé is medium body, with a lively, dry finish that make it a versatile food wine as well as a stand alone sipper.
For more on Preston Vineyard, click here.
Trattore Farms’s 2012 Roussane captivates the senses with delicate golden straw hues and amplified aromas of ripe honeydew melon, exotic tropical fruits and spicy citrus zest. The palate compliments the aromas well, with hints of white peach and concludes with a smooth creamy finish. 90% Roussanne, 10% Viognier, whole cluster pressed, this wine pairs extremely well with shellfish, such as crab and lobster. It is also delightful with heavier cheeses drizzled with olive oil and served with brioche toast. For a more exotic twist, try this Roussanne paired with an Indian or Thai yellow curry dish and coconut chicken soup. A Gold Medal winner/92 points at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition.
For more on Trattore Estate Wines, click here.
West Wine’s 2010 West Viognier Reserve is an aromatic and flowery wine which can give the impression of a sweet wine, but is actually completely dry. Their Reserve version of viognier has been fermented in neutral oak barrels and aged for a year in the same barrels. The wine shows flavors of mature guava and mango with a hint pineapple. These flavors continue on the palate along with some citrus and the wine has a rich mouth feel and a long aftertaste. This full-bodied white pairs well with more flavored seafood, chicken dishes and tastes beautifully when paired with an aged Gouda and other “nutty” cheeses such as a Danish Danbo or French Beaufort.
For more on West Wines, click here.
Pedroncelli Winery has been making award-winning rosé since 1954 and their 2013 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel wine just won the Best of Show Varietal Rosé category at the California State Fair Wine Competition. Their rosé is made by combining free run juice with 50% saigne (juice drawn from the fermenting tank). Fermentation is finished in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. It’s made in a dry style, but still retains a hint of sweetness because of the fruitiness of the Zinfandel grape. Fresh aromas of rose petals and sweet strawberry jam meet in the bouquet while cherry, vanilla and red berry flavors are highlighted. The wine is balanced with crispness and a refreshing fruity finish and pairs exquisitely with spicy meats and poultry.
For more on Pedroncelli Winery, click here.
The grapes for Dashe Cellars’s Grenache are grown on a flat, rugged, rocky vineyard located in an old dry riverbed that is overlaid with the fog that flows down the valley at night and cools down the vines and grapes. This result is a wine that offers bright, vibrant fruit made in a more Old World style. The resulting purity of flavor, velvety texture, and lush mid-palette is a break from the brash, fruit-forward style of many Californian wines. This lovely grenache has aromas of wild strawberry, black cherry, white pepper, spice, and minerals with flavors of
sweet strawberry and black cherry. There are also hints of black currants, floral notes, slightly grainy tannins and possesses an earthy finish.
For more on Dashe Cellars, click here.
Frick Winery’s 2011 Cinsault, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley is made from a rare, delicious Rhone variety grape grown on red, dusty clay soil here in Sonoma County. With 7 acres devoted to cinsault, characteristics of this grape are large olive shaped berries, lush sweet fruit flavors and very soft tannin. Made from 100% cinsaut, the wine itself evokes a panorama of aromas and flavors: cherry, strawberry, plum, spice — even leather — that carry through on through the dry earthy finish. Food pairing wise, this wine tangos well with roasted turkey, cambozola cheese, BBQ chicken, pasta primavera, even a light summer fruit salad. Or just crack it open with snacks, hummus and soothing sunset and you’ve got the perfect afternoon sipper to meditate on.
For more on Frick Winery, click here.
Made from grapes grown on their estate vineyards, Unti Vineyard’s 2011 Syrah has more savory aromas and flavors due to the cooler temperatures that were present during the 2011 growing season. Stylistically, Unti Vineyards appreciates Northern Rhône-style Syrah and their aim is to always strike a nice balance between the Old and New World Syrah styles, something the fortuitous cooling spell helped them achieve with this vintage. Unti’s Syrah features enhanced pepper, olive and floral aromas—many of the characteristics they appreciate in Northern Rhône varietals, is 100% syrah and aged in French oak. This syrah has a complex set of spicy and floral aromas, followed by sweet blueberry and blackberry flavors and pairs deliciously with bolder foods: think Steak Frites, Wagyu Beef or roasted bell peppers. Also softer cheeses like a Canadian Oka or a Danish Cream Havarti. Whatever the dish, the floral aromatics of Herbes de Provence: lavender, fennel and thyme will also compliment this syrah.
For more on Unti Vineyards, click here.