Had an excellent wine adventure in Santa Cruz and now it was time for a weekend in Sonoma. Since I would spend a couple of days doing the Pinot passport in Russian River, I decided to spend Friday afternoon touring Dry Creek Valley which is slightly north of Russian River.

Again it was a beautiful day whenI started the tasting tour at Rafanelli Winery which is known for their Zinfandel. They poured three outstanding wines. Their 2010 Zinfandel DCV was black with a sweet, dusty plum nose, chunky but not jammy with moderate structure at the finish. The 2009 Merlot DCV was black and brambly with chewy concentrated fruit and good structure on the long finish with a touch of heat peaking through. The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon DCV was black with a nose of oak and black plums, chewy concentrated fruit without being jammy with good structre on the finish. Very tasty wines.

Next stop was Martorana Winery, a small family winery and the winemaker was doing the pouring duty in the tasting room this day. He  poured wines made from Dry Creek fruit as well as from Alexander Valley fruit. The 2007 Alexander Valley Zinfandel was dark red with black cherries on the nose with good, but not jammy fruit and good balance. The 2006 Merlot DCV was dark red with blueberries on the nose and good concentration of fruit. The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon DCV was dark red to black in color with chocolate and mint on the nose, good structure with mouth coating tannins on the finish.

The drive to the tasting room at Mounts Family Winery took me through beautiful rolling hills surrounded by vines and the workers tending them. I started the tasting with their 2010 Viognier which had a bouquet of canned peaches with creamy, full fruit. Their 2009 Old Vines Zinfandel DCV was dark violet to black with a nose of black plums, very concentrated, great balance and menthol on the long finish. Their 2008 Petite Sirah DCV was black with a nose of toasty blackberries, very chunky with a nice mouthful of tannins on the long finish.

At Zichetti Winery the 2008 Estate Zinfandel which is made from vines planted in the 1960’s was dark and concentrated with notes of black licorice on the long finish. I tried a barrel sample of their 2011 Estate Zinfandel and what was unusual was getting peaches and apricots on the nose with some peach notes on the finish.

At Passalacqua Winery their 2009 Estate Zinfandel had a closed nose with velvety fruit and a long finish was some crisp acids.

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