Dry Creek Valley‘s diversity makes it an ideal growing region for a wide variety of grapes. Our winegrowers produce many wines that are a reflection of the terroir and the cultural heritages in the valley. More than a century of continued grape cultivation in the area has resulted in a diverse selection of wines that reflect the true culture of Dry Creek Valley. While zinfandel is our signature grape, many other red grapes thrive here.
Bordeaux-Style Red Wines
With a climate similar to Bordeaux, it’s no wonder that the region is ideal for growing cabernet sauvignon. This red grape is nearly as widely-planted as zinfandel in Dry Creek Valley. Cabernet sauvignon thrives in the bench lands, which are composed primarily of igneous gravelly loam that drains well and stresses the vines late in the growing season to produce a concentrated character. It is used to make varietal wines and as a primary component in meritage blends. As a wine, cabernet sauvignon is a full-bodied red with aromas and flavors of dark fruits and savory tones. When aged in new oak, a vanilla character is often present in the wine. The wine pairs with savory rich flavors including red meat, earthy mushrooms, and medium to hard cheeses.
Among the famous Bordeaux varieties, cabernet sauvignon is by far the most widely-planted in Dry Creek Valley. It is also possible to find beautiful examples of varietal wines and blends including merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot in the area.
Rhone-Style Red Wines
The Rhone region of France has long been recognized for its fine red and white wines. Dry Creek Valley has over the last few decades found increasing success growing Rhone grape varieties, with many wineries emphasizing production of Rhone-style wines. In the northern Rhone, syrah is often made as a varietal wine. Syrah typically produces a full-bodied wine high in tannins with a deep, purplish color. Aromas include dark berry fruit, herbs de Provence, and white pepper. In the southern Rhone, blended reds are most common, from grapes including grenache noir, syrah, mourvedre, cinsault, counoise, carignan and more.
Louie Puccioni and mules in 1920
Italian-Style Red Wines
During the early 1900s, Italian immigrants planted grapes such as barbera and sangiovese that represent their heritage and are still skillfully cultivated throughout the valley today. Many of the region’s early winegrowers emigrated from Italy, bringing their winemaking traditions and an understanding of the land to the place we now call Dry Creek Valley AVA. The most common Italian grape grown in Dry Creek Valley is sangiovese, known to make a high-acid wine with tones of red fruit and earthy tertiary flavors. Other grapes grown in the area include montepulciano, dolcetto, barbera, the rare sagrantino and primitivo, Italy’s clonal variation of zinfandel.
To search by wine type, use the Wines tab on our Winery Profiles page.