I absolutely adore Smith Story Wines – Eric and Ali and Sandwich. I just love their story – no pun intended. I remember last summer everyone kept recommending them to me. So, I checked them out back in January as part of my 30 Wineries in 30 Days Adventure.
During the pandemic, they seemed to be the first to embrace change in their industry. (I could be wrong, but that’s how I remember it and this is my blog – ha!) They were the first winery to host a virtual tasting event on March 21st. Now all of the cool wineries are doing it! They were the first winery I recall doing door-to-door home deliveries of wine. While I was chatting with Eric, he complimented Ali. I wish I could remember the exact words he used. But, basically he said Ali just went to town embracing the change and adapting to closed tasting rooms and restaurants. It looks as if it is working for them!
Because I just love this husband and wife team – and their dog, Lord Sandwich – I follow them closely on social media. And they excel at social media! I felt like I knew them personally. I know what they eat for dinner – because they tell us! I felt like Lord Sandwich would be so thrilled to finally meet me that he’d just jump up and give me big, wet kisses. Obviously, I knew that wouldn’t happen. I was pretty giddy to visit with them again now that I’ve been essentially stalking them and getting to know them for the past 10 months.
For my tasting, I had their patio all to myself at 4pm on a Monday. That’s not really that surprising given that it was 4pm on a Monday up in the Anderson Valley. I could see Sandwich checking me out through the tasting room door. Oh, I hoped that they would let Sandwich come out and greet me!
Eric brought me a sample of their Rosé – I just love their Rosé. It’s a Rosé of Pinot Noir from Rheingau Germany. And I believe it’s their last – at least from Germany. I’ve blown through more than a case of this stuff this year. I was thrilled they still had some. And may need to order more before it’s gone. I made some passing comment about Rosé being easy. Eric quickly corrected me. He explained that he thinks that it’s the most difficult wine to make. WHAT??? And I now see his point – it can quickly become just another Pinot Noir if you’re not careful. I now have a new appreciation for my favorite Rosés.
Eric asked if he minded if he came out to join me during my tasting and brought out Sandwich. Inside I was screaming – PLEASE!!!!! That’s exactly what I want! I don’t want to sit here alone on your patio and watch the dog through the door. I want to chat with you about your wine and whatever other topics we veer over to. So that’s exactly what we did. Eric and Sandwich sat many, many feet away where we both felt comfortable enough to be unmasked.
Many of the wines I had tasted before. However, on this day I was enjoying them even more than I had remembered. I really need to become a StoryTeller since I’ve purchased multiple cases of their wine this year already.
We had an interesting conversation about his opinion/preference of wine making. After his comments about Rosé, I was curious – does he prefer single vineyard wines or blends. Eric prefers single vineyard wines over blending. This may soon become a topic of conversation I have when chatting with winemakers. I’m intrigued.
Then the UPS truck showed up! Because I’m a crazy stalker fan on social media, I knew that their UPS driver was named Cliff. And I knew that Sandwich would be excited to see him – because Cliff brings treats! I was happy to see that temperatures had dropped enough that they’re able to start shipping out fall allocations. It’s been SO warm in California this fall and I know several wineries were still sitting on wines that they had hoped to ship by now.
The wines I got to taste through (in addition to the Rosé were: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Helluva Pinot Noir, 2017 Boonies Pinot Noir, and the 2016 Pickberry Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’ve been following along on my posts from this trip you’ve already “heard” me talk about my aversion to Sauvignon Blanc. Here again, I was proven wrong. I really enjoyed Eric’s Sauvignon Blanc. And some came home with me. An embarrassingly large amount of Sauvignon Blanc came home this trip. Oh, how I do love to be proven wrong. I loved both of his pinots. And I enjoyed his Cabernet Sauvignon. I didn’t ask. But, I’d seen that they had been pouring the last of their Pickberry Merlot over the weekend. This merlot-hating gal was really curious to try it. But, we were running out of time and I had dinner reservations at the restaurant behind me (more on that tomorrow).
I regret not going inside of the tasting room. I know, that’s generally not allowed during the pandemic. But, they sell a fun, eclectic collection of vintage glassware. And people are allowed to go in to shop their sundries. But, again, time was not on my side. I guess I’ll just have to go back for another visit. It’s totally worth the drive up from Santa Rosa/Healdsburg. I highly recommend the visit!