Over the past week or so, I had the chance to taste a few reasonably priced CA offerings from Sonoma Valley.  Sonoma often gets lost in the shadow of it’s more notable sister, Napa, but the wines of Sonoma can be every bit as good.  Many times, given that they are much less costly, they provide tremendous value. 
2006 Dry Creek Vineyard Meritage
A “Meritage” is a wine comprised of several grapes, blended in the style of right bank Bordeaux. The Dry Creek Meritage is traditionally more Merlot than anything else, but as many as five grapes contribute to the final blend of the wine.  The Dry Creek Vineyard Meritage is always a solid value, and this one was no exception. While not as concentrated as the 2005 and 2007, the 2006  displays pretty aromas of berries, toasty oak, and a slight mintyness.  In the mouth the wine is juicy, balanced, and medium bodied with nice acidity that gives the wine a good structure. Flavors follow the nose and there’s an undertone of  minerality  that I often notice in Sonoma wines.  Dry Creek is consistently one of my favorite wineries for value wine.  90 points, about $17.  Find out more about Dry Creek here:  www.drycreekvineyard.com

2006 Dry Creek Vineyard Meritage
2008 Hess Allomi Cabernet
From the long time Napa producer comes this wonderful wine of exceptional value.  This was given to me blind, after the bottle had been opened the night before.  The nose is redolent of black berry fruit, with a jammy toasty accent. There’s new leather, and a slight olivey tone which is very nice.  In the mouth, the wine is full bodied and balanced.  The fruit is very pure, ripe and delicious and the tannins are quite assertive. By itself, this wine was very chewy.  If looking to try it soon,  grill a steak, braise some short ribs, otherwise cellar for 5 years.  93 points.  The $28 is a steal for Napa Cabernet of this quality. 
2007 Ravenswood Sonoma County Zinfandel
Old vine fruit in this one, but I didn’t taste it or smell it.   Dark purple in the glass, it definitely looks the part.  However, while this is a tasty wine, and a good value, I couldn’t help be disappointed by the generic nature of the flavors.  There’s ample dark fruit, a bit of oak, medium to full body, but little complexity.  It’s a good wine, nothing more and I don’t really think it’s that recognizable as Zinfandel. 88 points.  About $12.
Ravenswood Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

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