Dry Creek Valley may well be California’s
undiscovered Cabernet country. Well known
for our Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, Dry
Creek Valley actually has more acreage of
Cabernet Sauvignon planted than any other
varietal. A little known fact is that the
Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Dry Creek
Valley has contributed significantly to the
blends of many well-known Cabernets from the
Napa and Sonoma Valleys. In addition, the
unique terroir of our region
contributes greatly to the flavor profile of
Among the more distinctive aspects of the Dry Creek Valley appellation
The Dry Creek
Valley is among the best growing sites for producing quality
Cabernet Sauvignon. Most notable is the climate, which is
moderately warm, semi-arid and provides a long growing season on
well-drained and varied types of soil with low fertility.
There is a
textural difference to the Cabernet Sauvignon—the fruit is more
focused and substantial without being overpowering.
The wines tend to
be balanced and refined—more Bordeaux-like in structure, body and
The tannins tend
to be substantial, promoting wines that are age worthy.
profiles lean to the earthy, dusty side. Chocolate, cherries,
blackberries and dried herbs (like rosemary and lavender) are among
the more common flavors.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
Given the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon
inherent in the valley, in 2002 we moved the
bulk of our production of the Bordeaux
varieties to the Dry Creek Valley
appellation. The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
was our first with a Dry Creek Valley
designation on the label. Along with the
2003 Dry Creek ValleyMerlot,
each wine represents a new area in our
Bordeaux program. A delicious bouquet of
flavors are evident including dark cherry,
cassis and creamy nuances that make them
Both of these wines represent a new era in our
Bordeaux program. Each shows off its
varietal character and origins perfectly.
These are rich, substantial wines that are
also smooth and very food-friendly.
Not satisfied to rest on our laurels, we are
constantly looking to improve. Starting with
the 1997 vintage, we now craft a wine named
It is the ultimate expression of Cabernet
Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley. We combed
the region for five years searching for a
site that would deliver top notch Cabernet
before finding the ideal, bowl-shaped
parcel. The Endeavour vineyard, located in
the Southeast corner of
is perfectly suited to grow fine Cabernet.
Soil composition, climate and vineyard
development and management all play a key
role in producing this exclusive wine.
Endeavour Cabernet is quickly becoming a
wine that will define us for generations to
Another wine near and dear to our hearts is
a wine with an exclusive designation for
blended reserve-style wines comprised of the
noble Bordeaux varietals.
The term, coined by the
in 1988, comes from a combination of the words “merit”
and “heritage.” “Merit” suggests that the
wine is especially fine, providing top
quality in the ultra-premium category.
“Heritage” refers to the venerable
Bordeaux tradition of blending complementary
grapes to create gracefully balanced wines.
We were a
of the association in 1988 and are
recognized as the first to use the term on
our 1985 vintage Meritage.
Winery founder David Stare has long
advocated the advantages of traditional
Bordeaux-style blending and was among
California’s first vintners to plant Merlot
and Cabernet Franc for blending. More
recently, we have added Petit Verdot and
Malbec to our vineyards in Dry Creek Valley.
As further evidence of our commitment to the
art of blending, we are proud to acknowledge
that we have not made a Cabernet Sauvignon
without the enhancement of these traditional
blending grapes since our first vintage in
Beginning with the 2004 vintage, our family
winery upped the ante again with a new
proprietary blend called The Mariner.
This delicious Bordeaux-style wine is the
vision of the second generation of family
The Mariner is crafted from our
finest hillside vineyards in the Dry Creek
Valley. Each lot is hand harvested and aged
as separate components for 9 months in
French oak. Our winemaking team then
carefully scrutinizes and tastes each
component for flavor development and overall
character. Then, a blend is crafted using
Cabernet and Merlot as a base with Petit
Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc used as
the “seasoning to the soup.” The final
blend is put back into French oak for an
additional 12 months of aging. The finished
wine is aged
for at least 6 months prior to release.
The Mariner is our premier Cuvée and our
finest expression of Meritage from what is
truly winemaker’s art.
May 2009, Meritage Alliance
(formerly Meritage Association) video with
Kim Stare Wallace (Vice President of Dry Creek Vineyard and
Chairman of the Meritage Alliance) and Charlie Palmer
(Celebrity Chef and Restaurateur) defining what Meritage
wine is and what distinguishes a Meritage wine.