Posts Categorized: Dry Creek Valley Wines

Intro to Sparkling Wine

Tray of sparkling rose wine

We cannot believe that harvest is just around the corner! Our wineries and growers will be harvesting grapes for sparkling wines any day now. The 2019 harvest hasn’t been as rushed as previous years, allowing the fruit to have more hang-time and develop those coveted, complex flavors winemakers love. Sparkling winegrapes, like chardonnay, are harvested first to ensure lower sugar levels and to maintain the crisp acidity in the final product.

There are a few methods to making sparkling wine, but in this blog we’ll be focusing on the most popular approach in Dry Creek ValleyMéthode Champenoise or the traditional method. The most important facet of the traditional method is that the transformation from a still to a sparkling wine occurs entirely inside the bottle.


Wait, why don’t we call it champagne?

Wines made in Dry Creek Valley, or anywhere besides the Champagne region in France, cannot carry the legendary namesake without being grand-fathered in (like our neighbors in Russian River Valley – Korbel). You’ll find different names for different sparkling wines all over the world like Cava in Spain or Prosecco in Italy that each require by law a different process to be able to carry the appropriate name.


There are essentially seven steps (according to Wine Folly) that go into every bottle of Sparkling wine made in the Traditional Method.

    1. Base Wine or “Cuvée”: grapes are picked and fermented into a dry wine. The winemaker then takes the various base wines and blends them together into what the French call a “cuvée”, which is the final sparkling wine blend.
    2. Tirage: Yeast and sugars are added to the cuvée to start the second fermentation and wines are bottled (and topped with crown caps).
    3. 2nd Fermentation: (inside the bottle) The second fermentation adds about 1.3% more alcohol and the process creates CO2 which is trapped inside the bottle thus carbonating the wine. The yeast dies in a process called autolysis and remain in the bottle.
    4. Aging: Wines are aged on their lees (the autolytic yeast particles) for a period of time to develop texture in the wine.
    5. Riddling: Clarification occurs by settling the bottle upside down and the dead yeast cells collect in the neck of the bottle.
    6. Disgorging: Removing sediment from bottle. The bottles are placed upside down into freezing liquid which causes the yeast bits to freeze in the neck of the bottle. The crown cap is then popped off momentarily which allows the frozen chunk of lees to shoot out of the pressurized bottle.
    7. Dosage: A mixture of wine and sugar  is added to fill bottles and then bottles are corked, wired and labeled.

Where can I find Sparkling Wine in Dry Creek Valley?

We have some incredible sparkling wine producers in Dry Creek Valley, but because the process of making these bubbly wines is timely and expensive, it comes in very limited quantities and goes almost instantly. When you see one of these wineries debut their sparkling wines – jump on it!

You’ll find a range of sparkling wines from traditional Blanc de Blanc to Sparkling Grenache and some incredible blends in between.

Sort by Wines on our Winery page for a start.


Add Some “Sparkle” to Your Vocabulary:

Blanc de Blanc – sparkling wine made from only white winegrape varieties

Blanc de Noir – sparkling wine made from red winegrape varieties

Brut -A dry sparkling wine, containing very little sweetness. This is the most popular kind of sparkling wine; typically enjoyed before or during meals.

Demi-sec – A sweet style of sparkling wine.

Non-vintage – when grapes blended from more than one harvest are used to make sparkling wine it is called non-vintage, or NV.


Champagne Glasses vs Flutes infographic by Wine Folly

Sources:

www.winefolly.com/review/how-sparkling-wine-is-made

www.winefolly.com/tutorial/champagne-flutes-or-glasses

www.richardgpeterson.com/champagne-glossary


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Your Cheat Sheet to Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

Besides looking at the bottle and seeing Dry Creek Valley printed right there on the label, we wanted to find out what makes Dry Creek Valley zinfandel is so recognizable and unique. So we asked the experts themselves – our growers and winemakers. Dry Creek Valley zinfandel thrives in our unique AVA thanks to the diverse soil, changes in elevation, climate and 100+ years of experience with growing the variety sure helps too. For full quotes from Nalle Winery, A. Rafanelli Winery, Kokomo Winery, Pedroncelli Winery, Dutcher Crossing Winery, Dry Creek Vineyard and Comstock Wines, continue reading past the infographic. 


