30 Second Wine Advisor: In This Issue

Our unexpected "vacation"
A Zin from Dry Creek
Dry Creek Vineyard 1999 Old Vines Zinfandel

Our unexpected "vacation"

Those of you who tried to visit WineLoversPage.com since Wednesday afternoon may have noticed that we were offline for most of the past couple of days. It was one of those bad-computer days on the WineLovers ranch, and I apologize for the downtime. As it turned out, we had to replace our Web server's operating system completely.

Thankfully, we routinely back up the entire site on tape, so we were able to restore just about all articles and files, including the full Wine Advisor archives.

Unfortunately, however, some material received between Wednesday morning and about midday today was lost. Specifically, if any of you tried to subscribe or enter an administrative change during that period - such as change of E-mail address or subscription frequency - or if you sent a comment or question using our Ask A Question feature, those requests were lost. If you don't get an answer to your question, or if it appears that your administrative change requests didn't go through, please try again.

We're glad to be back!

A Zin from Dry Creek

One good way to start a jovial debate among lovers of Zinfandel is to ask which California region presents this grape in its finest form. Amador County and the rest of the Sierra foothills region gain points on history alone, and Napa and Sonoma are always contenders; more southerly regions like Paso Robles have their partisans, too.

But to my tastes, it's hard to beat the Zinfandels from Dry Creek Valley, a sere and scenic tributary of the Russian River in Northern Sonoma above the village of Healdsburg.

While Dry Creek Zinfandels may not show the exuberant, almost over-the-top fruitiness of some Zins, the best ones make up for that with balance and even elegance - terms that you don't always hear applied to this popular variety. Today's featured wine is a fine example, a sturdy red from the winery that bears the region's name, grown in a historic vineyard (the property has been under vine for more than a century, the winery says, with most vines over 50 years old).

Wine maker David Stare, who founded the winery in 1972 as Dry Creek's first producer since Prohibition, is also a sailing fanatic, and his wine labels showing sailing craft with billowing sails reflect that passion.

Dry Creek Dry Creek Vineyard 1999 Old Vines Zinfandel ($17.99)

Very dark reddish-purple. Mixed berry aromas and a distinctly smoky aroma lead into full and juicy Zinfandel fruit, fresh and bright; a rather high alcohol content shows in its full texture and warmth. Not a cheap wine, but with the prices of many single-vineyard Zins rising into the $20s and above, this one is more than competitive for quality and value at its high-teens price point. (Feb. 11, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: Zinfandel is perfect with a grilled steak, but I try something more off-the-wall for this evening's dinner match and find the wine's big fruit and bright acidity work very well indeed with a fusion of India's Punjab and Northern Italy: Mustard greens and spinach with aromatic Indian spices served over creamy, comforting polenta;

WEB LINK: Dry Creek Vineyard's Website is at http://www.drycreekvineyard.com/, and there's a fact sheet on the 1999 Old Vines Zinfandel at http://www.drycreekvineyard.com/zin_ovstats.html.


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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Friday, Feb. 15, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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