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Wine of the Week – Dry Creek Vineyards the Mariner 2011- $45

Dwight Casimere | 10/8/2014, 6:25 p.m.
Sonoma, CA--It's fall. That means its time to write about one of my all time favorites red blends, Dry Creek ...

Sonoma, CA--It's fall. That means its time to write about one of my all time favorites red blends, Dry Creek Vineyards The Mariner. The 2011 vintage is out at $45 a bottle, and early indications are that this is a terrific wine for drinking now, but it also has aging potential over the next decade or more. Some of the online stores are already knocking the price down to $38, even $36 a bottle. If so, buy a case and save some for the holidays. By all means indulge yourself with a couple of bottles now. The Mariner is a Bordeaux-inspired blend with 51% Cabernet 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The grapes all come from the winery's most prized estate vineyards in the famous Dry Creek Valley for which the winery is named. The wine was fermented for an average of 20 days and pumped over twice daily before aging 20 months in French oak, 40% of which is new. With a bracing 13.5% alcohol content, the wine has plenty of body and structure. On to the most important part, the flavor. What you see when you first pour it in the glass is a hint at what treasures await. Aromas of ripe cherries and Herbs de Provence practically leap from the glass. Wait a while and the second wave of tarragon, Earl Grey tea and hints of blueberry pie begins to waft from the rim of the glass. Subtle notes of Bing cherries and an afterthought of Asian plum round out the flavors as soft tannins lead to a long, supple finish. This is a terrific meditation wine, but it really shines with food. Go out and buy that $28 a pound Dry Aged steak at Whole Foods. You deserve it and so does The Mariner. This is an exquisite wine that is well worth the money. 1The 2006 Mariner exudes the qualities of a fine Bordeaux. At first swirl, this wine presents a beautiful mix of bright cherry, chocolate, and cassis elements framed by subtle notes of vanilla bean and coffee. On the palate, this classic blend comes together with fine tannins that support the dense fruit and structure of this Full-bodied wine. With more airing, hints of rose petal and earthy nuances provide balance, grace, and finesse. A long and memorable finish proves that this delicious young wine will age for at least a decade or more.