What Makes Dry Creek Valley Zinfande Uniquel Infographic

 


Thanks to our vintners for sharing your invaluable insight on Dry Creek Valley zinfandel. We asked them a simple (not so simple) question to help provide details for the above infographic. That question was,  “what do you think makes Dry Creek Valley zinfandel so distinctive?” And here’s there full responses…

Doug Nalle, Nalle Winery

“The Dry Creek appellation has four quadrants that give Zinfandel different characteristics from port-like jammy, to full-throttle black fruit, to raspberry-strawberry to peppery-cherry Koolaid. Overlay this with multiple soil variations that are predominantly well-drained, and many aspect orientations, and you have a very complex ‘climat’. “

I’d also like to add that Dry Creek has a significant amount of historical old-vine Zin vineyards which are recorded in the Historical Vineyard Society: https://historicvineyardsociety.org/. Our Estate Old-Vine Zin vineyard is included: https://historicvineyardsociety.org/vineyard/henderlong-ranch. The HVS defines anything older than 50 years as an old-vine site (ours is 92 years old).  In some cases old vines carry a greater sense of place and tend to be more balanced in terms of production, yielding more concentration and depth in the final wine.

Shelly Rafanelli, A. Rafanelli Winery

Growing…. A temperamental grape that reflects the growing season and Mother Natures’s influences.  This makes every year unique and each vintage different, then the winemaker can personalize it with their own style of wine making.  Zinfandel likes to grow wings or shoulders which we cut off and then we like to separate canes and open up the fruit zone so that we can get as much even ripening as we can, something Zinfandel does not like to do naturally.  We also thin down the amount of fruit clusters after verasion.  This entails going through the vineyard multiple times during the growing season.  As growers we become very close to each and every vine.

Zinfandel has a great history and there are many old vines that are dry farmed, and also still managed in the head pruned style.  I do not know too many other varietals that are grown like this and still producing at 100 years old.  If only they could talk!

When I finally decide to pick our Zin grapes, they are usually one of the first reds to come in.  We do hand sorting and open top fermentation.  Their sugar/alcohol can be hard to predict because they like to soak up overnight in the tank, and they are known for their stickiness (stuck fermentation).  This can make for a lot of sleepless nights, but once they are finished they are a very rewarding wine.  The jammy fruit, balance and food friendliness is what makes Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel so wonderful.  You can drink them alone, with a meal, on the young side, or choose to age them.  They are a true reflection of their terroir and the people who have planted and farmed them in the valley for generations.

DCV Zinfandels can never be called generic or boring and I feel this is the best valley to grow them in:)

I also have been tasting and showcasing some of our older Zins,  1988, 1987, 1999.  They were great, and a true testament that Zin can age well!Erik Miller (Kokomo Wines) at Passport Vineyard Tour

Erik Miller, Kokomo Winery

We are the Goldilocks Valley! Not too warm (Alexander Valley) and not too cool (Russian River Valley) bit just right!

We also have a lot of diversity in our Zinfandel from the East side to the West side and the benches and hillsides to the valley floors.

Montse Reece, Pedroncelli Winery

Valleys in general, offer the most complex soils to grow grapes and Dry Creek Valley is not an exception. Zinfandel  grown in the Dry Creek Valley shines for its uniqueness and complexity. Our Zinfandels  show higher aromatics like spices and bold rich flavors. Making Zinfandel in Dry Creek Valley is not an easy task, you need to be familiar with the weather dualities, cool nights and  hot days  and monitor closely the maturation of the grape. Once in the cellar, Zinfandel benefits of slow fermentations to showcase all its potential. In bottle, Dry Creek Zinfandel is a fest for the flavor seekers, baking spices and berries dominate Dry Creek Zins.

Nick Briggs, Dutcher Crossing Winery

The soils play a role. Dry Creek displays its own unique soil types/makeups. The weather and micro climates also play a big role. We see lots of morning fog that burns off and can end in days well over 100 degrees F. Normally we also get afternoon breezes that help to cool everything down and then nighttime temperatures can drop all the way back down to the 60’s or even 50’s. These big temperature swings and fog help create some of the ripeness Dry Creek is known for while allowing the fruit to mature at a slow enough pace as well as helping to retain some of that natural acidity. We are also lucky enough to have growers who are willing to go the extra mile and dry farm there vines. This leads to lower yields of more intensely flavored bunches.

Tim Bell, Dry Creek Vineyard

I’ve worked with Zin from Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, and I really do think Dry Creek Valley Zin is the best.  What makes it distinctive?  Hard to say exactly, but I think the fact that we are at a nice balance of warm days and cool nights (Region II/Region III, I believe) gives us that special character in our Zinfandel.  We get beautiful red fruit flavors that don’t turn pruney with more spice and bramble/briar patch/sage character than any other Zinfandel region I’ve worked with.  I feel like we also get more even ripening on this notoriously uneven ripening variety.

Chris Russi, Comstock Wines

I believe Dry Creek Valley is one of the premier places in the world to grow Zinfandel.  Zinfandel needs this heat, during the growing season, for the fruit to reach full potential, which is the ripe, red fruit characteristics paired with the savory, black pepper attributes we find in the wine.  The fertile, alluvial soils help maintain the vigor even in the oldest vines in the valley, which can be well over 100 yrs old, and still producing fruit with incredible concentration.

