Visit the Winery
Tasting Room Open Daily
11am - 4:30pm
4791 Dry Creek Rd. Healdsburg, CA
News & Announcements Blog
What's new at Amphora Winery!
It’s Fall and that means it’s busy here at Amphora. Grapes are pouring in, wine club shipments are being packed and friends, old and new, are walking through the tasting room door.
Just before harvest began in earnest, Rick and Jim paid a visit to one of Jim’s oldest friends who was busy preparing for the adventure of a lifetime. Randall was just days away from setting sail on his second attempt to single-handedly circumnavigate both the American and Antarctic continents in one season. Randall had something for Rick and Jim at that meeting, a bottle of Amphora's 2013 GSM that had travelled 26,000 miles on his first attempt. That’s one well-travelled bottle of wine! If you’d like more information on Randall and his epic adventure, his website (www.figure8voyage.com) has much more information, including a daily blog which is a must read. Here is a portion of his blog from just a few days ago (FYI, “Mo” is his boat).
Miles since departure: 146
Well past the Farallones and on into the evening, the sea maintained the color of jade. As the stars winked on, so did the lights of jets climbing out of SFO, and all night Mo maneuvered between coastwise shipping as she edged further and further out.
By morning, all evidence of that other world, the world of the land, was gone. Now the sea was an ebullient blue and empty in all directions until met by a powder blue sky stacked with dry cumulus. Inside the horizon, nothing but water, wave, and wind, available, to the observer, in apparently infinite measure.
It is the most amazing thing about this world, the size of it, and that within a day’s sail one can be beyond all evidence of humanity. The vast majority of the planet surface is ocean, and nearly none of it knows the least thing about civilization.
Now on to a few notes from this year’s harvest.
So far, Amphora has crushed Barbera, Tempranillo, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Tannat, Rosé of Grenache and Petite Sirah with more to come. After weighing, crushing and de-stemming the grapes, the wait for fermentation to occur begins.
For this first step (fermentation) we use both one-top open top fermenters and our 800L and 1000L terracotta amphorae. The soon-to-be wine needs constant attention during this crucial period. In addition to monitoring the temperature of the grapes, three times a day what looks like a potato masher made for Paul Bunyan, is used to “punch-down” the cap of solid matter made up of the grape skins, seeds, stems and pulp that rise to the surface. This is done to integrate the cap back into the wine. Think of the cap like a tea bag—if it’s just sitting there floating on top, you’re not going to get the color or flavor that you want in your tea, and we all know that Rick’s wines are big on color and flavor. Unlike larger wineries where this punch-down is done by machine, here at Amphora it’s all done manually. This picture can give you some sense of scale, Amy is 5’ tall.
We’re excited about this year’s harvest so far and are looking forward to what’s still to come. That's all for now.
Cheers from all of us here at Amphora!
Just what do I serve with that Easter ham or Passover brisket?
This question is asked every year by those who want to make sure that their hard work in the kitchen is complemented by what's in your glass. With that in mind I have chosen wines to be paired with quintessential Easter and Passover dishes. Read on and hopefully this information will make your holiday wine pairing decisions (and maybe even what to serve, since I've included recipes) effortless this year.
No matter what you decide to drink and eat this coming holiday season, have fun, drink responsibly, and enjoy those you are celebrating with!
Rick Hutchinson, Owner/winemaker
|Research shows that the three most often served dishes for Easter are ham, lamb, and salmon. When it comes to ham, you can't beat a traditional ham with a brown sugar and mustard glaze. Try our 2013 Mourvedre whose earthiness is a perfect balance to the sweet and spice of the Dijon mustard, brown sugar and honey glaze.|
|For those who choose to serve lamb, a slow-roasted boneless leg with garlic, rosemary and lemon pairs beautifully with Petite Sirah. The backbone and earthy notes of a Petite Sirah will complement perfectly with the herbs, citrus and lamb. Try our 2011 Petite Sirah and wow your guests.|
|Salmon is the perfect choice for lunch or a lighter dinner option. Grilled salmon with herbs and citrus pairs beautifully with the old-world style, silky, red fruit notes you get with a Pinot Noir made from the Pommard clone. I suggest this grilled salmon with our 2013 Pinot Noir from Peters Vineyard.|
|Brisket, for those who celebrate Passover, is a traditional choice. Zinfandel is a perfect match, especially when that brisket has a garlic-horseradish crust. I suggest a Zinfandel with a balance of both fruit and spice, such as our 2012 Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley. A balanced Zinfandel will play off the spiciness of both the garlic and horseradish creating another perfect pairing.|
WINTERTIME AT AMPHORA
WHAT'S BEHIND DOOR NUMBER ONE?
It's not a car, a camel or a year's supply of dish detergent. Nope. We've got our hard hats on and are outfitting Rick's "studio" to becme a space that will allow our guests to experience a private tasting in an elegant, but rustic setting. This room will be used for "by appointment only" group and private tastings. The space will also be available for our wine club members to hold private parties, tastings and winemaker dinners. We are estimating that the room will hold up to sixteen guests for a seated tasting or gathering, and more for a non-seated event. Tastings, hosted by Rick, Amphora's owner/winemaker will be sure to give guests an educational and entertaining experience in an elegant setting. More details to come as we get closer to completion.
