Kokomo Winery – 2008 Grenache Rosé

January 28, 2010

The Facts:

The Kokomo Winery 2008 Grenache Rosé was produced using fruit sourced at Pauline’s Vineyard. This small production wine sells for around $18. Kokomo Winery was founded in 2004 and named after winemaker Erik Miller’s hometown in Indiana. Their focus is on single vineyard wines from several appellations; notably Dry Creek Valley where their winery, estate vineyards and tasting room are located.

Gabe’s Take:

Rosé in January? You bet. Maybe part of the reason I drink Rosé all year round is that it helps me recall warm weather. Sometimes in the middle of an east coast winter, I reach for anything that will act as a reminder that the weather will turn warm again. One of the other reasons, and a bigger one, that I drink Rosé all year, and taste them whenever I can, is their versatility. Whether enjoyed alone or with lighter foods Rosé can be incredibly adaptable. I find that they offer some of the best qualities found in both white and red wines.

The 2008 Grenache Rosé from Kokomo has a very light pinkish hue to it, tinged by a hint of light green. Citrus aromas lead the nose; these are underlined by subtle vanilla and a hint of gentle white pepper. Pink grapefruit flavors star though the palate. Strawberry and cherry are also apparent to a lesser degree. Everything heads towards the nice finish which features a nice savory bite. This wine has good acidity and would be a perfect match to many dishes. Arroz Con Pollo strikes me as a particularly good partner.

Like good French Rosé and the growing number of new world counterparts this wine is refreshing and delicious with enough delicate layers to keep it interesting over an afternoon or evening. This wine should of course be served chilled, but don’t over cool it and risk missing out on its subtler charms.

Please vote for Drink Dry Creek! 

Blackstone Winery – 2007 Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

January 26, 2010

The Facts:

In addition to the selections from Blackstone Winery that can be found on just about every wine and liquor store shelf they also have some reserve style selections that are produced in smaller, though still significant, numbers. The Blackstone 2007 Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is made using fruit from five appellations. With 41%, Dry Creek Valley represents the largest contributor. Sonoma Valley (21%), Sonoma Coast (20%), Knights Valley (13%), and Red Hills (5%) are the others. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (87%), this wine includes Cabernet Franc (7%), Petit Verdot (4%) and Malbec (2%). Barrel aging was accomplished over a period of 20 months in a combination of French (60%), Hungarian (20%) and American (20%) oak; 30% of the barrels were new. 17,000 cases of this selection were produced and the suggested retail price is $19.99.

Gabe’s Take:

I’m always glad to see a non-resident winery using Dry Creek Valley fruit. When it’s one with a household name like Blackstone it can only help the recognition factor of Dry Creek Valley for folks who aren’t as familiar with it. I was particularly happy to see that they’re making a Cabernet using a good chunk of fruit from Dry Creek since I believe this is one of the varietals people don’t associate with the area as much as they should.

Leather, ripe berry and vanilla aromas lead the nose of this 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Crushed black cherries flavors alternate with red cherry notes as both are in abundance throughout the palate. These are joined by lots of plum and blueberry characteristics. Hints of chocolate emerge mid-palate along with plum pudding spice and continue through the finish which includes minerals, earth and hints of tobacco.

This is a solid Sonoma County Cabernet. It does an admirable job showing off the Dry Creek Valley fruit that stands at its core. With just a little bit of air this wine is smooth and accessible with more than sufficient complexity for its relatively modest price point.

Please vote for Drink Dry Creek! 

Dry Creek Vineyard – 2008 Fumé Blanc

January 24, 2010

The Facts:

Dry Creek Vineyard has been producing Fumé Blanc in Dry Creek Valley for close to 40 years. Founder Dave Stare first planted it in 1972. In that time it has remained the benchmark white wine they produce. The 2008 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc is made from fruit sourced in Dry Creek Valley and Sonoma County at large. The fruit was picked from vines having an average age of 10 years. Fermentation was accomplished in stainless steel over a 30 day period. Just fewer than 22,000 cases of this vintage were produced and the suggested retail price is $12.

Gabe’s Take:

Dry Creek Vineyard has a number of different selections that are produced using the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Some of them are single vineyard efforts and one limited to a single clone. The Sonoma County Fumé Blanc however is their workhorse wine. This is the selection from them that you’re most likely to easily find on the shelves of your local wine shop. In some ways that makes it their most important wine.  The question of course is how does the 2008 stack up?

