Dry Creek Vineyard, Endeavour Vineyard
Jan 01, 2020
Matching vineyard to varietal is at the heart of Dry Creek Vineyard’s philosophy. The family-owned winery has been growing grapes in Dry Creek Valley for nearly five decades, driven by the desire to produce appellation-focused, terroir-driven, varietal-defining wines. Primarily known for Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc, the valley has become an undiscovered gem for Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietals.
In 2002, Dry Creek Vineyard moved its production of Bordeaux varietals to 100% Dry Creek Valley, anchored by the winery’s Endeavour Vineyard. But what exactly is it about this extraordinary vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley that produces Cabernet Sauvignon grapes of such high quality?
The story of Endeavour Vineyard began with the vision of second-generation winery owners, Kim Stare Wallace and her husband Don, to create exceptional wines that define their varietal character and reflect the unique terroir of the Dry Creek Valley. In the mid-1990s, Don searched for nearly five years to find the perfect location to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in pursuit of this dream. Using an airplane and topographic maps, Don zeroed in on the Lytton Springs area as a possible location. The combination of excellent soil conditions, drainage and sun exposure of this particular parcel were ideal.
There were other desirable characteristics as well. In looking to develop a sustainable vineyard ecosystem, the amphitheater-style topography would allow for rain water sheet flow, which creates a natural pond and would give the vineyard its own water source. This essential component is the backbone of the closed loop system that the vineyard employs. During the rainy months, water is collected in the pond, the water then irrigates the vines as they grow if necessary, and then the vines transpire the water, releasing it to the atmosphere to be returned later as rainfall.
What really makes Endeavour Vineyard unique is the manner in which it was planted. Traditionally, vineyards have been planted in a precise, evenly spaced grid to maximize the quantity of rows and vines within a certain area. However, Don thought outside of the box and implemented a concept called “variable vine spacing.” Using topographic maps and soil quality analysis, he and our vineyard manager were able to determine which parts of the vineyard had lower soil fertility versus other areas that had higher soil fertility. In planting the vines, areas that were higher in fertility were planted closer together and those lower in fertility were planted farther apart. The rows were also planted perpendicular to the path of the sun, so that one side receives the morning sun, and the other receives the afternoon sun. The result was a completely sustainable vineyard—able to maintain and moderate yields on its own—that produces exceptionally flavorful and balanced fruit.
Endeavour Vineyard started out as a vision to produce exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, which then became a reality. When you open up and taste the Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon or The Mariner, you will understand why this vineyard is so special to this iconic family winery.
Dry Creek Vineyard Endeavour Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
At first swirl, notes of black currant, black cherry and black pepper come forward, followed by deeper aromatics of blackberry, nutmeg and leather. Additional airing reveals nuances of dried sage and thyme. On the palate, elegant flavors of black currant, plum and dark chocolate mingle with complex notes of espresso, white pepper and fine leather. The refined tannins are well integrated, providing a rich and luxurious mouthfeel with a long, lingering finish.
“What does it mean for a wine to be friendly or playful? Two tasters used those words for this cabernet, a wine that delivers sumptuous fruit with brightness, the brash edge of wildflower honey and tannins becoming so integrated they meld seamlessly into the texture…” – 91pts Wine & Spirits Magazine, 94pts Wine Enthusiast