Cyber Weekend Specials!
We have selected four very special wines to include in our Cyber Monday special this year. The deal doesn't get any better than this! Purchase any of these four wines in any quantity and receive 25% off. Wine club members will receive their standard discount PLUS an additional 25% resulting in 40 to 50% off savings depending on Club level.
AND...Purchase at least a case of wine (12 bottles) of any of our current release wines, mix and match o.k., going to a single address and get 5 cent ($.05) shipping*!
Drumroll please....here are the four wines.
This Chardonnay is an employee favorite. You can bet that it made an appearance on both Karen and Amy's Thanksgiving tables. Yes, it goes great with turkey, but during this holiday season we highly recommend pairing the 2014 Chardonnay with Dungeness Crab. Our 2014 Chardonnay retails for $30.
Our 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition best-of-class Pinot Noir (yes...we beat out wineries that ONLY do Pinot) is a real winner. You can't go wrong pairing our Peters Pinot (anytime of year) with a Smoked Turkey. Our 2013 Peters Pinot Noir retails for $55.
This amazing Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre blend is good with anything during any season! Try pairing our GSM with a traditional cassoulet! Your family and guests will give you 5-star reviews! Our 2014 GSM retails for $38.
This Merlot will knock your socks off...we promise! At 100% Merlot, it is NOT your everyday Merlot. Grown right here in beautiful Dry Creek Valley, this Merlot served with a beautiful medium-rare Prime Rib Roast is a pairing fit for any occasion. Our 2013 Merlot retails for $32.
So, order NOW. These great deals expire at midnight on Monday, November 27, 2017.
Order via our website, email us at email@example.com or call us at 707.431.7767 from 11:00 to 4:30 seven days a week.
* Ground shipping only. Excludes AK, HI, NH and states to which we cannot legally ship.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!
Rick, Bridget, Jim, Karen, Amy, Amanda and Lil' Ricki
October 21, 2017
Amphora is once again open for business.
THANK YOU for all of your thoughts, prayers, and good wishes sent our way during the catastrophic wildfires which began on October 8th. Please forgive us for not replying personally to each of you, but we're still in the midst of harvest.
We at Amphora are grateful to be among the fortunate who still have homes and businesses because of the incredible efforts of firefighters and first responders from across our state and nation (and even from as far away as Australia). Their relentless work, finally aided by a little rainfall, is leading to containment of these numerous and widespread fires. But thousands of families in our community have lost everything, and our thoughts and efforts rightfully turn towards them.
If you’d like to help those in need due to these tragic events, please consider donating to:
This fund is organized and administered (for no charge) by the Redwood Credit Union, the Press-Democrat, RCU Community Fund, and CA Senator Mike McGuire.
100% of your tax-deductible donations go directly to support those affected!
Another way to help is by patronizing our local businesses. Many Sonoma County workers and business owners lost their homes (and sometimes their businesses as well), and the economic effects are rippling out through the entire region. Despite the severe loss of life and property, 98% of Sonoma County did NOT burn. Please continue to visit and enjoy the wine, food, scenery, and accommodations of this beautiful place.
THANK YOU from all of us at Amphora Winery
We have commissioned a new amphora and it is currently being crafted at the Antica Fornace in Montecchio, Tuscany. Here is the "rotunda"in the workshop, prior to firing. Our new terracotta vessel is slated to arrive in time for the 2017 harvest, and Rick already has plans to keep it full of fermenting grapes!
The warm days and evenings of summer beg for a refreshing wine, and we now the perfect one:
To craft this refreshingly crisp wine, we picked ripe Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel just a little earlier than we typically would for full-throttle red wine. After destemming, crushing, and a brief period of skin contact, we pressed off the juice and fermented it at cool temperatures in stainless steel. The result is a fresh and zesty rosé. The pale salmon color invites a sip, and floral and strawberry aromas lead to flavors redolent of peaches and cream, raspberry and a squeeze of tart cherry. This is wine to enjoy now, and that’s we chose to skip bottle and cork in favor of the convenience and portability of a box. Whether in the fridge door, on the pool deck, or on a boat—take this one along on your summer meanderings!
List price is $78 for the 3-Liter Box (=4 bottles), $58.50 Concierge Club, $62.40 Platinum Club, $66.30 Gold Club.
On May 24th Amphora will be hosting its annual “Taste of Spain” event and this year we are abuzz about the plans for the party. Join us for Paella in our vineyard picnic area beginning at 6:00 pm when Chef Fabiano Ramaci takes center stage and shares his preparation for delicious authentic Spanish Paella. Settle in with a glass of our delicious Tempranillo, Grenache, or Carignane and watch the sunset while listening to the masterful sounds of Flamenco guitarist Mark Taylor. This is an event not to be missed and we hope you can join us for the fun.
In light of this event, I thought I would share some brief information on the wines of Spain as well as some history on Paella; a remarkable meal made in an exquisitely crafted pot.
