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December 16, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

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2014 DCV Estate Block10 Chardonnay Picmonkey

2015 DCV Estate Block 10 Chardonnay


Dry Creek Vineyard

Russian River Valley

Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $32

TASTE has reviewed quite a few wines from the Dry Creek Valley, many of them made by Dry Creek Vineyard. This winery is best known for its wines made from Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel grapes, which thrive in the relatively warm climate of the Dry Creek Valley. Still in Sonoma County, but westward and closer to the sea is the Russian River Valley. The environment here is more suited to grape varieties native to the cooler climes of Burgundy; specifically, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

“Both Dry Creek Valley and the Russian River Valley have AVA status, which is shorthand for “American Viticultural Area.” Every AVA is government-certified as having unique qualities that differentiate it from other growing regions. At times these can seem like ‘hair-splitting’ differences and it has been suggested that some AVAs are sought by the wine industry primarily as marketing tools for their products. But in the case of the Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys, the differences are substantial. Both are time-honored growing regions. Neither is ‘better’ than the other. Each is just better suited to different varieties.

“In the case of this week’s ‘Pick’ it’s obvious why Dry Creek Vineyard has chosen to use grapes from their Estate Block vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The wine has lovely balance, with aromas ranging from Bosc pear to Granny Smith apple, with subtle hints of nutmeg in the background. There’s also some toastiness from the barrel aging in French oak. We find a full feeling in the mouth (texture actually can be a big part of a wine’s taste), but it isn’t too heavy or ponderous. It tends toward elegance, rather than heft.”

Food Affinity: “Scallops in brown butter, topped with a sprinkling of ground hazelnuts.”


Editor’s Note:   Wines reviewed in Taste CaliforniaTravel are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be those sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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