Dry Creek Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Dry Creek Valley
What We Say
2008 Wine Intrigue Award Winner: Operative’s Choice, Top Meritage
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!:
Today’s wine is one to rave about – or one to impress with! If you are looking for a please everyone wine, you’ve found it. And then some! Stock up for your holiday entertaining.
EXTRA SAVINGS ALERT!:
Today’s wine is offered at 20% off, but order six or more bottles and we’ll also throw in Free Ground Shipping! Just enter coupon code: SPYSONOMA and your savings will be applied at checkout
Mission Codename: Wind at your back
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate a distinctive and excellent red Meritage wine for our blend-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished
Current Winery: Dry Creek Vineyard
Wine Subject: 2005 Meritage
Winemaker: Lisa Bishop Forbes
According to the US Meritage (rhymes with Heritage) Association, a red Meritage wine is made from a blend of two or more of the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, St. Macaire, Gros Verdot, or Carmenere. The Wine Spies have sampled many great Meritage wines and we are proud to bring you one of the finest examples we have ever tasted. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below:
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful and deep ruby red, with great concentration of color, right out to its glistening edges. The wine shows perfect clarity through its darkening heart. On swirling, the wine settles quickly, leaving behind ultra-skinny and tightly-spaced legs
Smell – An elegant explosion of rich aromatics, with lush layers of cherry, soft dried flowers, blackberry, blueberry, plum, spice and black pepper with earthen components that include sweetwood, cigar box and softest tomato stem
Feel – Medium round and velvet smooth, the wine hovers over the tip tongue at first and then settles all around the mouth, gripping the tip of the tongue at first, and then the edges and rear and, finally, the inside of the cheeks
Taste – Incredibly delicious with layers of flavors that mirror the aromas. Add to these flavors additional tastes of mild salad herbs, edible flowers and smoky soft cedar
Finish – This wine coats the mouth, leaving behind a slightly stringy feel, with flavors that tail off sweet then slightly more tart and dry
Conclusion – On first smell of this wine, I knew that I was in for a real treat! I took my time, however, sniffing and swirling – pulling out the myriad of fine and distinct aromas. On to sipping, and I nearly fell out of my chair. Delicious only begins to describe how wonderful this wine tastes. With a medium-big mouth feel, acidity that make it a great food wine, and a long and elegant finish, this wine gets a huge Wine Spies recommendation!
This time of year is crazy time for most California wineries. With the 2008 Harvest nearly complete, winery attention turns to crush and fermentation. The whole period is a pins and needles affair, when wineries begin to gauge the success of the crop. Some try to predict how the vintage will turn out.
My confidential informant at the winery, second generation winery family member and Vice President of Dry Creek Vineyard, Kim Stare Wallace, says that the winery takes a more pragmatic approach to crafting their exceptional wines:
KIM STARE WALLACE: When I hear of wineries predicting greatness for a particular vintage, I wonder how they can really know. The process of making wine is one that requires the persistent application of attention, art and science.
AGENT RED: Is this how your wines seem to improve so much each year?
KIM: I’m glad that you noticed! We are one of the oldest wineries in Sonoma County, having broken ground on our first vineyards in 1972. While there are plenty of great, small, family owned wineries in the area, ours is unique in the sense that we have more than 35 years of growing and winemaking experience in the Valley. We are so deeply committed to evolving and improving the quality of our wines.
RED: So, when do you begin to get a sense of the quality of the vintage?
RED: I’ll have to check back with you then. Recently you’ve made the decision to make wines from 100% Dry Creek Valley fruit. Is this approach more true to your roots?
KIM: Yes, but also, Dry Creek Valley grapes are the finest available. In our humble opinions, at least!
RED: According to our intel reports, your wines have gone from great to even better. What other decisions have led to the improvements?
KIM: Within the last 5 years we brought on new members to our winemaking team. With nearly 40 years of combined experience at some of the finest wineries in the world, our team is focused on creating Dry Creek Valley wines that are dynamic, exciting and uniquely us. Our wines present an authenticity and a quality that deliver a sense of our special region.
RED: Tell me a little about your 2005 Meritage, which, by the way, I am totally crazy about!
KIM: I am so glad that you love it. Most of us here at the winery feel the same way. In fact, its a go to wine for us when we are looking for a delicious wine to go with a great meal.
RED: It has great acidity and great fruit. What is your favorite pairing?
KIM: Ahhh. I am so glad that you asked. I’ll transmit my favorite recipe to you after our meeting. Share it with your Operatives.
[see left for a great pairing suggestion and recipe]
RED: Thank you! I look forward to that. Tell me, how was harvest this year?
KIM: (sighs) Well, for one, its over! We’re all breathing easier now. Harvest was fun this year, and it came earlier too. The final fruit was all picked by October 8th.
RED: And last year?
KIM: October 26th! We’re glad that its behind us, though, as it gives us time to place extra attention on fermentation and barreling. We’ll miss our harvest interns, though!
RED: I met a few of them. Nice mix of ‘kids’. Let’s see, one from France, one from Australia, a UC Davis oenology student. All of them future viticulturists or winemakers. Do you have interns every year?
KIM: Pretty much since my father started this winery 36 years ago.
RED: I see that you are getting ready to plant new vineyards. What’s going in this time?
KIM: On this side, probably Petite Verdot and Malbec, two great blending components. Across the street, we’ll be planting Zinfandel.
