Dry Creek Valley (AVA)
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Dry Creek Valley embodies the trends and dichotomies in California wine since the current boom began in the early 1980s. The valley remains a rural setting for small family wineries, yet at the same time it has become home to the Sonoma wing of Gallo, one of the biggest and most industrialized wine producers on earth. Zinfandel was the valley’s top red grape a century ago, and its return to prominence during the last 20 years has put Dry Creek Valley back in the limelight. Only Amador County in the Sierra Foothills is as closely identified with red Zin as Dry Creek Valley is today. (Sauvignon Blanc is the valley’s signature white grape.) Water increasingly rules California’s environmental and agricultural politics, and Dry Creek’s western end is anchored by “Lake Sonoma” -- a reservoir created to ensure a steady supply of fresh water for the vineyards downstream. Finally, Dry Creek Valley is feeling the power of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, the unchallenged ruler and rising star, respectively, of California wine. Both are growing in acreage as Zinfandel peaks. What will the next century bring?

~ Thom Elkjer, Regional Editor

Current Feature

Besides legendary Zinfandel, Amador County has taken to Rhone, Italian and Iberian variety wines with laudable results. Now the Amador 4 Fires brings the foods of those regions to an open flame to explore a total experience  [>] continue

Appellation Features

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Zinfandel: Zinfandel...You’re a master of disguise. Who is that masked man known as ZIN? You hide behind a mask  [>] continue


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Featured Wines

Dashe Cellars 2006 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley A superb example of Dry Creek Valley zinfandel, showing black raspberry fruit, chocolate and clove spice. Mouthfilling and velvety.
buy wine $24.00

Ty Caton Vineyards 2004 Merlot A rich, smooth texture with fruit flavors of cherries and blueberry leading to a vanilla and toasty oak finish.
buy wine $37.00

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Winery sponsors of Appellation America’s coverage of the Dry Creek Valley appellation.