 

 

 


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11 FUN FACTS ABOUT HARVEST

11 FUN FACTS ABOUT HARVEST

  1. Most grapes are harvested at night! Harvesting at night saves money (no need to cool grapes before crushing), is easier on the workers and ensures a stable sugar level in the grapes, something that fluctuates when the temperature rises.

 

  1. The flavors of wine are affected by how long the grapes are on the vine. Earlier harvested grapes have lower sugar levels and higher acidity for a crisp, tart wine (typically white wines!). Red grapes require a more balanced sugar and acidity level for complexity. And dessert wines are left on the vines the longest!

 

  1. It’s not the grapes that determine the color, it’s the skin. Skin contact when making wine is called “maceration” and extracts color and fruit flavor from the skins without any bitter tannins! Think of it like making a cup of tea and how leaving a tea bag in your cup affects the color and flavor.

 

  1. Rosé isn’t a grape variety like zinfandel or sauvignon blanc, rather a style of winemaking that is made from red wine grapes!  To achieve the pink shades found in rosé, a wine is kept in contact with the grape skins for just hours. You can learn more about the different styles of rosé here

 

  1. Sauvignon blanc was first planted in Dry Creek Valley by Dry Creek Vineyard founder, David Stare. This grape grows best in DCV due to the well-draining + mineral rich soils and notable temperature change from day to night aka the diurnal shift! Read more about Dry Creek Valley’s signature white wine.

 

  1. Today, nearly 2,200 acres of zinfandel are farmed in Dry Creek Valley making it the top planted grape in the region. In the 1870s, Frenchman Georges Bloch planted the first zinfandel in Dry Creek Valley. By the 1880s, zin was the dominant grape planted across 900 acres of the region and continues to be to this day.  

 

Giovanni and John Pedroncelli

Jim and his son John Pedroncelli in the vineyard.

  1. After about age 50, a zinfandel vine is considered “old,” but at 50, zin may not yet be half-way through its life. In Dry Creek Valley, you will find vineyards with vines that are more than 120-years-old! “Old vines contribute an intensity and complexity of flavor to the wine that cannot be replicated by any other method,” says Ridge Vineyards, whose 115-year-old Lytton-Springs vines make one of the nation’s best-loved Dry Creek Valley zinfandel blends. Want to study up on Old Vine Zin? We got you covered.

 

  1. The big 3 of a winemaker’s decision to harvest grapes are sugar, acid and tannin. Sugar and acid are measured with a refractometer – tannins however are sampled by tasting the grape!

 

The traditional “blessing” of the first chardonnay grapes brought in at Amista Vineyards

  1. Cheers! Grapes for sparkling wines are harvested notably earlier than others because winemakers are looking for a higher acidity. They are harvested with extra care as to not to disturb the flavors and minimize any harsh compounds that may be imparted from the skin of the grape. Be on the lookout for new sparkling wines coming from Dry Creek Valley wineries in the future!

 

  1. Did you know that it takes a newly planted vineyard at least 3-years to produce fruit that’s quality enough to go grape to glass? Then at least a year after that until your bottled wine is ready to drink! More if you’re looking to age your wine in oak.  Good thing we’re patient – mostly because we know it’s worth the wait.

 

  1. Time for some harvest math! Per acre of wine there are 1.5-7 tons of grapes produced. Per ton of grapes there are roughly 150 gallons of wine. 1 barrel of wine is 60 gallons which is about 295 bottles of wine (24 cases). AND there are ~30lbs of grapes per case of wine and ~2.4lbs of grapes in one bottle of wine. Phew – time for a glass!

Harvest is one of the best times to visit us in Dry Creek Valley.

Start planning your trip today.

 


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SPRING IN DRY CREEK VALLEY – A PHOTO BLOG

Spring is such a gorgeous time to be in Dry Creek Valley – Sonoma Wine Country. Spring welcomes endless seas of yellow mustard flowing parallel with nearly-budding vines , crisp and fresh air and tasting rooms tempting you with their newest rosé releases featuring pink hues rivaling the Valley’s cherry blossom blooms.

Make sure you’re tagging your Dry Creek Valley adventures with #drycreekvalley to be featured in our next photo blog! And follow us on Instagram – because you can never have too many sweeping vineyard views,  wine tasting secrets and Wine Country updates in their feed.


A sturdy old vine stands tall among the mustard at @DryCreekVineyard‘s Beeson Ranch


@SbragiaFamilyVineyards newest wine & cheese pairing on their patio is our dream way to spend the afternoon


@DryCreekValleyWines highlights the hard work that takes place in spring featuring @ned_horton, vineyard manager at @quivira_vineyards with this beautiful pic of some late winter zinfandel pruning.