RED: Yummy! DCV Zin is great. Listen, I have to congratulate you on a few things. Ready?
RED: First, your 2007 Fumé Blanc beat out 1,052 other wines to be named Sweepstakes Winner at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.
KIM: And you know what? This was the first year in nearly 20 that I have been attending that I could not go!
RED: Second, you were recently named Chairperson of the Meritage Association. Congrats on that! Third, your wine insider blog “Wilma’s Wine World” is a great read. I recommend it to all, but one suggestion?
RED: Change the name to “The Quantum of Wallace”!
KIM: Very James Bond. I like it, but I’m sticking with my original name!
RED: As perhaps you should. You know me, I think that everything should be spy-themed…
Be sure to visit Kim’s blog at: http://www.wilmaswineworld.com/
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Dry Creek Vineyard winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition 2007
Gold Medal – New World International Wine Competition 2007
“90 POINTS – ONE PUFF” – Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine (March 2007) – The near-even mix of the top two varietals (Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) in the blend gives this wine both succulence and admirable depth. Notes of black cherries, currants, briar and oak join in the fairly rich mix, and that same ripe, layered personality shows up in the mouth as well. The wine enters with Merlot’s supple texture but then takes on the hard, grippy astringency of Cabernet at the back.
Colorado Wine News – Aged for 24 months in French and American oak, it is still a bit closed but has inviting aromas of smoky oak, blackberry, black cherry, currant, raspberry, white pepper, and cinnamon. All repeat as big, clean flavors laced with significant tannin and finish medium-broad and very long with a dollop of bitter oak in the middle at the back which doesn’t detract when pairing the wine with food. Medium-bodied, well balanced, structured, and integrated, and it goes well with food.
About This Wine:
The 2005 Meritage exhibits classic Bordeaux characters of bright cherry, chocolate, and a wonderful dried ﬂoral component. On the palate, each varietal adds layers of depth and richness creating a seamless experience. Blueberry, plum, cassis, and spicy black pepper flavors provide interest. The finish is framed by succulent tannins and excellent acidity that give the wine backbone and strength. An elegant and sophisticated experience from start to finish!
About The Winery:
Dry Creek Vineyard is one of the few remaining family owned wineries left in California. With more than 35 years of grape growing and winemaking experience, our efforts continue to focus on the quality of wine in the bottle. When founder David Stare started Dry Creek Vineyard, he began the winery with a single-minded effort to offer the highest quality wine possible at a reasonable price. Dave realized that the success of the winery hinged upon providing that “something special” in the bottle to keep customers coming back for more.
Today, the second generation continues to build upon those early-established values. Dave’s daughter, Kim Stare Wallace and her husband, Don Wallace, are wholly committed to the quality of wine produced at Dry Creek Vineyard. With an eye toward the future, Kim and Don continue their passion to produce high quality wines while being mindful of the original vision of the winery.
Grapes: 51% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon,6% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: 100% Dry Creek Valley
Harvest: September 22 – November 1, 2005
Fermentation: Fermented for 15 days at 85° F.
Barrel Aging: 20 months in French and American oak
Total Acidity: 0.59
Residual Sugar: Dry
Aging Potential: 5 – 8 years
PERFECT PAIRING SUGGESTION
Pan Roasted Filet Mignon with Porcini Mushrooms & Potato Gallette
This recipe might seem more complicated than it actually is, but its worth the effort because it not only pairs very well with our Meritage and Cabernet wine, the recipe also makes for a very attractive presentation.
Recipe Created by Chef Kevin McKenzie
Filet Mignon Steak Six 6 ounce portions (1 per person)
Medium sized Yukon Gold Potatoes 1 per person
Yellow onion (thinly sliced & caramelized) ½ cup
Fresh thyme 1 bunch (lightly chopped leaves)
Veal Stock 2cups
Dry Creek Cabernet or Meritage 2 cups
Unsalted butter 4 tablespoons
Dried Porcini Mushrooms 2 ounces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil ¼ cup
Malden Sea Salt to taste
Place dried porcini mushrooms in small bowl, cover with hot water and allow to sit until mushrooms are fully rehydrated, then remove mushrooms from water and chop them roughly to desired constancy for the sauce, take care to reserve the left over hot water for use in the sauce.
Season filet with salt and pepper and then sear in hot pan until golden brown on both sides Remove from pan and set aside until ready to finish cooking.
Peel and slice potatoes thin with a mandolin. Toss potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and fresh thyme to taste. Layer potatoes in buttered individual molds or cast iron pan, placing one layer of potatoes in concentric circle covering bottom of pan, then sprinkle butter and caramelized onions over top. Repeat this process three times. Cook in 375 degree oven until golden brown, remove from oven and set aside until ready to finish.
In same pan that the meat was cooked, add the cabernet and mushroom water then reduce until syrupy. Next, add veal stock and reduce until sauce coats the back of a spoon or by 2/3. When ready to serve season with salt and pepper and stir in 2 table spoons of butter.
Place meat back in oven and cook for about 4 minutes or until desired temperature is reached, (120 degrees for medium rare, 135 to 140 for medium).
Remove from oven and allow meat to rest for five minutes. Re-heat potatoes in oven. When hot, place individual molded gallette in center of plate, or cut into desired portion size, and then place filet either on top of or leaning against potatoes.
Re-heat sauce and spoon over meat and around plate.