POSTED ON July 29, 2012 | IN Dry Creek Valley | BY joe

100 year old Zinfandel

Lush grape clusters on this 100 year-old Zin

A little-known and offbeat vineyard resides on Dry Creek Road. Each day hundreds of tourists drive by and never enter the realm of Teldeschi Vineyards and the winery named Del Carlo. There is no signage or tasting room, so the droves of visitors to the Dry Creek Valley never venture into this remarkable world of 100 year-old Zinfandel vineyards and breathtaking views of the Dry Creek Valley’s east bench lands.

We were in the Dry Creek Valley on Thursday and finished an appointment early. On a whim, we called the number on the Del Carlo website. Within 15 minutes we were riding in Ray Teldeschi’s 1950 red flatbed truck through his Home Ranch of 56 acres, 26 of which are planted with vines. We had been introduced to the Del Carlo wines at a trade tasting, and since then had always wanted to visit. Ray and Lori Teldeschi are the second-generation owners of the ranch; Ray’s parents purchased the property in 1948. In 2005, Ray and Lori established the Del Carlo wine label.

Ray Teldeschi

The Vineyard Tour

The vineyard tour on the flatbed truck made a complete circle of the vineyards, with Ray sitting with us giving details of his sustainable farming and his vineyard management techniques. Ray is growing Zinfandel, Cabernet, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and even some Delicato grapes. Rays sells 90 percent of his vines to several wineries in Sonoma and Napa. These include the makers of the popular Prisoner wine, Seghesio Winery and Carlisle Winery. Ray uses the final 10 percent of his grapes to produce the Del Carlo label, a mere 600 cases of wonderful tasting wine.

Tour Teldeschi and Del Carlo on a flatbed truck

Teldeschi's 1950 GMC Truck

About midway on our trek, we came to a beautiful overlook with tables and benches. This is where we were lucky enough to try the 2007 Cabernet and the 2008 Old Vine Zinfandel. Both are special wines, having received 90-point ratings from the wine critics. The wines are complex, layered with flavors and balanced quite nicely. Delicious wines! What a treat to be sitting there with Ray and Lori Teldeschi, listening to tales of vineyard farming and winemaking, while sipping delicious wines and taking in the views of the Dry Creek Valley.

Just around the corner from our table were the 100 year-old Zinfandel vines. These vines are gnarly and nasty looking, but the grape clusters are gorgeous and lush. It is amazing that these vines have been producing grapes like these for more than 100 years.

Interested in a Tour

If you book a tour, it is likely to follow the same format as ours did. Ray and Lori were both present, with one driving the truck and the other acting as guide on the flatbed. Call far ahead to get booked and find out the details. You are not going to get a better tour of a vineyard anywhere else in Dry Creek, or for that matter in Sonoma County.

Red soil of the east bench land of Dry Creek Valley

Red soil of the east bench land of Dry Creek Valley

Comments

  1. This vineyard was the source of the famous Swan Zinfandels of the late ’60’s and early 70’s . Ray and Lori grow and manage a pristine site in Dry Creek. This is an example of a high quality Dry Creek wine that is not found on typical retail shelves. I highly recommend the wines and a visit if you can make the time. No high pressure and a chance to meet the grower of an exceptional and famous vineyard. Pack a lunch and make an afternoon of it…

    • Mike,
      Great inside information regarding the Swan Zinfandels. I love looking at the 100 year-old Zinfandel vines at the Teldeschi Ranch.