@DutcherCrossing only made 100 cases of this gorgeous rosé set to release late April – aka Passport weekend!


Humans aren’t the only ones who love #DryCreekValley in spring so does @rubyluwinedog!


Which winery to choose – how about all of them! @SonomaWineLife captured this beautiful dilemma at one of Dry Creek Valley’s crossroads.


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Olive Harvest in Dry Creek Valley

Dry Creek Valley may be world-renown for its delicious wines, but the same climate and terroir that create such beautiful grapes also are the perfect bedrock for many other crops. You may notice this in the variety of products (other than wine!) that many of Dry Creek Valley tasting rooms offer from day-to-day. One crop in particular grows exceptionally well in Dry Creek Valley and has been for 100+ years – and that is olives! You’ll find a wide diversity of trees such as Tuscan, Spanish and Greek covering acres across the Valley.

1_olive harvest in dry creek valley

The olive harvest in Dry Creek Valley typically begins directly following the grape harvest. Wineries who have olive trees get no rest until December – if they’re lucky! Wineries harvest these olives and use them to craft high quality olive oils only found locally.

The 2016 Olive Harvest in Dry Creek Valley was overall reported to be lighter than previous years due to drought like climate. But olives are an alternating-bearing crop so comparing to your previous harvest isn’t always an accurate tool to measure by. Here’s a wrap on harvest information from some of our most famous olive oil producers and our newest!


Comstock Wines

2_olive harvest in dry creek valley

Tracy and Saul Harvesting Olives at Comstock Wines!

The newest winery to the olive oil game is Comstock Wines. This is their first olive harvest in Dry Creek Valley! On their Dry Creek Valley estate, they have over 100 olive trees, mostly the Greek olive variety, Koroneiki, and Spanish variety, Arbequina. The Comstock team was able to harvest all 100 trees in just one day. Hospitality Director, Tracy Bidia said that it was a “fun team building day!” Visit the tasting room in the beginning of 2017 to try their olive oil first!

 

DaVero Farms & Winery

3_olive harvest in dry creek valley

The Crew Hard at Work Harvesting Olives at DaVero.

DaVero harvests 22 acres of olives on their estate and 5 acres from neighboring property at their Westside property. These olive trees were planted back in 1990 from cuttings that were imported directly from a Tuscan farm. This ancient olive grove is home to olive trees that are over 800 years old!  Olive trees take 25 years to reach full harvest, so DaVero’s trees are in their prime. In 2016 the olive harvest in Dry Creek Valley began for DaVero on October 14th but due to conflicting labor schedules, several rain delays, they are just finishing this week with a sigh of relief. DaVero olive oil is never better than when it is freshly pressed – so be sure to stop by soon to sample some of their acclaimed Olio Nuovo for a real treat.

 

Martorana Family Winery

4 olive harvest in dry creek valley

The Annual Olive Oil Winemaker Dinner at Martorana was a Tasty Success!

Over 340 Spanish and Italian olive trees line 35 acres of vineyards at Martorana Family Winery’s organic estate. These trees were planted by Tony Martorana back in the early 80s. All of these olives go into their exclusive Olio di Gio olive oil, named after their winemaker/owner Gio Martorana. Gio actually began making olive oil first in his career before deciding to become a winemaker. As a celebration of the new olive harvest, Martorana hosts an Olive Oil Winemaker Dinner each November and gives their members the chance to watch Gio press the harvested olives and taste the freshly pressed oil before a 5-course dinner curated around the current pressing of Olio di Gio – talk about an amazing meal!

 

A. Rafanelli Winery

5 olive harvest in dry creek valley

Ready for Pressing at Rafanelli

Since 2006 Rafanelli has planted over 1,600 olive trees located at the winery estate and more located on both north and south of the winery.  These groves have both Spanish and Italians varieties planted consisting of Leccino, Frantoi, Pendolino.  Much like Rafanelli’s Zinfandel grapes, there is a high standard for their olives! The trees are hand harvested every year, the olives cold pressed and then the oil is bottled to sell at the winery. This estate extra virgin oil is delicious for dipping, cooking and finishing dishes with. Currently the 2016 olive oil is settling – you’ll have to wait until 2017 to taste.

 

Trattore Farms

7 olive harvest in dry creek valley

Possibly the most recognized label of olive oil comes from Trattore Farms under the Dry Creek Olive Company label. All around Sonoma County you’ll see these olive oils on shelves and on menus. This year Trattore harvested from their 150+ year old trees for a very special olive oil soon to make its debut. Trattore houses nearly 5 acres of estate fruit and their very own custom olive mill that incorporates both tradition and modern olive oil making styles. Trattore opens its mills to the olive growing community during the olive harvest season during their Community Milling dates. In 2016, olive growers turned out in numbers for a chance to create community olive oil despite the pouring rain.