The inviting and fragrant nose of this 2008 Fumé Blanc displays grapefruit, kiwi, quince, and lemon zest. The palate of this wine is smooth and generously flavored; loaded with fruit. Citrus characteristics dominate but orchard and tropical fruit flavors play a significant role as well. Apricot and mango notes kick in around mid-palate and continue through the finish which also shows hints of mineral, white pepper and subtle vanilla. Well integrated acidity provides the framework. This Fumé Blanc is delicious on its own but is also an excellent match with lighter to medium bodied dishes.

The bottom line for me is that this 2008 Fumé Blanc is a classic example of the varietal from the folks who literally put it on Dry Creek Valley’s map. For $12, less if you shop around, this wine is a bargain and an excellent choice as a go to white. Its overall consistency fromyear to year makes this a selection you can count on.

Please vote for Drink Dry Creek! 

Passport 2010: Sooner Than You Think!

January 19, 2010

It may still be January but it’s also less than two weeks until tickets go on sale for Passport 2010. And that means less than 3 months from then until Passport. While that may seem a long way off, time has a way of slipping away. 2010 marks the 20th Anniversary of this signature Dry Creek Valley event. While the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley and the participating Wineries always do a nice job, I imagine the 20th Anniversary will inspire even greater things than usual. One of those things is Gateway to Passport. This intimate dinner event takes place the evening before Passport begins, at Charlie Parlmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen. We’ll be at Passport to Dry Creek Valley and we hope to see many of you there! Read more about it including specific details in the Winegrowers Press Release Below:


Escape to Passport to Dry Creek ValleyT for a journey of wine, food and fun! We invite you to join us for the 20th anniversary celebration of Passport to Dry Creek Valley on April 24 & 25, 2010.

We are also introducing Gateway to Passport at Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen and Hotel Healdsburg from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on April 23, 2010. Tickets go on sale February 1, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. PST!

Remember, for the first time ever, tickets will be sold concert style! That means first come, first served, so don’t wait!

TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS: Visit www.wdcv.com or call 877-545-3198 Click on purchase tickets. You will be taken to our online reservation system. You may purchase up to 4 two-day Passports OR 4 Sunday-only Passports. You may also purchase your Gateway to Passport tickets at this time. Choose your starting winery from the drop down menu at checkout (you must choose your starting winery to validate your purchase). Remember the sooner you purchase your tickets, the greater your chances of starting at the winery of your choice!

BEFORE YOU PAY FOR YOUR PASSPORTS PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THE FOLLOWING IMPORTANT INFORMATION: You are responsible for informing each of the persons in your party about the instructions below, particularly the first one. If you are unable to attend, and sell your tickets to another party, it is your responsibility to make the person(s) who purchase the tickets aware of the Passport rules and restrictions.

PASSPORT INSTRUCTIONS: ALL ATTENDEES MUST BE AT LEAST 21 YEARS OF AGE: Due to the number of people and safety concerns, we do not allow anyone under 21 (including small children and babies) into any of the Passport locations. Please be prepared to show a valid photo ID. Please make child care arrangements prior to attending. In addition, no dogs are allowed, unless they are certified service animals.

REFUNDS: Passport Tickets are non-refundable.

EASE OF TRAVEL (2-Day Passports): In order to ease the crowds and lessen congestion, we strongly suggest that you begin your Passport to Dry Creek ValleyT journey in the area of your starting winery. For instance, if you are picking up your Passports Saturday at Mill Creek Winery in the southern end of the valley, plan on visiting Armida, Alderbrook, Everett Ridge, Seghesio, etc. on Saturday.  Then on Sunday, head to the north end of the valley. Or if you are slated to start at Ferrari-Carano on Saturday, stay in the north end on Saturday and visit the southern end of the valley on Sunday.

REVOCATION OF PASSPORTS: The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley reservesthe right to revoke the Passport of any attendees who by their actions may cause damage to themselves, other attendees, winery personnel or property.

The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley encourage you to drink responsibly.

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Horizon Airlines offers a special exception to their checked baggage policy at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport. No carry on alcohol is allowed. However, Horizon will accept a box of up to 12 bottles of wine per passenger at no extra charge from customers on flights departing Sonoma County. The wine must be packaged to courier standards for shipment. The liquid and gel ban by the TSA removed the ability of passengers to carry the wine they purchased on board, so Horizon developed this program in partnership with the Sonoma County wine community, allowing customers to purchase their favorite wines and sparing them the hassle and expense of shipping them separately.

Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley  |  P.O. Box 1796  |  Healdsburg, CA95448 | 707.433.3031 | info@wdcv.com  |  www.wdcv.com

Dry Creek Vineyard – 2006 Merlot

January 16, 2010

The Facts:

The folks at Dry Creek Vineyard have been producing Merlot since the inception of the Winery in 1972. The Dry Creek Vineyard 2006 Merlot is produced using Dry Creek Valley fruit. In addition to Merlot (87%), Cabernet Franc (8%), and Malbec (5%) are also blended in. Barrel aging was accomplished over 19 months in a combination of French and American oak; 30% of the barrels were new. Just over 3,700 cases of this vintage were produced and the suggested retail price is $19.

Gabe’s Take:

In a lot of ways Merlot is one of the more controversial varietals of the last few years. After the movie Sideways painted it in such a negative light, Pinot Noir sales soared, Merlot sales headed the other way. There was something in the point that film made. There’s a lot of trite Merlot out there. But when Merlot is grown under ideal conditions and treated properly it can be every bit as exciting as Cabernet Sauvignon. So instead of writing this varietal off, wine lovers should simply seek out the good ones.

Right off the bat I’ll mention that this 2006 Merlot from Dry Creek Vineyard needs a solid bit of aeration. Decant it for 45 minutes and this wine really blossoms. Plum, fig, vanilla and cedar aromas are all part of the nose of this Merlot. Cherry, rhubarb and a copious array of spice notes lead the palate. Sour berry fruit, hints of thyme, earth in spades, espresso, dusty cocoa, and mineral notes are all part of a lengthy finish. This Merlot has yielding tannins and solid acidity.

What stands out most about this Merlot is the tremendous balance it maintains throughout and the fact that it’s wonderfully dry. For anyone who has been drinking run of the mill Merlot that tastes, to be kind, generic, I highly recommend you try this offering. THIS is what Merlot tastes like. With 3,700 cases out there you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it. For around $19, it won’t break the bank either.

Please vote for Drink Dry Creek! 

Win 2 Tickets to ZAP !!!

January 9, 2010

ZAP, the organization devoted to Zinfandel is having its 19th Annual Festival in San Francisco this month. And as a reader of Drink Dry Creek you have the chance to win two free tickets for the Grand Tasting on Saturday January 30th. All you have to do to enter is send me an e-mail and tell me what your favorite Dry Creek Zinfandel is. Use the “e-mail Gabe” form at the top of the page to contact me and enter. Make sure you include your e-mail address and name. The contest ends at 11:00 PM Eastern on Sunday January 24th, 2010. I’ll randomly pick a name from all the entrants and get in touch with you to arrange the tickets the week of January 25th. Cost of the tickets is $59 per ticket for non ZAP members. Good Luck! If you want a second chance to win (a different set of tickets), you can enter at Gabe’s View too, using the “e-mail Gabe” form there. What follows is ZAP’s press release about the event:

