I’m not gonna lie, I used to sell these wines in San Francisco but when I continue to come back to this winery time and time again, even when I don’t have to, you know it must be one of my favorites! Hospitality to boot.
Dry Creek Valley AVA (American Viticulture Area) is in Northern Sonoma located right outside of Healdsburg which is one of my top recommendations for a full day in wine country. Here you can start your day at The Shed over some coffee and provisions before you drive out into the vast valley of rolling hills, storybook views and endless mustard seed-covered vines (depending on time of year). Maybe grab a sandwich at The Dry Creek General Store, est. 1881, on the way out. Wrap things up with a night or two at The Hotel Healdsburg where you can shake off any hangover at one of THE best spas in wine country. #happyplace.
As you will gather this is Zin country and has also earned respect for Sauvignon Blanc, really thanks to Dave Stare and his ambitious planting of the varietal in 1972 when he started Dry Creek Vineyard. Now with the second generation, Kim and Don Wallace, at the helm, the legacy has only evolved. Another long-standing, family-owned winery, DCV paved the way for new varieties in what was mostly uncharted waters of American terroir, or at least the forgotten. From 100% sustainable to clonal selection and a real wine identity, they are most known for being pioneers of these grapes produced in all their many styles and even responsible for some terminology on California wine labels (Meritage, Fumé Blanc, etc).
Now touted as the official Wine for Sailors, the esthetic and personality no doubt showcases the family’s passion for the sport. Entering the tasting room you can instantly feel the alliance of these two passions. Here is where a crisp and slightly sweet Chenin Blanc meets a day on the bay or a rich and jammy red compliments a picnic on the lawn alongside the vines. An experience not limited to the premises.
Styled in true Loire Valley fashion, tasting will start with light and crisp, grassy SB all the way to round, lush and tropical SB (my favorite –DCV3 & Taylor’s Vy) then to some of the best value Chenin Blanc on the market, which showcases as plush and slightly sweet. Moving into reds the “Heritage” Zin will be your intro as you’ll then move into other propriety, hand-crafted and bolder reds, most notably their Meritage wines (meaning a Bordeaux-style blend). The Mariner and Endeavour are a MUST and also 2 of my favorites. Simply mastering the art of the Old Vine is a feat and something that sets this winery apart from the rest. Essentially the older the vine the lower the yield, creating a more rich and layered red wine where a little more love is required in the production. Across the board you will find something that suits you. This is the place for you if juicy is your jam. Or even jam is your jam. And all those leading up to them.
*Reservation not Required; $-$$$$