9951 olive harvest in dry creek valley

Any time of year you can visit Trattore for an in depth lesson and tasting through their olive oils. They even offer perfect variety packs if you can’t choose your favorite!

 

Which Dry Creek Valley olive oil is your favorite? Let us know by tagging us  for a chance to be featured on our pages.

 

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Thanks to all of our wineries for sharing about their 2016 Olive Harvest in Dry Creek Valley!
Tracy Bidia at Comstock Wines / Colleen McGlynn at DaVero Farms & Winery / Andreanna DeForest & Gio Martorana at Martorana Family Winery / Shelly Rafanelli at A. Rafanelli Winery / Mary Louise Bucher at Trattore Farms

Dry Creek Valley Wines for Springtime

Dry Creek Valley Wines for Springtime

Springtime boasts fresh cut fields, gorgeous blooms, bees buzzing and warm sunshine all over the idyllic Dry Creek Valley. You can truly taste all of these in our springtime wines. Grassy notes in Sauvignon Blanc, bright florals in our Rose, honeysuckle in the Viognier and refreshment from the heat in a tall glass of bubbly.

Fortunately, Dry Creek Valley is home to over 30 different grape varietals and offers many wine choices perfect for any mood. Here’s a guide on where to find some of what we’re drinking this spring!

 

Chardonnay

The chardonnay grape can make wines that are lean with zippy acidity, briny minerality, and flavors of apple and citrus–or it can make wines that are a little bolder, with ripe tropical fruit flavors often complemented by the vanilla and coconut flavors imparted from aging in new oak. You’ll find some of each style in Dry Creek Valley. These wines can pair with white fish, shellfish, buttered vegetables, and even chicken or pork.

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A Glass of Chardonnay @sbragiafamilyvineyards

Try these Dry Creek Valley Chardonnays:

2014 Home Ranch Chardonnay by Sbragia Family Vineyards ($30)

Tasting Notes: Aromas of ripe apples, tropical fruit and toasted almonds with a buttery brioche. On the nose there is vanilla and baking spice from the oak, but on the palate it is pure apple and citrus with bright acidity and a long, weighty finish.

2014 La Nue Chardonnay by Michel-Sclumberger ($28)

Tasting Notes: Aromas of fresh apricots, wildflowers. On the palate there’s bright acidity, fresh apricot and floral flavors, long rich fruit finish

2012 Chardonnay by Amista Vineyards ($30)

Tasting Notes: White peach, nectarine and a hint of citrus on the nose.  On the palate, the rich stone fruit continues, with a round and full mid-palate and a balanced acidity.

 

Sauvignon Blanc

With its bright citrus flavors and tones of fresh savory herbs, this wine is a quintessential weather quencher. Great with everything from oysters to green salads to lighter Mexican food, this abounds in Dry Creek Valley and on picnic tables everywhere.

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@karennau

See What All the Buzz is About with Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc:

2014 Fig Tree Sauvignon Blanc by Quivira Vineyards ($24)

Tasting Notes: Aromas of lime and freshly cut grass that leads to flavors of pineapple, lemon and lime along with an undercurrent of wet stone. Wonderful for pairing with a plate of briny oysters or a creamy goat cheese.

2014 Sauvignon Blanc by Comstock Wines ($24)

Tasting Notes: Flavors of citrus blossom, papaya and mango. A crisp lemon-lime finish make this Sauvignon Blanc an incredible partner for shell fish and delicate seafood like sole.

2014 Sauvignon Blanc by Mauritson Wines ($21)

Tasting Notes: Loaded with amazing fruit, this crisp wine entices with lemon zest and pink grapefruit, accented by flavors of dried apricot, white peach, passion fruit and limestone.

2015 Sauvignon Blanc by Dry Creek Vineyard ($18)

Tasting Notes: Flavors of Meyer lemons, tangerines and mineral notes come through with a slightly creamy, but lively finish. Stainless steel fermentation was supplemented with small amounts of chestnut, acacia and French oak barrels adding additional character and nuance to this delicious wine.

 

Rosé

While we love rosé in every season, we’re delighted to have entered the time of year in which it’s en vogue to drink it. According to Nielsen, the United States accounts for 13% of all rosé consumed worldwide. With its diverse microclimates and soil types, Dry Creek Valley is producing a lovely range of rosé wines in different styles and shades of pink.

