The best wine experiences cultivate memories unifying the art of food and drink, and the best way to discover tantalizing new wines is to explore them while attending lively and entertaining tasting events. For many wine enthusiasts there’s nothing better. Each experience is different, and every event you attend expands your knowledge, and love for wine. Not only does this type of event help to broaden your palate, but also your perspective as you get to meet new people who share similar interests as you!
Earlier this month I attended an exciting food and wine tasting event held in Seattle at Bourbon Steak that literally transported me to the heart of Sonoma County, DrinkWell: Zinfandel presented by Dry Creek Valley. This unique event was an incredible opportunity to not only taste wines from Dry Creek Valley’s signature grape, Zinfandel, but to also enjoy other specially selected wines from the region paired perfectly with delicious one-of-a-kind bites from Bourbon Steak Seattle.
Before I dive into more about the DrinkWell: Zinfandel Seattle event, I wanted to share that there is still one more DrinkWell event in Denver on November 13, 2022. You can find more information on the Dry Creek Valley Sonoma Wine Country Website.
During the event, Seattle area wine lovers and those who were just curious to learn more about the wines produced in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, were given the opportunity to taste wines from 13 wineries pouring more than 50 top-rated Zinfandel and other wines.
This special walk-around style celebration of Zinfandel gave attendees the time to chat with the winemakers one on one and find out more about individual styles, other grapes grown in Dry Creek Valley and how the vintages can change from year to year.
Having the winemakers or winery representatives pouring the wine is always a pleasurable and memorable way to learn the story behind the bottle.
DrinkWell: Zinfandel’s festive atmosphere was made even better with wine-and-food-pairing from Bourbon Steak Seattle, Chef Michael Mina’s new warm and inviting restaurant.
The Dry Creek Valley wines were poured alongside a generous selection of passed hors d’oeuvres and buffet bites prepared by the Bourbon Steak culinary team, including options for omnivores and vegetarians alike.
Selections included char-grilled lamb chops with harissa chimichurri, sesame shrimp toast with ginger and honey aioli, beef skewers with sweet chili sauce, and more! I have to share that these small bites were some of the best hors d’oeuvres that I have had.
This Seattle wine event offered an exciting way to enjoy thirteen Dry Creek Valley wineries Zinfandels along with some of their other acclaimed wines. Here are some highlights and fun facts about a few of the wineries that were bringing smiles to many people’s faces with each pour of their wines.
Discover more about Ridge Vineyards and their fascinating history on their website.
Learn about Dry Creek Vineyard and their current releases on their website.
There is much more to learn about this family owned winery on their website, Wilson of Dry Creek.
When I asked Jack Seifrick during the event about his ‘Don’t Judge Me’ White Zinfandel he shared that “essentially the White Zinfandel Estate Vineyard wine came about because when we were taking guests through the winery for tastings we shared a taste of this wine because it is the base for our Sparkling Brut Rosé and so many them said, ‘I would buy that’. So the next year we held some of the base back and produced 25 cases. It has kind of become a little thing that we are doing and It is an interesting way to highlight a White Zinfandel. I also think that it helps us explain more about the Sparkling.”
There is more to discover about Cast Wines and their selection of wines on their Website.
I had the pleasure of sitting across from these two fantastic guys from F. Teldeschi Winery, Dan Teldeschi and Bobby Terran at the luncheon that took place before the DrinkWell walk around event. (More about the Winemakers Luncheon at Bourbon Steak Seattle below)
We had an interesting and lively conversation about growing Zinfandel grapes in Dry Creek Valley, the wines of F. Teldeschi as well as how they both came to be in the wine business. I can’t wait to visit Dan and Bobby in Sonoma someday.
Visit their website to read more about F. Teldeschi Winery and Finch’s Crest.
These are just a few of the wineries who made DrinkWell such a fantastic event. I’ve included a list with links to all of the DrinkWell event attending wineries. Take some time to explore and if your near Denver in November take the opportunity to see some of them first hand.
In Dry Creek Valley they have a saying, “Wine Paired With Life”.
Visit and follow Dry Creek Valley Wines and follow them on Instagram @drycreekvalleywines
Being a big fan of RN74 restaurant in Seattle and it’s award winning Chef Michael Mina, I was saddened when it officially closed for good during the pandemic. When I was invited though, to attend a Zinfandel pairing luncheon at Chef Mina’s new restaurant, Bourbon Steak Seattle in the same location, I couldn’t wait to see what the culinary crew was going to prepare for this one of a kind luncheon.
At the Winemakers Luncheon, an elevated four-course menu was designed highlighting PNW cuisine by Bourbon Steak, to perfectly pair with a selection of Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel wines. The array of wines chosen showcased the versatility of the region’s Zinfandels and just how incredibly food friendly they are. Representatives, Owners, Grape Growers and Winemakers from various Dry Creek Valley wineries who specialize in Zinfandel production each offered some background information about their wineries and answered questions throughout the meal.
