Thursday, October 16, 2008

Driving to Alder Creek Vineyard

I've been getting Syrah and Malbec from the Alder Creek and Windy Ridge vineyards for several years. These vineyards are located just outside of Alderdale, close to the Columbia River in the Horse Heaven Hills Appellation. The road up to the vineyards is narrow and twisty, and typically I arrive there late at night, in the dark, prior to picking the next morning. Under these conditions, the desert vegetation crowding the edges of this last few miles of road takes on an otherworldly, almost aquatic appearance. The headlights of the truck cause the pastel colors of the plants to leap out of the darkness, their reds, greens, blues and yellows bright against the blackness of the night. Their succulent-shaped fans, globes and branches look like nothing so much as a coral reef, absent only the swimming fauna (the animal denizens of this area being more likely to be four-legged). It is easy to pretend I'm Jacques Cousteau, piloting a high-speed submarine through an underwater race course. What was that noise, are we under attack by hammerhead sharks? No, it was just a cattle-fish guard.

The drive home in daylight is much less vivid, the colors of the night washed out into the dusty sun-bleached backdrop of the desert.

Unfortunately this may be my last trip up this road for a while, as these vineyards are being put up for auction and there's no telling if the new owner will be willing to sell the fruit....

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