Winecation - Dry Creek Valley

The Dry Creek Valley is best known for its Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. We had visited there a few years ago and thought it was one of the loveliest places on Earth and wanted to visit again. I also wanted to visit the Raymund Burr winery which we had seen from the road on our last trip.

Our first stop was at Mauritson Wines.  We saw on their sign that they were already open and thought: Why not?  We found an American Express card in the parking lot and turned in just as the staff hung up the phone on the person who lost it.  So they called her right back with the good news.
Another one of those "its a small world" coincidences happened here too.  Our pourer's sister just started working at Keswick's tasting room down near Charlottesville.  We tasted Mauritson's Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rose, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon.   We also were able to taste their Rockpile Malbec ($41).  This Malbec is from a vineyard in the Rockpile AVA. just north of the Dry Creek AVA.

We next stopped at Passalacqua Winery.  We had intended to visit Dry Creek Winery but they were closed on New Year's Eve.  Passalacqua is literally across the street.  We wound up tasting the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 Chardonnay, 2010 Estate Zinfandel, 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel, and a red blend called Radice ($56).

We had a coupon for a two for one tasting at Family Wineries Tasting Room.  This is a cooperative tasting room in the Dry Creek Valley with six local, family-owned wineries. Participating wineries include Collier Falls Vineyards, Dashe Cellars, Forth Vineyards, Lago di Merlo Winery and Vineyards, Mietz Cellars and Philip Staley. Many varietal and blended wines are available for tasting.  We really liked this tasting room.  It is rustic, but the wines we tasted were quite good.  The Collier Falls 2007 Zinfandel Private Reserve was outstanding. The tasting room also has a wide selection of gourmet grocery items like olive oils, mustards, and wine-infused chocolate sauces
Next, we stopped at a place I have wanted to visit since our last trip a few years ago.  The Raymund Burr Vineyards
Yes, the famous TV and movie actor also was a farmer.  He and his partner, Robert Benevides,  eventually planted a vineyard and made wine.  The winery is still making wines today.  Tastings are complimentary. 
The tasting room is filled with Raymund Burr memorabilia and awards.  Raymond Burr makes two Chardonnays, one oaked and one unoaked.  They make four reds:  A Cabernet Franc, a Cabernet sauvignon, A Bordeaux-style blend, and a Port.  The Port is not tasted as it is made in small quantities from the traditional Port grapes. 
Our last stop in the Dry Creek area for this day was Pedroncelli Winery.  Pedroncelli is multi-generational family winery in the Dry Creek Valley making the wines one usually finds in the Dry Creek AVA:  Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Zinfandel (several), Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.  They also grow four of the traditional Port grapes to mke their outstanding 4 Grapes Vintage Port ($19).  We really enjoyed the Port and purchased a bottle.

That was it for this Dry Creek Valley day trip.  I will leave you some views of the Sonoma Valley from the local casino.

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