2010 Zin in Paradise features celebrity chef Beverly Gannon

Rough & Ready CA, January 2010—-The 19th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Festival takes place January 28-30, 2010, in San Francisco. The Festival will ‘headline’ Chef Beverly Gannon, one of the founders of ‘HAWAI`I regional cuisine.’ Chef Gannon is the proprietor of Maui’s world famous Hali`imaile General Store and possibly the most well-known chef in Hawaii. She will develop the “HAWAI`I regional cuisine” menu for Dinner With The Winemakers as well as prepare a signature Hawaiian dish for Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing; she will also be visible throughout the three days of the Festival and her new cookbook, Home Style Meals at The Hali`imaile General Store, will be for sale. To order tickets call 877/772-2545; tickets can be purchased online at www.zinfandel.org.
“Meet” Chef Gannon in a series of Skyped-video chats now online on ZAP’s website. Bev explains the magic of Zinfandel from her perspective and gives you a few hints about the Festival.
Chef Gannon’s dinner menu for Evening With The Winemakers will consist of Asian Duck Tostada; Blackened Ahi With Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, Wasabi Micro Greens, Tobiko, Mashed Potato In Filo Cup; Smoked Salmon Pinwheels With Chipotle-Chili Fresh Fruit Salsa; Kalua Pork And Goat Cheese Won-Tons With Mango Chili Sauce; Terrine Of Foie Gras, BBQ Eel, Potato Pineapple Compote, Vanilla Syrup And Spicy Micro-Greens; Lamb Shank Cannelloni With A Poached Fig Demi-Glaze Double-Cut Lamb Chop, Lavender Honey Glazed Baby Carrots and Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tart (
http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?cid=1&n1=14&n2=473#12607) and for Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing, she’ll be preparing her Signature Crab Cannelloni with Saffron Cream Sauce and Joe’s Favorite Meatloaf with Hawaiian Sweetbread Roll from the Hali’imaile General Store (more at http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?n1=14&n2=472&member=).
The ZAP Festival will include more than 200 Zinfandel-specialist wineries from all across California pouring their barrel samples and new releases for over 10,000 enthusiasts during three days at four separate events.  There will be silent auctions during three events – Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing, The Grand Zinfandel Tasting, and Evening with the Winemakers; proceeds support ZAP’s Heritage Vineyard projects.
Good Eats & Zinfandel Pairing takes place on January 28, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Fort Mason Center (Marina Blvd. at Buchanan, San Francisco 94123). Approximately 50 restaurants will pair with wineries. Tickets for non-ZAP members are $125; for ZAP members, $95. A list of the participants and matches can be found at
http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?n1=14&n2=472&member=. Some tickets may be available at the door, but it is recommended to buy tickets in advance. 
Chef Bev Gannon’s Crab Cannelloni with Saffron Cream Sauce, Chef Gannon’s Meatloaf With Hawaiian Sweetbread Roll, Filet Mignon Tartare, Curried Goat with Mango Chutney, Duck Strudel, Sweet Potato Timbale Filled With a Trio of Cheese, Wild Boar Sliders with Caramelized Red Onion Marmalade, Lamb Lollipops, “Great Balls of Fire” and more….Some of the Good Eats participants are Acorn Winery/Alegria Vineyards with Zin Restaurant & Bar; Alderbrook Winery; Artezin Wines with Knickerbockers’ Catering; B.R. Cohn Winery with Preferred Sonoma Caterers; Barefoot Cellars with Sonoma Cake Creations; Barefoot Cellars ‘2;’ Barnard Griffin Winery; Blaauwklippen Vineyards with Radio Africa Kitchen; D-Cubed Cellars; Deep Purple Winery; Dogwood Cellars; Dry Creek Vineyard with The Peasant & The Pear; Edmeades Winery; Four Vines Winery; Gnarly Head Cellars; Grgich Hills Estate; Guglielmo Winery; Hartford Family Winery; J. Rickards Winery & Vineyards; John Tyler; Klinker Brick Winery; Marr Cellars; Mounts Family Winery; Outpost Estate Wines with Mustard’s Grill; Murphy-Goode; Peachy Canyon Winery with Hali`imaile General Store; Peirano Estate Vineyards; R& B Cellars; Rancho Zabaco Winery; Ravenswood; Ridge Vineyards with Lark Creek Steak; Rockwall Wine Company with Angela’s Bistro; Rosenblum Cellars with Miss Pearl’s Jam House; Saddleback Cellars; Sausal Winery with EOS Restaurant & Wine Bar; Scott Harvey Wines; Sextant Wines; St. Amant Winey with A Chef For You; St. Francis Winery & Vineyard; Terra d’Oro-Trinchero Family Estates with Taste; Three Wine Company with Hali`imaile General Store; Tin Barn Vineyards; Van Ruiten Family Winery; Z-52.
Flights: A Showcase of Zinfandels, a seated tasting with in-depth seminars focusing on limited-production Zinfandels, takes place on January 29 from 10:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., at The InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel’s Peacock Court (1 Nob Hill, San Francisco, 94108, 415/392-3434). Topics will include the role of blending in the world of Zinfandel. Tickets for non-ZAP members are $80; for ZAP members, $65. Tickets are available only in advance and not at the door. Flights will focus on the history and heritage of Zinfandel, also delving into the latest Zinfandel trends and the timely topic on the art of blending. Five top Zinfandel winemakers will each present a quintessential Zinfandel: Eric Baugher (Ridge Vineyards), Matt Cline (Three Wine Company), Jeff Cohn (JC Cellars), Steve Hall (Robert Biale Vineyards) and Morgan Peterson (Bedrock Wine Company). Each panelist will also feature a proprietary Zinfandel-based red wine, blending other grapes with California’s heritage wine, to produce wine styles with flavors from casual to sophisticated. A buffet lunch will follow the tasting.

