Pair This: Dry Creek Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel 2010 with Bacon and Blue Cheese Steaks
We’re having an Indian Summer kind-of-year here in the Willamette Valley. Mornings start out chilly and sometimes foggy, but by the time it’s noon or 1 pm, the clouds disperse and dissipate, and the skies become a cerulean blue backdrop to the stunning orange, yellow and red leaves that grace the trees branches. It’s been one of the nicest October’s I’ve ever seen in Oregon. With our Indian summer keeping me in tee shirts and flip flops well into October, it’s also keeping us outdoors, where grilling will continue until there’s frost on the ground….
So, I started writing this last week, and since then, the temperature has dropped considerably and the weather is quickly changing to reflect a more wintry-like October – there was, indeed, frost on the ground this morning. It’s truly amazing how quickly the temperature changes in the Willamette Valley. Sunny and warm one day, cold and blustery the next – it’s one of the things I love about our climate here.
Getting back to the grilling and the beautiful fall we’ve been enjoying, we had the most delicious Bacon and Blue Cheese Steaks that paired oh so perfectly with one of the best Old Vine Zins I’ve had for a long time: Dry Creek Vineyard 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel. Dry Creek Vineyard is located in California’s Sonoma County and was founded in 1972 by Dave Stare – the first winery built in Dry Creek Valley after prohibition, contributing to the revitalization of the wine industry in Sonoma County. Because Dave had an affinity for France’s Loire Valley-style wines, he was determined to grow Sauvignon Blanc, making him the first to introduce Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc. In fact, there are a lot of “firsts” for this long-standing, multiple award-winning winery:
- First to label a wine with the Dry Creek Valley appellation, after helping to initiate Dry Creek Valley’s AVA status.
- First to coin the term “Old Vines” Zinfandel
- First winery to use the term Meritage on its label
- Founded one of the first wine clubs in the industry, in 1987.
- First to release a “Heritage” Zinfandel
Along with their first-to-do list is a full and rich history at Dry Creek Vineyard, which is now run by second generation Kim Stare Wallace and her husband, Don Wallace – making it one of very few remaining family owned wineries in California.
The 2010 Old Vine Zinfandel had gorgeous cherry, wild berry and licorice notes highlighted by earth and zesty, spicy pepper. Wild berry and plum flavors rolled in lush waves along the palate, but the nuances of spicy pepper and earth were what I loved best of all. Nicely balanced, and certainly full bodied, this paired incredibly well with grilled steaks topped with bacon and blue cheese, a recipe I found on bsinthekitchen.com after Googling some ingredients I happened to have on hand: steak, bacon and blue cheese. Truly, the pairing was phenomenal, it’s a must try before the snow begins to fall! However, I’ll be enjoying this pairing all winter long – it was one of my husband’s all time favorite wine and food combintions, and no rain or snow will stop him from being the grill master that he is.