Norton Safeweb

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An afternoon in Dry Creek Valley (with photos)

First stop was the Wurst Restaurant in Healdsburg (wurst as in sausages). When the owner moved from Detroit to open this restaurant it was a big deal locally as: 1) you don't get much in the way of good encased meats around here, and 2) it's inexpensive by Healdsburg standards. The owner is an ex-bassist for MC5 and Ted Nugent. And still has his hearing!
I skipped the sauerkraut so it wouldn't interfere with my tasting. lol

 (You can click on any photo to enlarge)

Amista Winery
Nice unoaked estate Chard and estate Syrah. A pretty good, although very high alcohol, Saini Farm Zinfandel.

Pruning out front of the winery

Unpruned single cordon trellised vines out back

High alcohol Zins but they seem better balanced and more ageable than most of that style. Best known for their estate and Maple Vineyard Zinfandels.

Nice view across the valley

Ridge / Lytton Springs
Well-structured, balanced, and ageable Zinfandels--a rarity. They even had their legendary Monte Bello Cabernet open for tasting.
Only issue was the tasting room hospitality person could have been more hospitable.

Some really old vines outside the tasting room

They specialize in Rockpile appellation reds, as the Mauritsons are growers in that small region. And are these wines ever good across-the-board! Rockpile is a special place.

Everett Ridge
(from a stop here a few days earlier)
Good wines, but not what I'd call very good wines especially at their premium prices. A nice spot though and they've just hired a new winemaker with excellent credentials.

Hillside vineyards in the afternoon sun

A note for the hospitality staffs: On Jan 10th I was out with two males--one 25, the other 22. Only one place asked if the younger one was 21. Nobody checked ID's. Be careful! It's not worth getting busted for serving underage people.