Region: Santa Ynez, California
I first had Amplify wines while at Cliff's Edge, a restaurant I've been frequenting since I moved to Los Angels mostly for its Jungle Cruise-esque patio, California-savory menu and for impressing out of town family, but now mostly for its wine (and its patio). My friend Roni Ginach took over as wine director there this past spring, making it a oenophile's paradise. Roni is one of my favorite and most trusted people to just be like, "BRING ME WHATEVER YOU THINK IS DELICIOUS!" and then like a magical wine wizard, she does just that.
It was Roni who turned me onto Amplify's carignane at Cliff's Edge one night, and subsequently made me a full-on fan girl. I've been crushing bottles of the carignane like no tomorrow because when you chill it, it tastes just like cranberry juice (which I love). Also, I love their wine making practices. This small winery is ran by Cameron and Marlen Porter and they are "not fans of dogma", which basically means they may not be following every word that Rudolph Steiner put out, but they do care about their product and their land. They use native yeasts and neutral fermentations, farm for nurturing their ecosystem, and the only additive is sulfur (which is necessary to create wines that can age).
I was pretty much over the moon when I found out they had a viognier. Viognier is a cheeky white varietal that loves playing with misdirection. On the surface, it doesn't seem like a wine I would like very much. Everything about it from its color (faded 80's gold) to its bouquet (old 80's Dior perfume) scream "Ahhhh probably semi-sweet!" Which is not a risk I like taking. But I took it once and was glad I did. The palate is actually dry and drinkable despite being robustly floral and fruity.
Amplify's viognier is even more of a treat than your normal California viognier. I've had many from California that are a little thick and a little too rich, but Amplify does a stupendous job of balancing that richness with its tart, au naturale attributes. It is so complex and full of flavor, but is just so god damn citrus-ly carefree with such a lively finish I want to put on my bikini and run through some sprinklers (god damn am I bummed I can't do it the first summer I FINALLY have a backyard as an adult).
AHHH IT TASTES LIKE A COLD THICK BREEZE OF SOUR APPLES AND TROPICAL FRUITS THAT I WISH I WAS OUTSIDE DRINKING RIGHT NOWWW... but can't because a group of grey hawk bros have nested in my neighbor's tree and swoop at my pomeranians and it gives me great anxiety because I don't want my dogs to get taloned by FLYING BEASTS (that happen to be beautiful, but fuck them for trying to pick up my dogs for dinner WHICH ISN'T EVEN POSSIBLE THEY ARE SO DELUSIONAL, but still beautiful).
This wine tastes like summer, which I know I say a lot, but I'll never stop saying it. A California girl at heart, I'll never stop comparing the wines I love to bodies of water, fresh cut grass, hot concrete and sand, and unadult-erated freedom.
I'm so sad it's almost August. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to savor July, but remember when summer lasted forever? Bums me out when I think about how our perception of time is relative to how much time we have experienced and how time will only be shorter the longer we live it.
But then again, there are moments that last forever. Small tiny moments. Pressing your fingertips into crispy, dry sand on the dunes. Your feet stretching into unknown, cold areas inside your sheets. Showering after swim practice. The golden light as it fell across the California coast and across your grandmother's bedroom. All these things are so fleeting and yet, here they are. Fresher than tomorrow's farmer's market offerings, here those feelings are.
The Amplify viognier captures that for me. Those tiny moments. The perfect balance between brisk & fun, and whole-hearted & overwhelming.
Tasting notes: Hard floral on the nose, but citrus and tropical and nectarines on the palate. Long finish, like you swallowed a mouthful of the Pacific. <3
Yes, that's a <3
Ross Test: A little too floral! Stick to the glass.