Dry Creek or Amador Zins? It's about YOUR taste!


Sleek, rustic, fruit bomb, old world, new world, bold, jammy and blah…blah…blah! Dry Creek, Amador, Lodi, Paso and blah…blah…blah! So…what should you do? Well…what do you like? It’s pretty simple. Let’s look at Amador and Dry Creek Zins. Both areas can claim to have the best Zin, or having arguably the best Zin around, although Lodi and Paso just might disagree. But, as you know by now, it all depends on your taste in wine. As for me, I love all of them to death. Sometimes I wish I could take a bath in them!! But let’s get serious. I’ve spent many, many days in Amador County doing the triple-s in every wineries tasting room. You might enjoy relaxing in the wine cave tasting room, or next to the lake of Dobra Zemlja. There you can sip the huge, rustic, over-the-top, 16.7% juice of Milan Matulich. Just down the road you’ll find just the opposite at Dillian Wines. There, Tom Dillian produces more elegant, complex and lower alcohol Zins. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find great wines from the likes of Cooper, Runquist, Turley, and in the beautiful newly remodeled facilities of Renwood Winery. The Shenandoah Valley area, is small, about two or three miles long with around 40 wonderful wineries that are easy to get around to. There are historic vineyards there, among them the iconic D’Agostini Vineyard, planted in 1856. You’ll also find some refreshing Sauvignon Blanc’s, Viognier’s and Syrah’s and of course, the King-in-waiting…Barbera! OK, let’s take a look at Dry Creek. To be truthful, I’m in eight wine clubs in the DC area. Now that’s pretty deranged, even for a corkhead! I guess that’s an indication that I just might “like” the juice flooding the valley. While Amador has its iconic vineyards, so does DC. One of the finest, and very winery restricted, is the fantastic Zin fruit that comes from Tom and Tina Maple. Located on a bench at the corner of Dry Creek Road and Litton Springs Road, Tom and Tina must take care of their vines better than a mother takes care of the kids. Tina’s Block fruit, honed to perfection by Tina, has found a great home at Armida Winery on West DC Road. There winemaker Brandon Lapides produces a lush, smooth as silk juice. DC Zins run the gamut from light food friendly juice to big jammy heavyweights. One of the more iconic Zins, and Zin vineyard, can be found via the Martinelli Winery. The wine there sells out fast…I mean real fast. Last time I checked the waiting list for the famed Jackass Hill Zinfandel Zin was…well let’s put it this way. People ahead of you on the list meeting their maker is your best chance of getting a bottle! One you can get, if it’s not sold out, is the Giuseppe and Luisa. Just plain heaven in a bottle! There are wineries that produce many different Zins, Mazzocco Winery for one produces about 23 different Zins! If you can’t find one you like there…it’s not made! Go throw yourself in front of a bus…wine-life as you know it is over!!! The main part of the valley is paralleled on both sides by DC Road and West DC Road, making it very accessible using the two or three crossroads to navigate around. For your own safety and peace of mind, do what I do. Set up camp for at least two days in Healdsburg, or at one of the great outlying lodging facilities such as The Vineyard Inn…one of my faves! So. Get the car gassed up and head out to either one of these corkhead Disneyland!!

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