Paella is a Valencian-Catalan word which derives from the Old French word paelle for pan, which in turn comes from the Latin word patella for pan as well. Patella is also akin to the modern French poêle, the Italian padella and the Old Spanish padilla.
Valencians use the word paella for all pans, including the specialized shallow pan used for cooking paellas. However, in most other parts of Spain and throughout Latin America, the term paellera is more commonly used for this pan, though both terms are correct, as stated by the Royal Spanish Academy, the body responsible for regulating the Spanish language. Paelleras are traditionally round, shallow and made of polished steel with two handles.
A popular but inaccurate belief in Arabic-speaking countries is that the word paella derives from the Arabic word for leftovers, baqiyah, because it was customary among the servants of Moorish kings to combine the leftovers of a banquet for royal guests, purportedly leading to a paella-like creation in Moorish Spain.
Tempranillo (also known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto del Pais and several other synonyms) is a black grape variety widely grown to make full-bodied red wines in its native Spain. Its name is the diminutive of the Spanish temprano ("early"), a reference to the fact that it ripens several weeks earlier than most Spanish red grapes. Tempranillo has been grown on the Iberian Peninsula since the time of Phoenician settlements. It is the main grape used in Rioja, and is often referred to as Spain's noble grape. The grape has been planted throughout the globe in places such as Mexico, New Zealand, California, and Washington State.
Unlike more aromatic red wine varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, Tempranillo has a relatively neutral profile and is often blended with other varieties, such as Grenache and Carignan (known in Rioja as Mazuelo), or aged for extended periods in oak (traditionally American Oak) where barrel notes impart more layered flavors. Varietal examples of Tempranillo usually exhibit flavors of plum and strawberries.
Tempranillo is an early ripening variety that tends to thrive in chalky vineyard soils such as those of the Ribera del Duero region of Spain. In Portugal, where the grape is known as Tinto Roriz and Aragonez, it is blended with others to produce Port wine.
In 1905, Frederic Bioletti brought Tempranillo to California where it received a cool reception not only due to the encroaching era of Prohibition, but also because of the grape's dislike of hot, dry climates. It was much later, during the 1980s that Californian Tempranillo wine production began to flourish, following the establishment of suitably mountainous sites. Production in this area has more than doubled since 1993.
During the 1990s, Tempranillo started experiencing a renaissance in wine production worldwide and Amphora has added its name to the list of fine California producers who make this historic and delicious wine.
I walked to the car this morning in the pouring rain and could barely hear myself think for the cacophony of bird song that filled the air. Oh right, it’s spring. That time of year when everything and well, everybody, fluffs up and shows off their colors. In the vineyards this is happening too. Tightly compacted buds formed the previous summer find the perfect ratio of temperature and daylight (called degree days) and before you know it, they’re bursting forth in a mighty push of leaves and flower clusters destined to be our next vintage. The process is much like a telescoping wand and it never fails to amaze me how quickly it all happens. A few points of interest regarding grapevines: first of all propagation needs neither bee nor birdsong as the vines are self- pollinating and secondly, the flowers on a vine are so miniscule as to go virtually unnoticed by even careful observer. The showy peach blossoms down the road at Dry Creek Peach and Produce will provide the best flower you can find in the valley but the lowly grapevine blooms, well, they're a yawn. Soon after the flowering cycle, small bb-sized grapes appear all in green, no matter that vine produces red or green grapes they all start this way. The transition of color for red grapes, called veraison, occurs around mid-July.
The spring season in the vineyard requires many activities. That beautiful crop of mustard and legumes that grew between the rows during the winter must be disked into the soil to create a vital nutrient package which encourages the greening of leaves and lightening of soil. The vines must also be trained on their cordons and require the studied hand of the vineyard worker to maintain the fruiting line of the vine. There are many types of trellising to be found in the vineyard and it’s fun while driving down Dry Creek Road to name the different styles you see. Overall, the vineyard is a dynamic growing place and vineyard managers and growers alike look to keep all things in balance so that fruit and canopy are proportionate to root systems and particularly this year, to irrigation strategies. If all goes well, the harvest will produce a vintage unique to all others, created by the conditions of the particular year, the craft of farmer, and the art of the winemaker. Each element will be reflected in that amazing bottle you’ll drink to toast the awakening of a future Spring.
Saturday, February 8, 2014 will be an evening to remember as Rick and Bridget welcome you to our annual Winemaker Dinner. Chef Martin Courtman will provided a sumptuous menu including Wild Mushroom and Truffle Oil Ragout, Black Angus Beef Tenderloin with Walnut Risotto, and a Chocolate Decadence Cake with Fresh Raspberry Coulis and Creme Chantilly Rick will be pouring exceptional vintages of some of our favorite varietals both in pre-release, current release, and library selections.
So gather friends together and make it a special night at
Tickets $140/ $120 club per person and are available here or by calling 707-431-7767.
October 16, 2018
February 24, 2018
February 3, 2018
November 25, 2017
October 21, 2017
May 25, 2017
May 30, 2016
May 13, 2014
April 1, 2014
January 20, 2014