Arista Visit: Aghast

IMG_4828 I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t been there in years. And when I finally parked in that enrapturing lot, I nearly forgot where I was. Not to sound self-anointing, but it takes a bit more than a just ‘a bit’ to stun me, or impress me, or move me with wineries anymore, and this includes everything from the elemental atmosphere and arrangement of an estate’s physical nature, to the wine portfolio, to the hospitality, to “value”, or price point. But I was. With all those facets. I was muted. I was taught… The first I sipped was a ’13 Gerwurztraminer, which not only prided a new take on this styleIMG_4826 and varietal, but as well the overall texture and presentation of the wine’s personality; soft floral and playful, air to finish. And the Chardonnay.. well… You know I’m not Chardonnay chaser, and it’s even more strangely uncommon to see me taken by the oftentimes excessively buttered Burgundy bull. No.. this bottle offered the artful sway I hope for with Chardonnay but never see, never feel, am left left hoping that it’s out there somewhere. And yesterday I finally met it. And was smitten.
IMG_4829Between the whites and reds, I thought to myself, “Why HAS it been such a time since I visited? Not just the winery but AVA?” But then I realized it didn’t matter. “I’m here, now,” I thought, and I nearly didn’t know where ‘here’ was, which only suggested that I genuinely was paralyzed with pleasurable impression, bemused.
IMG_4833IMG_4832Then the Pinots, three totaled. All 13’s, one from Anderson Valley, another from Mendocino Ridge, then a classic very wooing Russian River portrait. Even if you’re not part of the relatively recent Pinot craze you’ll be lassoed by one of these, if not two or all. For me, I fell for the Mendo’ Ridge, and for not only the fruit composition and enumerated suggestion of the wine IMG_4834(raspberry, light cherry and cream coupled with an earthy rustic tea.. or something… Just know I was caught.). I wanted a bottle of all three but I had to be somewhat withheld, and looking left, out at that estate and that living space on the hill (imagining I was there for an afternoon, looking over the rows and blocks with a midday Chard splash, splashes, scribbling whatever the property was telling me), I had an inner skirmish. All teaching me something. I found a new majestic morsel, in the valley I rarely get to visit, and still don’t know that well. Now I have more warrant to more frequently return. And I want more, more…

The next night, with family over, I open my Mendocino Ridge Pinot. Yes, maybe I should have waited but I thought ‘no, I’m a writer, I don’t do that, and life is short so drink it with family..’. This bottle had all the same spell but for some reason more augmented, more staccato in its skip and sensory saunter. Just warrant to go back, soon, soon! Bring home more…..

note: Arista means “beautiful, like a bride” in Farsi, and “the best” in Greek. How cosmically logical!IMG_4837