One of our favorite get-a-way locations is the Albion River Inn, located in Northern California. There are a number of reasons this place is a favorite. The cozy rooms (with no TV or phone service) and amazing views of the ocean make it a perfect spot to completely disconnect and relax. This visit always starts with a welcome gift of a ½ bottle of Handley Chardonnay upon arrival to our room. We’ve always enjoyed the wine, and this last trip we made it a point to visit the winery, which is only a few miles away from the Inn.
All the wine we sampled that day was good, but the one that really stood out was the 2008 Syrah. This is a complex Syrah with aromas of chocolate covered fruit, and tastes of berry pie. With silky tannins and long sweet oak finish, this wine is very drinkable on its own, and pairs easily with food. Turns out, the syrah vineyards were sold and there are only a few years of production remaining. They produced just 427 cases of the ‘08, and it is available winery direct only. At a price point of only $18, we shipped a few bottles home. It stuck with us so much that day, we returned to grab another bottle for dinner!
We recently opened one of those bottles we shipped home. When the cork was popped, we were a little concerned. The nose was a bit off, and showed excessive minerality. Recalling how tasty it was, we didn’t want to give up. You never know what a little oxygen will do for a wine. So, we pulled out a carafe and let it rest while dinner continued to cook. Boy, were we glad we did. The wine opened up nicely, and it was quite enjoyable with our meal!
If at first a wine seems a little off the mark, don’t give up hope right away. Give it a chance to wake up a little ~ with a little patience you may be rewarded!
While the Syrah is available winery direct only, the Handley Chardonnay can be found at BevMo ($15) and Specs ($18). Handley also ships direct to a number of states