Bordeaux Wine in the Dry Creek Valley

Bordeaux wines produced by Dry Creek Vineyard prove that our valley may well be California’s undiscovered Cabernet country. Primarily known for Zinfandel, the valley has nearly as many acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Dry Creek Valley has contributed significantly to the blends of many well-known Cabernets from Napa and Sonoma. The unique terroir of our region contributes greatly to the flavor profile of Cabernet Sauvignon. The more distinctive aspects of the Dry Creek Valley appellation are:

  • The climate is moderately warm and semi arid, providing a long growing season on well-drained and varied types of soil with low fertility.
  • There is a textural nuance to the Cabernet Sauvignon—the fruit is focused and substantial without being overpowering.
  • Our Cabernet wines are balanced and refined. More Bordeaux-like in structure, body and complexity.
  • The iron rich soils of the western hills are thin and rocky creating a stressed environment in which to grow grapes. Many of the vineyards rise from the valley floor to more than 1,000 feet in elevation.

The profile leans to the earthy and dusty side of Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright red fruits, potpourri and dried herbs (like rosemary and lavender) are among the more common aromatics and flavors.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Dry Creek Valley

Given the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon wine inherent in the valley, with the 2002 vintage we moved our entire production of Bordeaux varieties to 100% Dry Creek Valley appellation fruit. This required a significant investment both in the vineyard and cellar. One of the major decisions that resulted from our shift to the Dry Creek Valley appellation was selling our prime Alexander Valley vineyard. We invested heavily in replanting several key vineyards near the winery and retooled our barrel program to match the profile that Dry Creek Valley grapes provide. Finally, production was lowered to ensure the highest quality Cabernet wine goes into each bottle of Dry Creek Vineyard wine.

Today, our commitment to our home appellation has been fully realized. The wines are better than ever and express a uniqueness that sets them apart. We proudly tell the Dry Creek Valley story when we visit cities across the country. As the flagship winery of the valley, we are one of just a few wineries producing a 100% appellation Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Each of these wines represents a new era in our Bordeaux program and we are excited about future vintages.

Endeavour Cabernet Sauvignon

Dry Creek Valley

Not satisfied to rest on our laurels, we are constantly looking to improve our Cabernet Sauvignon. Starting with the 1997 vintage, we have crafted an exquisite wine named Endeavour. 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 Dry Creek Valley, 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 come.


Dry Creek Valley

Another wine near and dear to our hearts is Meritage, a wine with an exclusive designation for blended reserve-style wines comprised of the noble Bordeaux varietals.

The term “Meritage”, coined by the Meritage Alliance 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 founding member 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 1972.

The Mariner

Dry Creek Valley

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 ownership. 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. It is then 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.