The Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma Valley is a lovely AVA with a lot of great wines. Their red varietal specialty is often considered to be Zinfandel. Some experts believe that there is nowhere else in the world that this variety thrives as well and produces as voluptuous grapes as in the Dry Creek Valley.
One winery in this appellation is Talty Vineyards & Winery, which sits on six acres of forty-eight year old Zinfandel vines. Michael Talty, the winemaker and owner, is doing some really wonderful things with Zinfandel. His are truly some of the best Zins I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking.
His father William Talty was responsible for Michael’s love of food and wine. Together they made wine from Cabernet Sauvignon in their garage and dreamed of one day having a winery of their own. William also was who introduced Michael to the land of Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley. Sadly, their dream of opening their own winery together didn’t come to fruition because of the unexpected passing of his father in 1993. Michael purchased the six acres of vineyards in 1997 and named them after his father. His Estate Zinfandel is made with grapes from the William Talty Vineyard.
I had been to Talty a few years ago, tasting with Michael’s delightful wife Katie. On my most recent visit to Sonoma County I wanted to make sure to pay them another visit. After driving up the long beautiful driveway lined with vineyards on the left and peach trees on the right, we were greeted by their wine dog Bella, and Michael himself!
Talty’s winery is very cozy, with a photo of William looking down over the tasting room, which also serves as the barrel room. I loved how the impression of Michael’s father’s presence is obvious in their whole operation.
We tasted at individual barrel tables instead of the typical tasting bar, with Michael paying close attention to each table.
The wines we tasted were:
2008 Talty Estate Zinfandel, William Talty Vineyard – This is the wine made from the vineyard on which the winery sits. The nose has some pepper, blackberry and nice floral aromas. The palate was juicy and lush, with raspberry, cherry and blackberry, along with some peppery vanilla. The 2008 is comprised of 90% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Syrah and 3% Carignane.
2009 Talty Zinfandel, Filice Connolly Vineyard – The nose is lovely, with some spice and oak, along with a very fresh black raspberry. The black raspberry explodes on the palate, with some chocolate and spicy oak leading to a nice long finish. 100% Zinfandel aged in 100% American oak.
2009 Talty Zinfandel, Dwight Family Vineyard – This is the youngest of the three vineyards with whom Talty works, and he is very excited about it’s progress. The 2009 vintage produces currant, spice and floral notes on the nose. The palate is well balanced, with the beautiful fruit shining through some lovely spice and vanilla. This wine is 95% Zinfandel and 5% Petite Sirah. It was aged in 75% American oak and 25% French oak.
Michael Talty is doing a bang-up job in Dry Creek Valley. If you’re a fan of Zinfandel, you will love this experience. If you’re not so sure about this varietal because you’ve experienced the huge over done Zins of some producers, give Talty a try. I can’t help but think that you’ll enjoy these delicious and food friendly Zinfandels.