Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dry Creek Love Affair: Alderbrook

On a venomously smoldering day in Sonoma County, I venture to my cherished valley in Healdsburg. On Magnolia, surrounded by vineyards, I pull into the first parking space I see. My dash inside was a bit painful, as the heat was like an indignant entity chasing me. Once inside, I see my good friend Colette. She and her colleague Mona started the tasting flight with a boastfully complex and flavorsome Pinot Grigio, from the parent label, Terlato. Next, a gracefully crisp Pinot Gris, from my current placement, Alderbrook. Then, we dove head-first into the red wines from Alderbrook’s corner of the company. Two Chardonnays, an ’08 (California style) and the ’06 (French style, crisp and concise). I was also poured their Carignane, 2006, and Confluence Blend of Zin and Syrah, also ’06. Colette then poured the two Zinfandels she thought I couldn’t leave without experiencing, those being the 2006 Old Barn Zin, and, the Wine Enthusiast 92-pointer, 2006 Wind Machine Zin. Again, Dry Creek, undefeated. Another dauntingly delicious small production gem for us oenophiles to embrace.
After the tasting, my good buddy Colette took me on a tour of the grounds and facilities, I also had the immense pleasure of meeting Amber Capps Duval (Wine Club, Events, and Marketing Manager for Alderbrook), Karen McFarland (Director of Hospitality for the Terlato Group), and winemaker Bryan Parker, among many other members of the outstanding Alderbrook team. After meeting these gracious fellow wine lovers, Ms. Colette and I ventured into the heat. Didn’t notice the temperature that much, as she explained the production process at Alderbrook, showing me absolutely everything transpired, which was great seeing as it is currently harvest season. At the tour’s summation, she invited me into one of the barrel rooms on the grounds. The scent itself was amorously anesthetizing. The temperature, wonderfully tantalizing.
Dry Creek, continuing to lure me into a collaborative coma. I’m writing, again about this vixen of a valley, at Alderbrook’s instruction, those persuasive pours. Is this still a true love affair, a momentous elemental rendezvous? Absolutely. Alderbrook reminded me why I allow my Self to be puppeteered by this region. Like a dance I don’t want to diminish.
Where does Alderbrook rank, in my exploration of DC’s wineries? Alderbrook deserves more than a petty number connected to a “rank.” Frankly, this new discovery is in its own league, dimension. This winery is its own masterful stage. It revived my affinity--no, my obsession, infatuation--with this royal valley.
[Notes: 1) hula hoop option, love it; 2) patio and lawn in back, incredible. Perfect for relaxation sipping.]
Unfortunately, I had to leave. Back out into the heat, to my pained little car. On 101 South, I realized that I forgot to get a bottle of that Wind Machine Zin, and the Carignane, and the Confluence, and the Chards. I was too caught up in the surroundings, and all the information about this new enabler of my Dry Creek lust. Will need to go back, soon, to get a few bottles. I don’t care how hot it is. Alderbrook, the experience, hospitality, each wine, more than worth it. Trust me. Get up there soon! Sip, sip...

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