Two Sonoma County Wineries to Check Out



By Kori ~ April 1st, 2009.

Recently, I had the opportunity to try several wines from two Sonoma County wineries located in Healdsburg, California. Dry Creek Vineyard and Simi Winery are both worth checking out. They produce good quality wines across the board.

For those of us that drink wine virtually every day, it is not economical (nor necessary) to spend over $30 per bottle for everyday wines. The key is to determine varietals and styles that you enjoy, from brands that you can trust for consistency, at prices that you can afford on a daily basis, and that are widely available. If you haven’t had many Sonoma County wines but would like to explore the region, either Dry Creek Vineyard or Simi Winery would be a good place to start. All seven wines mentioned below retail for $25 or less.
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Dry Creek Vineyard

David Stare, Don Wallace, and Kim Stare Wallace of Dry Creek VineyardDry Creek Vineyard, founded in 1972 by David Stare, is located in the heart of Dry Creek Valley just outside of Healdsburg. Well-known for their Fumé Blancs and Zinfandels, Dry Creek Vineyard also produces a number of other good wines including Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc. And best of all, they deliver serious bang-for-your-buck. “A great wine at a fair price” was founder David Stare’s mantra, and the family continues to uphold this philosophy. Today Dry Creek Vineyard is run by David’s daughter Kim Stare Wallace and her husband Don. I had the pleasure to meet Kim at the Wine Bloggers Conference last fall. She is a blogger herself, writing very witty and entertaining posts from the perspective of a wine industry insider on Wilma’s Wine World.

2005 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Dry Creek Valley, California): Dark purple. Beautiful bouquet of cassis and black fruits. Black currant and baker’s chocolate come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with medium tannins and a very long finish. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $23; Available elsewhere, $17 to $29

2007 Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Chenin Blanc (Clarksburg, California): Pale greenish yellow. Very aromatic. Aromas and flavors of lime and lemon. Light-bodied and lively with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $12; Available elsewhere, $10 to $17

2007 Dry Creek Vineyard Fumé Blanc (Sonoma County, California): Pale straw yellow with floral aromas. Grapefruit and grass come through on the palate. Light-bodied and crisp with a long finish. This is a unoaked Sauvignon Blanc.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14.50; Available elsewhere, $11 to $16

2006 Dry Creek Vineyard Heritage Zinfandel (Sonoma County, California): Raspberry aromas fade a bit on the palate. Medium-bodied and medium, drying tannins. Spicy and crisp with a very long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $17; Available elsewhere, $14 to $25
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Simi Winery

Simi WinesSimi Winery, founded in 1876 by brothers Giuseppe and Pietro Simi, is also located in Healdsburg. The Simi brothers were originally from Tuscany, Italy, and moved to California during the Gold Rush. After they passed away, Giuseppe’s daughter Isabelle took over management of the winery. She retired in 1970 and sold the winery. Simi is now part of Constellation Brands and marketed by Icon Estates. California native Steve Reeder has been the head winemaker since 2003.

2005 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley, California): Deep purple. Aromas of licorice and oak lead to flavors of dark chocolate and black currant. Extremely dry and smoky. A big, bold wine that should soften with some age.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $25; Available elsewhere, $17 to 27

2007 Simi Chardonnay (Sonoma County, California): Greenish yellow with aromas of apples, pears, and just a hint of oak. Light to medium-bodied with lively acidity. Tinny flavors as well as pear and vanilla come through on the palate. Smooth.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $18; Available elsewhere, $14 to $21

2006 Simi Zinfandel (Sonoma County, California): A bit tight on the nose at first. Medium-bodied with medium, dry tannins. Spicy black fruit flavors. Well-balanced with a very long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $20; Available elsewhere, $14 to $19


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, White Wine, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25, Zinfandel

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