When I called to check in with Mike Dashe for my third installment of my East Bay Vintners series, he told me that I would need to come later in the day to because he was expecting 16 tons of fruit at noon. My lucky day. When I arrived at the Oakland winery that they share with JC Cellars, Mike's crew was busy manning the crusher/destemmer, sorting through grapes and lining them up for crushing.
First to arrive was zinfandel and Petite Syrah from Todd Brothers Ranch in Geyserville. The grapes were pulled at around 25 brix, sweet and full of juice.
This is Anne and Mike Dashe's 10th year in business since Mike left Ridge to pursue his own expression of fruit from a ranch that Ridge no longer wanted to buy from. (Anne is also a winemaker has an enology degree from the Univerity of Bordeaux, and worked in St. Emillion). Their risk 10 years ago, paid off and the 1996 Dasche zin was a huge hit with the likes of The French Laundry, and Dashe Cellars was on the map.
I tasted through the current offerings as well as a single vineyard bottling only available at the winery in Oakland. All are recommended.
2004 Dashe Cellars Dry Creek Zinfandel
Spicy cloves and raspberry on the nose. Lovely balanced Zinfandel $22.00
2003 Dashe Cellars Todd Brothers Zinfandel
This single-vineyard selection is from 52 year old vines and is a full of cassis, chocolate, and blueberry aromas. $28.00
2002 Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Louvau Vineyards
This owners of this property near the center of Dry Creek discovered they had 2-1/2 acres of 68 year old gnarly zinfandel vines once they started clearing out their newly acquired vineyard. A complex wine, full of black raspberries. It's aging nicely now, and has lots of life left in it. In general, you can't go wrong with 2002 zins from Dry Creek. $28.00
2003 Dashe Cellars Merlot Iron Oak Vineyard Potter Valley
Classic blueberry aromas from this Merlot grown near Ukiah. Only 600 cases available. Delicious and juicy, this would be great with a nice roast. $26.00
2002 Dashe Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
This is a lively, big Bordeaux blend of Cab, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. Classic minty, black pepper, and cloves. Gripping tannins still can stand a couple of more years to mellow out. $38.00
2005 Dashe Cellars Late Harvest Zinfandel
Now, I usually don't care for LH Zin, as usually it is as syrupy as pancake syrup, but this is reminiscent of the Late picked Zins from Sky on Mt. Veeder that I used to have during the 90s. It was harvested in November at 40 brix! It's not a Port, but a heavier, sweeter zinfandel. Very nice. $24.00