Certain grapes can thrive at a stunning level in particular places. Sonoma County has several areas where zinfandel flourishes. Dry Creek Valley is the most obvious one, as it’s practically the headquarters of great zinfandel. However, there are other nooks and crannies in Sonoma County where tremendous zinfandel can be grown. Dry Creek Vineyard, the namesake winery of the aforementioned appellation, is among the most consistent producers of zinfandel. One of the things that makes them a go-to producer for this grape is the fact that they produce site-specific, single-vineyard zinfandels, as well as cuvees that come from larger areas. Each of those wines tends to be well made and fairly priced. Here’s a look at the current release of one of the cuvees.
The Dry Creek Vineyard 2011 Heritage Vines Zinfandel was produced from fruit sourced within Sonoma County. In addition to zinfandel (84 percent), some petite sirah (16 percent) was also blended in. Fermentation took place over 18 days with pumpovers occurring twice daily. Barrel aging was accomplished over 19 months in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak. More than 10,000 cases of this wine were produced with a suggested retail price of $19. Pouring this wine into the glass, it’s hard not to be immediately struck by the beautiful, dark purple hue. At first whiff, you’ll find that the nose of this zinfandel is loaded with black raspberry, red plum and dark violet aromas. The palate is studded with deep, dark fruit flavors such as blueberry, dark plum, and blackberry. Bits of dusty chocolate weave their way in and out of the fruit flavors. Rhubarb, anise, tobacco, espresso, continued dark fruits, and a final wallop of plum pudding spices are all part of the finish which has terrific length and measured intensity.
This wine is an excellent example of zinfandel for a very good price. As with all the zinfandels from Dry Creek Vineyard, it’s balanced, proportionate and primed to pair with food. One vintage after another, they release a number of distinct expressions of zinfandel that are worth spending your money on. This particular offering is a textbook example of zinfandel made in a genuine style that is simultaneously loaded with gorgeous fruit flavors, while also being even keeled and harmonious. If you’re a fan of the more classic style of zinfandel, you should seek this wine out. With 10,000 cases made it won’t be hard to find and it might become your go-to everyday zin.