A Bottle And A Book: Two Christmas Wines From Dry Creek Vineyard

After giving considerable thought to the matter, I have decided that one of the best Christmas presents that anyone could give this year would be a bottle of good wine accompanied by an equally good book, and I have two recommendations that I think make perfect pairings.

Dry Creek Vineyard has long been one of my favorite wineries, not least because its owners, the Stare family, continue to produce extraordinary wines at reasonable prices. In this review I am going to describe two of the winery’s excellent red wines, and since the Stare family is passionate about sailing – as evidenced by the labels on Dry Creek Vineyard wines – I thought it would be fitting to match them with two books possessing sea-faring themes.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 Sonoma County Meritage ($30) is blended Bordeaux-style from 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc, 14% Malbec, and 6% Petit Verdot. The result of this skillful crafting is an uncommonly elegant wine with enticing aromas of dark fruit, pepper, and spice which precede perfectly balanced currant, black cherry, and plum flavors accompanied by notes of spice and toasty oak that are supported by supple tannins and close in a long, polished finish.

The book that I have selected to complement Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 Meritage is appropriately exciting and stylishly written: “In the South Seas,” by Robert Louis Stevenson. This work chronicles Stevenson’s adventures during the course of his two-year sailing journey from the Marqueses Islands to Tahiti, and then on to Hawaii and Samoa.

Given the context of this review, it is decidedly apposite that I should call Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 Endeavor ($65) the winery’s flagship bottling. Made principally (91%) from Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the finest blocks in the winery’s Endeavor Vineyard, located in the Lytton Springs district of Dry Creek Valley, this wine has an impressive array of dark plum, cedar, blackberry, mocha, and cherry aromas that lead to beautifully orchestrated black cherry, plum, and cranberry flavors complicated by hints of cocoa, mineral, spice, earth, and oak that are supported by firm but approachable tannins and which close in an extended, richly flavorful finish.

A wine with as much complexity, depth, and power as Dry Creek Vineyard 2008 Endeavor deserves to be matched with a book possessing an equal measure of the same rare qualities, and I know the perfect choice – “Moby Dick,” by Herman Melville. This novel is both an epic sea story and one of the great books in the history of world literature.

The Pequod

Here, then, is my wish for this holiday season: May we all enjoy good wine, good books, and a very Merry Christmas.

Some of the vineyards of Dry Creek Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley

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