Dry Creek Vineyard Review
Address: 3770 Lambert Bridge Rd. Healdsburg,California 95448.
Tasting Hours: 10:30-4:30 and by appt.
Region: Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley AVA, California
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Review Date: 3/20/2012
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
If youre eager to start your wine tasting early in the day, Dry Creek Winery is a good place to start. This Dry Creek Valley original evokes a feeling of old time California winemaking in a friendly, comfortable facility with wines that are respectable enough to serve at a major movie award ceremony.
The Place:  The ivy-covered gray sandstone building was built for $150,000 in 1973; a plaque in the tasting room gives testament to the effort and pride in constructing the facility 40 years ago, although minor and major remodels have been completed in the past few decades; most recently in 2011. A French tile roof and flagstone tasting room floor add character and provide a homey ambiance that reflects the family ownership. The cozy but spacious barrel room is flanked by fresh-looking 2,000-gallon barrels of French, Yugoslavian and American oak. The noticeable presence of nautical artwork that adorns the tasting room and wine bottles reflects the owners longtime passion with the sport of sailing and their dedication to Americas nautical heritage.
The Experience:  Founded in the early 1970s by David Stare, the business was passed on to daughter Kim and her husband Don Wallace, who remain active in both the ownership and the hosting of wine club events. We arrived at the tasting room toward the end of the day, and while this afforded a quieter and more intimate tasting, we were also encouraged multiple times to join their wine club. Was there a quota to fill, or is the Wine Club not to be missed? Club members are invited to regular events: a Summer Zin party, a lobster feed at the owners ranch house, a Passport weekend, holiday dinners, and even a sailing party. If you are able to escape club membership, you can still enjoy lunch in their grassy picnic area.
The Wines:  Dry Creek produced the first Sauvignon Blanc in the valley, and it remains one of their staples, although the 2009 Estate blend is currently sold out. All Zinfandels are blended with Petite Syrah, which enhances bright raspberry and black cherry flavors with peppery overtones. We took home a tasty 2008 Old Vine Zin ($28.00 and 91 point Wine Spectator rating). Winemaker Tim Bell, formerly with Kunde and Freemark Abbey, joined the family in 2011. Tim hosts Spreecast, a live interactive video tasting that lets up to four people at a time facechat on screen, while viewers comment and participate by submitting questions (also only available to club members).
Insiders Tip:  Dry Creek wines have been served at several Screen Actors Guild award ceremonies check out the photo display of Kim Stare Wallace with stars like Viola Davis, Tom Cruise, and Morgan Freeman that proudly adorn the tasting room. Missed the SAG awards? You can buy a 1.5 liter 2008 SAG Awards Cuvéefor $125.00.