Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Holiday Gifts - II Dry Creek Valley

If you are so lucky as to live in the San Francisco Bay area, in less than two hours you can get to Healdsberg, jumping off point for the Dry Creek Valley, home to some of Sonoma 's best Zinfandel. This would make a fine day trip and a great opportunity to pick up some some outstanding Holiday gifts. Alternatively you can fly into Santa Rosa on Alaska Airlines and check a case of wine for free!

Here are three wineries where you can't lose - Mazzocco, Quivera, and Gustafson. Mazzocco offers Zins from more than half a dozen different vineyards at about $30, each one a little different from the others and all excellent. This is a great opportunity to get a sense of terroir. A selection of  Zins from each of six vineyards would make a sensational gift for your wine loving friend or family member and, of course, they will have to invite you to the comparison tasting.

At Quivira there was not a bad one in the bunch. They all got a "swallow", like one star. Of the '07 Zinfandel, '08 Grenache, '07 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, '07 Syrah Hommage a Ampuis, and '07 Mourvedre, we liked the Zin the best. It is the quintessential Zin, full of fruit, but not forward and in you face and very drinakable now, even though it has enough soft tannins to age a few years. At $20, it could be your gift for every adult on your list.

Far above Lake Sonoma is almost unmarked Gustafson winery, home to many remarkable wines. The 2008 Estate Mountain Cuvee Zinfandel is a smooth, easy, friendly wine at only $18. The 2006 Mountain Cuvee is the big brother to the '08 but still smooth and balanced. The 2007 Estate Petite Sirah is an amazingly rich "Two Swallow" wine full of spice and dark fruit. The 2007 Estate Zinfandel was our favorite with its big briary flavors and backbone of soft tannin. Delicious now, it will definitely improve with several years of ageing.

Okay, so you don't like Zin, then go to Michel Schlumberger where you will sit down to an elegant tasting of the whole range of varietals. We particularly liked some of the Cabs and thought the fabulously cherry flavored 2007 Mobius Malbec was a steal at $22. Unfortunately, only 25 cases were made.

Lucky you, you get to travel one of the wine roads less traveled and come up with great gifts that will wow your friends at reasonable prices for you.

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