When we think of Sonoma’s famed Dry Creek Valley, immediately we associate it with their powerful old-vine Zinfandels, however, did you know that Dry Creek Valley is also home to some excellent Rhone style wines as well? The climate and soil types in the Dry Creek Valley is optimal for growing Rhone grape varieties.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to participate in a live Twitter tasting represented by McCue Communications, featuring three prominent wineries in the Dry Creek Valley that produce some stunning Rhone style red blends. The three wineries that joined us that evening were F. Teldeschi Vineyards, Frick Winery, and Amista Vineyards. All three are small, family-owned operations and produce wines in small lots. We sampled a red wine from each winery and tweeted and tasted with them that evening.
2006 F. Teldeschi Winery ‘Terraluna’: This is a red blend made up of Carignane, Valdiguie, and Petit Sirah. The more obscure grape, Valdiguie is native to the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. This wine pours a deep ruby color in the glass and immediately you notice the bouquet of fresh red berries and flowers on the nose. The nose also has aromas of black licorice, coffee, and sweet spice. The fresh red berries, as well as black berries dominate the palate along with layers of fresh roasted coffee, pepper, anise, and licorice. The wine is balanced by nice acidity and has a firm tannic structure, with a long finish. This wine is a great pairing for duck, or hearty winter stews. SRP: $60
2010 Frick Winery Cotes Du Dry Creek: This wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault. This wine also pours a deep, ruby color in the glass and has an abundant red, spicey fruit core. On the nose, the wine also offers aromas of plum, fig, fresh ground pepper, and vanilla. On the palate, the wine has juicy red and black fruits along with espresso, spice, licorice, vanilla, and pepper, embraced by powerful tannins, and finally giving in to a long finish. This wine is powerful, yet beautifully balanced. This would pair beautifully with roasted meats, stews, and cheeses. SRP : $24
2012 Amista Vineyards Tres: This wine is a GSM blend: Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre; one of my favorite blends. This wine pours a lighter ruby color in the glass with a lovely purple hue. On the nose, aromas of bright red cherry, raspberry, strawberry, cola, spice, herbs, licorice, and a hint of cured meat. On the palate, flavors of red cherry pie and raspberry dominate followed by layers of orange zest, cola, kirsch, black pepper, cloves, and vanilla. This wine is beautifully balanced and offers a lot of complexity. This wine is a perfect companion to an array of foods from casseroles, hearty winter stews, and various cheeses. SRP: $34
This tasting was very enlightening because it opened up a whole new level of wines that are being produced in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, proving that there is much more to Dry Creek Valley than just old-vine Zinfandel. This new year, why not make a resolution to try some fantastic Rhone style red blends such as these wines and support some world-class family-owned wineries in the process.
Until the next time. Cheers!
* These wines were provided as media samples for review purposes.