Monday, May 4, 2015

Quivira Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2012 Sonoma County

The portion of Sonoma County known as Dry Creek Valley may sound like a parched, sun-baked no-man's land, but it wears that name as a disguise. It's a great place to grow grapes.

The 2012 growing season in Dry Creek Valley allowed for slow and even ripening. Nobody ever brags about fast, uneven ripening. You get that a lot in some other parts of California, but Dry Creek Valley gets to do a lot of bragging about their special climate. It's a warm part of the county, to be sure. They do like their slow, even ripening, though.

The grapes for this wine came from Quivira Vineyards' three estate vineyards, which all follow organic and biodynamic farming practices. The grapes from Anderson Ranch Vineyard provide red fruit to the mix, the ones from Wine Creek Ranch Vineyard add structure and spice while fruit from Goat Trek vineyard account for concentration and tannin. Fruit was also sourced from other local growers.

Winemaker Hugh Chappelle vinified the lots separately, which were aged in French, American and Hungarian oak , 20% of it new, with medium toast to allow the terroir to speak freely. The alcohol hits a hearty 14.5% abv and the wine retails for $22. It is 89% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah and 1% Carignane, and these spicy varieties play very well together. 11,475 cases were produced. Chappelle says, "Dramaless years are rare for winegrowers, so we welcomed 2012 with open arms in Dry Creek Valley."

The Quivira Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2012 appears inky, so much so I can't see light through it. The nose displays beautiful blueberry, pepper, tobacco and a hint of vanilla. The palate is just as comely, with gorgeous fruit represented by juicy blackberry and plum colored by savory streaks of cinnamon, chicory and clove. The wine boasts great structure and acidity.

Quivira Zinfandel is made to pair with meat dishes - anything hot off the grill will do - with pasta Bolognese running a close second. If you have some left at dessert, try it with dark chocolate. OMG.

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