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The Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 is not your usual CheapWineFinder wine. It is not cheap, this is a splurge, special occasion wine for most folks who follow CWF. It is a Red Blend, 50% Zinfandel, and 50% Syrah and the list price is $49.99.
A quick check of the web showed online prices between $30 and $60 which is a wide range, so look for sales. The Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 is a drink-it-now wine like almost all of the wines we feature, but it is made in a very different style.
Wines somewhere around the ten dollar range are made to come together fairly quickly, the sooner the wine is ready for sale, the quicker they can get a return on their investment and the less expensive the wine is. The Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 a completely different style of wine.
The grapes are selected from specific vineyards where the grapes have a certain quality the winemaker is looking for. The wine is produced with all the bells and whistles, how soon the wine finds its balance is not a major concern.
The Zinfandel was sourced from older vines in the northern part of the Dry Creek Valley AVA. Dry Creek is the premier Zinfandel region in Sonoma. he Syrah was taken from vineyards in southern Dry Creek Valley. The Southern Dry Creek Valley runs into the Russian River AVA which is a cooler Pinot Noir region.
Each block of the Zinfandel and Syrah grapes are fermented separately and then aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (30% new the rest used barrels). The alcohol is a stiff 15%.
The Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 is a brand from Terlato Wine Group, they are the folks who popularized Pinot Grigio in America with Santa Margherita. Before Terlato a few wine shops that specialized in Italian wines would carry Pinot Grigio and after Terlato Pinot Grigio is available everywhere.
On a side note, nobody in the US was drinking Sauvignon Blanc until Robert Mondavi decided to call their Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc. Fume Blanc was a made-up name, but for some reason, people who would not buy Sauv Blanc thought it was great. People caught on that Sauv Blanc and Fume Blanc was the same thing and now it is an extremely popular White wine.
So what is a fifty dollar boutique wine doing on CheapWineFinder.com? Well, in December we always try to go a little upscale. We always say the difference between expensive wine and value-priced wine is not a matter of good or bad. It is a matter of style, inexpensive wine is made in a way that allows the price to be reasonable.
It is a very popular style of wine, actually the most popular. There are many grapes that I prefer the inexpensive style to a more expensive style. White wine especially does very well as a young, bright, fruit, and citrus-forward wine. Cheap Red wines have made massive leaps in quality in the last five to ten years.
With that said there are wines that excel in the spare no expense style of winemaking. The Holiday Season is the perfect time to break the budget and give unique wines a try. In the age of Covid-19 large parties are gone, instead of picking up two or three bottles of the usual suspects, maybe one bottle of something a bit different will do the trick.
Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 Tasting Notes
The color is an almost opaque black cherry red, more black than red. The nose is, well I guess this may be the power of suggestion but this $50 wine smells expensive, swirling spice, French vanilla, blackberry, licorice, cigar box, herbs, ripe plum, a touch of smoke, and a late whiff of strawberry.
This is a wine that will take a little time to get your head around. Figuring out where the Zinfandel ends and the Syrah begins will take a few sips. There is a soft, firm mouthfeel with some sharp edges from the spice, which is something that both the Zin and the Syrah can provide.
It tastes of rounded, ripe, blackberry, licorice, spice, a slight pull from the tannins, and black cherry. The mid-palate offers a dusting of chocolate powder, a little brown sugar (not sweet), soft blueberry, more spice, and tart cranberry.
You would not guess this Red blend has 15% alcohol content and the acidity is balanced, the Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 has really good length, the flavors keep going.
- The Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 is an excellent wine.
- There are loads of flavors and textures and remarkable balance.
- I never did figure out where the Zinfandel ends and the Syrah starts and that is ok, I will keep on sipping until I get it.
- There were some trendy wines a few ago, such as The Prisoner, which were big, bold red wines that have unexpected balance. The Dueling Pistols Dry Creek Red 2016 fits into that category without being derivative.