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@pedroncelliwinery

Make Sure You Have These Rosés Ready for Your Springtime Guests:

2015 Dry Rosé of Zinfandel by J. Pedroncelli ($12)

Tasting Notes: Inviting aromas of fresh strawberry, watermelon and spicy pepper. These are nicely balanced with the crisp taste of pomegranate, more strawberry and a bit of orange zest.

2014 Salmon Run Rosé of Zinfandel by Truett Hurst Winery ($20)

Tasting Notes: Peaches. Alpine strawberry. Honeysuckle. Pairs with fresh fruit, cheese and spicy dishes.

2014 Estate Rosé of Syrah by Gustafson Family Vineyards ($20)

Tasting Notes: Opens with juicy watermelon, guava, and a hint of bubblegum, balanced by tangy pomegranate, fresh cherry blossom, and sour cherry. There is a delightful minerality that stands somewhere between wet stone and spring rain, which is followed by the characteristic mid-palate creaminess that comes from fermenting in barrel.

 

Sparkling

Effervescence has been observed in wine throughout history and has been noted by Ancient Greek and Roman writers but the cause of this mysterious appearance of bubbles was not understood. Over time it has been attributed to phases of the moon as well as both good and evil spirits. While it does taste magical, it’s actually science! Sparkling wines are grapes with significant amounts of yeast added to the winemaking process which adds carbon dioxide to it, making it fizzy.

@amistavineyards

@amistavineyards

We have a few distinct sparkling wine producers in Dry Creek Valley worth celebrating:

NV Sparkling Blanc de Blanc by Amista Vineyards ($40)

Tasting Notes: Crisp pear start out this glass of bubbles.  On the palate, the pear notes continue and are complimented by hints of green apple and lemon zest.

NV Sparkling Blanc de Noirs by Cast Wines ($32)

Tasting Notes: Classic brioche and grapefruit in the aromas. The fine creamy mousse has flavors of baked apple and a hint of light lime zest.

Sparkling Grenache by Amista Vineyards ($42)

Tasting Notes: The palate is round and lush, with a bright acidity to balance out the fullness.  This wine will be perfect for any classic sparkling wine and food pairing, but will also make a great conversation wine, just hanging out with friends and family before a meal, or anytime.

 

Other Whites

Dry Creek Valley is known for its many Rhone and other white varietals that are all of the highest caliber.

Why Not Give These Whites a Try?

2013 Grenache Blanc by Frick ($26)

Tasting Notes: Aromas are bright green apple, tangerine , melon and mandarin orange, with crisp flavors of apple,pear, mango, pineapple,and a touch of peach. Ends dry with a mineral edge.

2013 Viognier by Trattore Farms ($27)

Tasting Notes: Lush aromatic profile of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, white peach and hints of apricot, it is smooth, yet with a bright and crisp mouthfeel and great minerality.

2014 Gewurztraminer by Mill Creek ($23)

Tasting Notes: very vibrant nose of honeysuckle, lychee fruit and rose petals giving way to like flavors.  The wine is almost completely dry, with a touch of fruitiness on the finish.  Try with Balsamic glazed duck with figs, Cajun shrimp or ginger and green pepper marinated chicken.

 

Something Sweet

Serve a dessert wine after your meal with a light cheese and fruit plate! This is the perfect way to avoid having to turn on your oven and bake when it is getting hot outside.

West Late Harvest

These Sweet Sips are Perfect for Spring:

2012 Late Harvest Viognier by West Wines ($32)

Tasting Notes: Full of ripe mango, peach and some pineapple. Despite being a sweet dessert wine it has a fresh acidity of tangerine and a lingering subtle aftertaste.

2011 Muscat Blend by Peterson Winery ($36)

Tasting Notes: Striking aromatics of fragrant honeysuckle and orange blossom, with a touch of peach, set the tone for this delicious elixir. The rich, velvety texture caresses the palate with lush flavors of zesty orange, nectarine, lychee nut, honey and hazelnut that lingering into the finish

2014 Estate Late Harvest Moscato by DaVero Farms & Winery ($34)

Tasting Notes: This fruit is biodynamic certified and fermented by the native yeasts in the vineyard. With a risidual sugar of only 9.5%, this is a less sweet style then most.


Fourth Round of Winery Themes for 2016 Passport

We’re almost there! We’ve got another round of Passport themes that include some of our most popular stops  in central Dry Creek Valley.

Download your map of this year’s participating wineries here!

Michel-Schlumberger

Gold in the Hollywood Hills

She grew up with the children of the stars in the Hollywood Hills, on the Boulevard. Her parents threw big parties. Everyone was there. They hung out with with folks like Dennis Hopper and Bob Seger and Sonny and Cher.

Stroll along the Sunset Strip and meet your favorite “stars”.  Feast on our chef’s award-winning food while enjoying a selection of our star-studded wines right in the heart of Tinseltown.

