Browse Tag

dry creek valley

Louvau riche

Dashe 2012 Zinfandel Louvau “Old Vines” (Dry Creek Valley) — Big, bold, fruity, young. So very young. Nothings resolved here; it’s just a delicious cacophony. (7/16)

Lytton foundation

[lytton springs]Ridge 1995 Lytton Springs (Dry Creek Valley) — While this site doesn’t produce the most graceful or complex of Ridge’s zin-heavy blends, it certainly remains the most stubborn among them. It’s the wine that makes one think, “I would have guessed it’s younger than that,” time and time again. Moreover, it often absorbs the perfumed oak that lays like dense humidity over wines like Geyserville, leaving the strong-willed fruit to do the enduring. So while there’s certainly been development towards the leathery oldberry character that is so often Lytton’s signature, the wine seems nowhere near senescence…and I would, indeed, have guessed it ten years younger than it really is. (4/16)

Waterless bed

Dashe 2006 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley) – Muscular, but its structure is just beginning to turn graphite-like, which makes the wine feel a bit lighter than it actually is. And it’s not light. Dark boysenberry and olallieberry, little shocks of black dirt and peppercorn, and a pleasant leafiness somewhere in the foundation; this is very confident zinfandel. (7/12)

Lytton around

Ridge 2006 Lytton Springs (Dry Creek Valley) – 80% zinfandel, 16% petite sirah, 4% carignan, 14.7% alcohol. For me, Lytton Springs is often the most difficult of the mainline Ridge zins to enjoy young, just because it’s so structured and muscular. So that this is drinking so spectacularly despite both those qualities being in firm evidence is more than a bit of a surprise. In fact, this is about the most exquisitely balanced young Lytton I’ve tasted, and even the youthful oak potpourri is restrained and elegant. Does this mean that the wine won’t age as long as some of the Lytton classics that have had their maturities measured in decades rather than years? The back label essay suggests it won’t, but it’s so enjoyable on the earlier side that I don’t think many will mind, as long as it’s not indicative of a trend away from the beautiful, long-aging wines of the past. (8/11)

-ing to and fro’

Dashe 2007 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley) – Dark little berries, each one offering a tiny explosion of slightly tannic fruit, in a twisted-vine broth of surprising structural lightness; the overall effect is thus one of heft without overt density, of strength without force. Aside from a little dusting of black pepper, it lacks the further complexities one expects from the very best zinfandels, but it delivers everything – fruit, acid, just enough structure – one wants from the grape, without the baggage of booze and volatility that so often hitchhikes. I think it will age for a few years, if one is so-inclined. (9/10)


Havens 2004 Syrah “MJ” (Dry Creek Valley) – Glancing at the label rather than actually reading the text, this looks like an Unti wine, which threw me a bit until I got my hands on the bottle. 14.5% alcohol. It’s syrah, all right, and New World syrah at that. And it’s tasty enough, getting pretty quickly to the leathery dark berry portion of the evening’s entertainment. Complexity? No, not really. But as a quaffer, it’s quite nice. (11/10)


Hobo 2008 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Vallley) – 14.7%. Grainy and fuzzy, its (decent enough) black fruit and strappy, faux-leather structure clenched into a pixilated fist. On the other hand, it’s not really worth that level of verbiage. It’s fruity with some structure. A little dark. (8/10)

Lytton tea

Ridge 2006 Lytton Springs (Dry Creek Valley) – I taste each new vintage of Ridge’s flagship zinfandels with an increasing sense of despair. Not because the wines are bad – they’re not, though there is the occasional vintage-by-vintage failure – but because they’ve become so anonymously tiring. Here we have bubblegummy fruit (not fully grenache-like, but still), coconut, toast, and a ton of obvious alcohol. Nothing to set it apart from dozens of other reasonable-quality zinfandels from the appellation. Where’s the singular character? Where’s the structure? Yes, this is a very young wine from a site that usually demands extended (for zinfandel) aging, but this is not the Lytton Springs of old in quality or character. (5/10)

100 meter

Dashe 2002 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley) – 14.5%. About 50% there, which means that while the coconut and tannin are still hanging about, the suppler, spicier fruit of aged zin is starting to emerge. What this means in terms of drinkability, unfortunately, is that the pose is that of a somewhat gangly teenager. Wait a bit longer. (1/10)