Friday, July 16, 2010

Dry Creek Love Affair ... Amista

Couldn’t believe how hot it was in my lovely valley. Almost unbearable. When I pulled into the little lot, after the scenic exodus of a driveway, I was reminded of the escalated microclimate of Dry Creek. I rushed inside, with my trustee companion, Ms. Alice. Sheltered, relief. Almost immediately we are greeted with smiles and a hello from Kari. She welcomed us to the bar, walked with, chatted while en route, answering some basic questions I had like how long they’d been at the location (about 3 years), how many cases they did (less than 2000). She told me this was a family winery, no distribution. Instantly, Alice and I, hooked. Definitely my thing, I thought. We were ready for pours.

Kari kindly kindled the moment with the 2008 Rosé, made from Syrah. Darker than many Rosés that I’ve met, and with a more complex flavor profile. Alice was smitten, taking her time. I peered down at the tasting menu after Kari concluded her words, and noticed how well-organized, domesticated and informative it was, even with food pairing endorsements. Can’t wait to read this over, with more steadied pace, at home. Over Rosé, perhaps? Maybe I’ll try one of these suggested culinary concerts. Wait, I can’t cook. Nevermind.

For the remainder of the tasting session, we were hosted by a witty and astute fellow named Ross. He poured the Chardonnay, Zin (which was an explosion of perfected balance and taste grace), then we arrived at the ’05 Cab. He insisted that we do a vertical tasting, from ’03 to ’05, and I’m now beyond grateful for his gentle insistence. I’m always surprised and educated with the variation of vintages in an AVA. This is why wine deserves time, study. Why I’m in love with the Creek. One of the innumerable reasons. During our tasting--which was truly one of the most enjoyable and genuine sessions of my wine life thus far--I was introduced briefly to one of the owners, Vicki Farrow, wife of winemaker Mike Farrow. She was very welcoming and personable, sweet, and told me I could photograph the marvelous paintings adorning the walls. Looking at them again, on this miniature screen, I feel they pair perfectly with the sturdy flavor profile of the wines, beneficial bravado. Original, believable, and consistent. She said, “Just don’t duplicate them.” She and I laughed. I had to laugh, as I had trouble illustrating stick figures and colored rectangles as a child. Still do.

Beautiful Room, as I look at the photos on my camera, here in the home office. I remember how Ross continued to emphasize the guiding ideology of Amista of “Wine, Food, Friends, and Fun.” Not hard to imagine with a kind and hospitable crew like this. I wonder if Alice will let me open the Rosé tonight. No, it deserves an occasion special, definitely.

We walked outside to inspect the patio, which is where I shot the footage below. Aside from Alice and I being reminded, harshly, of the hellacious heat, the visual value was quite vivacious. Perfect for picnics, Alice said. Definitely, I thought. We’ll be back. Maybe we’ll bring the Rosé, if it hasn’t been sipped to death, by Alice and I, or just...I. Praise and thanks to Amista for having us, and becoming so integral in this affair.


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