Michel Schlumberger

 

Mounts Family Winery

Let us take you on a journey through Mounts history.  We will be featuring the best purveyors and products from Sonoma County paired with our estate wines.  Each pairing will take you on a flight from our past into present day.  It is important for us to share with you our passion for winemaking, the respect for our heritage, and the love we have for Dry Creek Valley.  Live music, amazing food and a unique and memorable experience!

Mounts

Quivira Vineyards & Winery

Inspired by our Biodynamic wines and garden, Quivira Vineyards brings a bit of Provence to the Dry Creek Valley.  Try your favorite Quivira Rhône wines paired with food inspired from Southern France. Leisurely stroll through our artisanal market sampling Quivira estate grown products then bask in the beauty of our gardens and vineyards.  Quivira Vineyards – Intentional Wines, Naturally.

Quivira

 

A. Rafanelli Winery

Take an early spring picnic with the Rafanelli Family into the countryside of Umbria.  Here you can “Pic Nic a Trevi” where  the olive and olive growing traditions are celebrated in this hillside town.  Delight in this spring time festival that fuses the flavors of olives and herbs with local foods.   Enjoy Italian inspired dishes prepared with our own olive oils and deliciously paired with our new wines.

A Rafanelli

 

Ridge Vineyards – Lytton Springs

Join us for another amazing Passport to Dry Creek Valley celebration.  We’ll be featuring a selection of our legendary single-vineyard Zinfandels paired with delicious culinary creations from chef Jesse McQuarrie.  Special Passport Weekend-only discounts will also be available.  Looking forward to seeing you here at Ridge!

Ridge

 

Mazzocco Sonoma

Mazzocco Sonoma Winery is bringing Spanish flare to Dry Creek Valley! Join us as we make the sights, sounds and smells of Spain come alive.  Gather around giant paella pans prepared by the famous Gerard’s Paella, while sipping on award winning wines. Stay for an authentic live flamenco show and taste a sneak peak of our 2015 vintage from barrel!

Mazzocco

 

Dry Creek Vineyard

Chart your course and join the celebration at Dry Creek Vineyard.  There will be delicious fish n’ chips, salty shanties by The Seadogs and a stem to stern selection of fabulous wines!  Whether it’s Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Zinfandel or Cabernet you desire, we will help you navigate your way through an incredible tasting experience.  Become a DCV deck hand and join the crew at Dry Creek Vineyard.

DCV

 

Mauritson Family Vineyards

Winemaker Clay Mauritson’s superb Dry Creek Valley and Rockpile Zinfandels + chef Charlie Palmer’s sublime cuisine = a weekend of perfect wine and food pairings. Plus, don’t miss the highly anticipated release of our 2014 Charlie Clay Pinot Noir. Want signed bottles? Clay and Charlie will be happy to oblige.

Mauritson
Photo Source – CHARLIE PALMER INDUCTED INTO AAC CULINARY HALL OF FAME – CELEBRATED CHEF. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.

 

Amista Vineyards

You’re invited to a Flamenco Fiesta!  Let us transport you to sunny Spain where we’ll raise a glass of our estate grown sparkling wine in celebration of friendship.  Chef John Franchetti will be firing up our pizza oven and creating Spanish Tapas that pair beautifully with our Dry Creek Valley wines.  Your friends at Amista can’t wait to see you!  Amista ~ making friends

Amista

Next post we reveal: Lambert Bridge Winery, Wilson Winery, Comstock Wines, West Wines, DaVero Farms & winery, Geyser Peak, Armida Winery & De La Montanya Winery!

 

Any of the above themes seem spark a “don’t miss” in your book? Add them to your virtual planner where you can map out your entire Passport adventure in one place. You can find our virtual itinerary planner here.

 

To read more about Passport to Dry Creek Valley visit our events page!

There are still a few Prelude to Passport lunches and dinners left – don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to meet your favorite winemakers over a great meal! Learn more here.

 

Be sure to buy your tickets soon so you don’t miss out on this amazing event! Click here for tickets.

 


Dry Creek Valley on Tour – A Picture Perfect Event

Thank you, Los Angeles, for a great event!

The wine was flowing and the food pairings were perfect thanks to food partners: Bob Blumer, Baby Blues BBQ, One World Beef, Cowgirl Creamery and Hog Island Oysters. The event started on the Hog Island Oyster patio where southern California’s world famous weather perfectly complemented the sparkling, white wine and oyster pairings. Winemakers mingled with VIP guests, personally presenting their quintessential white wine for pairing with oysters.