Evening With The Winemakers: A Benefit Live Auction & Dinner, takes place on January 29 beginning with a reception-tasting at 5:00 p.m., at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco (1 Nob Hill, San Francisco 94108, 415/392-3434). Tickets are $260 for non-members and $210 for ZAP members, available only in advance and not at the door. Participating wineries are Alderbrook Winery, Artezin Wines, Cakebread Cellars, Charter Oak Winery, D-Cubed Cellars, Dogwood Cellars, Edmeades Winery, Four Vines Winery, JR Wines, Mazzocco Winery, Peachy Canyon Winery, Ravenswood, Ridge Vineyards, Robert Biale Vineyards, Rosenblum Cellars, Saddleback Cellars, St. Francis Winery, Starry Night Winery, Terra d’Oro-Trinchero Family Estates and Three Wine Company. Continuing updates are at http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?n1=14&n2=473&member=
The reception will include the opportunity to taste, for the first time, the 2008 Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel (made from ZAP’s experimental vineyard by Tom Mackey of St. Francis Vineyards & Winery). Guests will then enjoy a feast prepared by ZAP’s celebrity chef, Beverly Gannon; guests are seated with a winemaker host at their table. Proceeds from the silent and live auctions benefit ZAP’s Heritage Projects, preserving the historical and viticultural significance of America’s heritage wine. 
The 19th Annual Grand Zinfandel Tasting takes place on January 30 from 2:00 until 5:00 p.m. at the Festival and Herbst Pavilions at Fort Mason (Marina Blvd. at Buchanan, San Francisco 94123). Tickets for non-ZAP members are $59; for ZAP members, $49. Over 200 wineries will pour their wines; a list of participating wineries can be found at
http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?n1=14&n2=474&member=. There will be a silent auction based at the Festival Pavilion from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., benefiting ZAP’s Heritage Projects. Participating wineries listed at http://www.zinfandel.org/default.asp?n1=14&n2=474&member=.
A ticket to all four events for a ZAP member is $419; for a non-member, $524. A VIP package (for 2) is available at $995—this consists of tickets to all events plus a number of additional benefits including a bottle of The Heritage Vineyard Zinfandel.
“The world of Zinfandel is full of surprises and out-of-the-box thinking,” says Rebecca Robinson, ZAP’s Executive Director. “Since Zinfandel lovers are always looking for new adventures, we anticipate that Chef Gannon’s headlining the Festival will energize wineries and attendees alike,” Ms. Robinson adds.
More about Ms. Gannon: bevgannonrestaurants.com.
Continuing updates on events as well as ticket purchasing at
Visit zinfandel.org, zinworld.org to join in the enormous online world of Zinfandel lore and socializing or join that conversation at Twitter (
http://twitter.com/ZinfandelOrg), Facebook (Facebook/ZAP-Zinfandel.
The Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is a non-profit, educational 501(c)(3) organization. ZAP is dedicated to advancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. Winegrowers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts combine to form the membership. The common focus is the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America’s heritage wine. ZAP’s membership includes approximately 300 winery-members, 6,000 advocate-members and 50 associate members.

Quivira Vineyards & Winery Ushers in a New Era

There are certain changes a Winery makes on a year to year basis that are transparent to consumers and don’t necessarily affect the wine that ends up on the shelf. And then there are changes that impact every aspect of an operation, from soup to nuts; bringing in a new winemaker is a wholesale change that can have a dramatic impact. Just about a year ago Quivira Vineyards and Winery brought aboard winemaker Hugh Chapelle. About a month ago I had the opportunity to Read The Whole Thing>>>

Wilson Winery – 2009 Sydney Vineyard Zinfandel

The Wilson Winery 2009 Sydney Vineyard Zinfandel was produced from fruit sourced at the wine’s namesake vineyard. This property which was planted in 1989 sits at an elevation of 1,500 feet. The Sydney Vineyard Zinfandel is a 100% varietal wine. Fruit was hand harvested and fermented in open top vessels with punchdowns three times a day. Aging took place in a combination of French and American oak over a period of 18 months. 540 cases were produced.Read The Whole Thing >>>