Photo 1-Susie Selby, winemaker and owner of Selby Winery. Photo 2- Orsi Family Vineyards owner Bernie Orsi (Front Right). Photo 3-F. Teldeschi Winery owner Dan Teldeschi
With a festive atmosphere and excellent table company, the luncheon began with a lovely little bite of goodness. An Amuse Bouche of Caviar Biscuit with Crème Fraiche, relished with a refreshing glass of CAST Wines 2019 Sparkling Rosé of Zinfandel (Presented by Jack and Ann Seifrick)
The CAST Sparkling Rosé of Zinfandel with it’s luminous cool pink hue and exudes delicate aromas of strawberry, white peaches and floral notes I was instantly drawn to this glass of bubbles. Zests of citrus join in as the sparkling wine makes its way through your taste buds. With it’s lovely crisp, dry finish this is a solid sparkling rosé for any occasion. Absolutely perfect with the caviar biscuit amuse bouche.
There were a lot of “Oohs and Ahhs” as we were served this lovely phyllo wrapped scallop with pea espuma, smoked trout roe and melted leeks. It might well have been one of the best scallop dishes I have eaten in Seattle.
Paired with the phyllo wrapped scallop we enjoyed two Dry Creek Valley Zinfandels.
A Dry Creek Vineyard 2019 Historic Blocks Zinfandel (Presented by Sara Rathbun). This was an impeccable expression of a Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel. A really well-structured wine which is blended with 19% Petite Sirah, that opens with tangy red fruit and an intriguing mix of baking spice and dried-herb on the nose. Its full-bodied and rich texture offers a taste sensation of the mentioned aromas along with plum and soft notes of tobacco. An enchanting sip.
We also sipped a F. Teldeschi Winery 2013 Finch’s Crest Zinfandel (Presented by Dan Teldeschi) This handcrafted Zinfandel combines a small percentage of Petite Sirah, Carignane, Valdique and Alacante Bouchet, all co-fermented. The union of these varietals brings a rich wild berry and dark cherry aroma with a whisper of smoky toasty oak and vanilla. Amazing jammy fruit packed flavor with soft integrated tannins and a pleasing long finish, this wine is loaded with the ‘essence’ of Dry Creek Valley Zin.
The second course was a mouthwatering Yemenite spiced wagyu striploin with saffron poached potato and a matbucha sauce. The wagyu literally melted in my mouth and the addition of the matbucha sauce delivering some Moroccan flavors was definitely a combination first for me. I can’t wait to have this steak again on my next visit to Bourbon Steak.
During the Main Course we were poured two wines, the Orsi Family Vineyards 2019 Orsi Primitivo (Presented by Mark Orsi) and the Ridge Vineyards 2019 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel (Presented by Ryan Johnson & Christina Donely).
The 2019 Orsi Primativo, what can I say. While I don’t like picking favorites especially with such a wonderful selection of wines samples, this was my “Wow” wine during the meal and the glass that I would not let be taken away until it was empty. I was hooked by the elevated spice aromatics and bold rich flavors of spice-laced dark fruit that enticed me with the first sip and lovely mocha notes that drew me even further into the glass. As well, this wine was a crowd pleaser with those around me.
The deeply concentrated 2019 Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel which is blended with 16% Petite Sirah, 9% Carignan and 2% Mataro has such a great structure to it. This Zin was subtle on the nose, but don’t let that fool you. On the palate you are rewarded with a complex melody of berries that evolve into a velvety and well balanced sip. This is a wine that I can see pairing well with a multitude of different dishes.
The third course of the evening was a showstopper. What was worded as a Chocolate Molten Cake on the menu dazzled everyone at our table when it came out looking like a pot of gold. All around me spoons were cracking the gold leaf decorated wafer to dig into the reimaged Chocolate Molten Cake dessert. Would it be bad to say that I really wanted to lick the bowl clean? It was absolutely delicious!
What really elevated the desert was the pairing with Selby Winery’s 2019 Selby Bobcat Zinfandel (Presented by Susie Selby). The aromas and flavors of slightly sweetened brandied cherries, vanilla and baking spices come together in this Zin and dance around your tongue before they slip away on a smooth silky finish. Great tasting wine and an ideal companion for such a bold chocolate flavored dessert. Fantastic way to end an incredible meal.
Dry Creek Valley expresses a lot of diversity in their Zinfandels, there’s a certain energetic spirit to these wines that is just hard to replicate. You can drink them alone or if you get your hands on some Dry Creek Valley Zin, try your own special pairing at home. I do recommend trying some that are on the young side to drink and then choose a few to age so that you can experience how these wines evolve over time.
When visiting Seattle make sure to save yourself a table at Bourbon Steak which is located in the iconic Joshua Green Building at 1433 Fourth Avenue, downtown. Look for them on Instagram at @bourbonsteakseattle
Right now, getting on a plane to make that trip you’ve been dreaming about to Sonoma wine country may still not be possible for everyone. However, we can all take advantage of special wine tasting events like DrinkWell: Zinfandel to transport us there, hassle-free while enjoying good conversation and sipping notable wines.
I hope that you enjoyed reading about DrinkWell: Zinfandel and Dry Creek Valley wines, I would love to hear about wine adventures that you have had in the Dry Creek Valley region of Sonoma County. Leave a comment and let’s start a conversation about your favorite wineries and wines from Dry Creek Valley.
As always, thanks for reading! Cheers!
This post is sponsored by Wine Growers of Dry Creek Valley and I was hosted by them at these two events. While it has not influenced this article or the wine reviews, as a writer I believe in full disclosure.
Images and content © Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.