Then, the VIP guests moved inside Lightbox at Smashbox Studios, where Dry Creek Valley icons highlighted their library vintages during the VIP hour, moderated by Dan Dunn. Legends such as Ed Sbragia and Julie Pedroncelli highlighted their library vintage and talked about their history farming in Dry Creek Valley. The food continued with passed trays of Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese as well as Catfish Corndogs, Shrimp “on the Barbie,” Steak Au Poivre bites, and many additional tasty morsels from the combined minds of Bob Blumer and Baby Blues BBQ.  20+ wineries poured their signature varietals with a few surprise vintages for our guests. Partners Ian Blackburn and his WineLA team produced an amazing event that raised almost $5k for TJ Martell, an organization dedicated to funding innovative medical research focused on finding cures for leukemia, cancer and AIDS.

Take a peek at all the fun!

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Guests are welcomed with Steak Au Poivre bites

 

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Bob Blumer in the kitchen with Baby Blues BBQ head chef & One World Beef cooking up the amazing food for this event.

 

The outdoor patio was a perfect place to enjoy Sauvignon Blanc and Oysters.

The outdoor patio was a perfect place to enjoy Sauvignon Blanc and Oysters.

 

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Hog Island Oyster Co. wowed LA audiences with 1,000 fresh oysters to pair with our wineries’ Sauvignon Blanc, Sparkling Blanc de Blanc, and Viognier.

 

 

Bill Frick's wines are frickin' delicious!

Bill Frick’s highlighting his scrumptious Grenache Blanc.

 

Another Shrimp "on the Barbie" mate?

Another Shrimp “on the Barbie” mate?

 

Julie Pedroncelli shows off Pedroncelli's Sauvignon Blanc - perfect for a hot day!

Julie Pedroncelli shows off Pedroncelli’s Sauvignon Blanc – perfect for a hot day!

 

Our camera ready Silent Auction raised a generous amount towards the TJ Martell Foundation.

Our camera ready Silent Auction raised a generous amount towards the TJ Martell Foundation.

 

LA loved our friends at Comstock Wines, Dry Creek Valley's newest unmissable winery!

LA loved our friends at Comstock Wines, Dry Creek Valley’s newest unmissable winery!

 

Guests enjoy a local Bay Area Favorite - Cowgirl Creamery's Mt. Tam

Guests enjoy a local Bay Area Favorite – Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam

 

We can't get enough of Cast Wines epic Petite Sirah

We can’t get enough of Cast Wines epic Petite Sirah

 

Eco-chiq Box Water kept DCV on Tour guests hydrated between wine tastings

Eco-chic Boxed Water kept DCV on Tour guests hydrated between wine tastings

 

February in LA is a fine time for watermelon and grilled chicken, delicious with Dry Creek Valley's Rhone-style white wines and, of course, zinfandel

February in LA is a fine time for watermelon and grilled chicken, delicious with Dry Creek Valley’s Rhone-style white wines and, of course, Zinfandel

 

WineLA's Ian Blackburn toasts with Dry Creek legend Ed Sbragia

WineLA’s Ian Blackburn toasts with Dry Creek legend Ed Sbragia

 

Our friends at Dutcher Crossing welcomed a new family member...to their wine library: a large-format bottle of Dry Creek Valley Reserv Cabernet Sauvignon!

Our friends at Dutcher Crossing welcomed a new family member…to their wine library: a large-format bottle of Dry Creek Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon!

 

Our LA friends know how to party!

Our LA friends know how to party!

 

This made us hungry before we even knew what it was! Chef Bob Blumer and Baby Blues BBQ made pulled pork "snowcones" with wonton wrappers.

This made us hungry before we even knew what it was! Chef Bob Blumer and Baby Blues BBQ made pulled pork “snowcones” with wonton wrappers.

 

Cheers to making new friends in Los Angeles! We love bonding over food and wine. See you all again next year!

Cheers to making new friends in Los Angeles! We love bonding over food and wine. See you all again next year!


Looking back at Harvest 2015 in Dry Creek Valley

Clean Crush pad at Martorana Family Winery

As predicted by Dry Creek Valley winegrowers, harvest 2015 was a smaller yielding year than any of the three vintages before it. That said, the quality of the grapes was outstanding. The 2015 vintage wines are in barrels and tanks right now, and most won’t see tasting rooms for some time. In the meantime, there are many beautiful wines from ‘12, ‘13, ‘14, and even earlier vintages to be tasted at Dry Creek Valley’s 60+ wineries.

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Dry Creek Valley White Wines for Summer

When summer heats up, we’re ready for refreshing chilled white wines. Fortunately, Dry Creek Valley is home to more than 30 grape varieties and offers many different white wine choices for your every mood. Here’s a guide to some of what we’re enjoying this season.

Dry Creek Valley White Wines for Summer

 

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