The first time the Boss took me on a romantic getaway to Sonoma County,
I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you! Used to the somewhat down-home
affairs that are East Coast wineries in the U.S.A., I was at first amazed,
then amused, but finally bored by the chic elegance of the winery
tasting rooms -- and this wasn't even Napa, but it's homely sister Sonoma!
"Ho hum! Another modern architectural marvel executed in native stone
and custom wrought iron. *Yawn* Are there any gay bars up here?"
By the end of the day, even the Boss, who had been trying to convince
me of the romantic possibilities excited by sterile stainless steel
tasting bars, had had his fill. So it was with some excitement that we
noticed a little sign pointing back a country lane (paved, fortunately
... mud wreaks such havoc on my brown Skechers!) saying "Frick." Well,
we had to go see this winery, if for no other reason so I could use my
obligatory "frickin' a" joke.
A ways down the little lane, we came to Frick Winery. We were in the
midst of rolling hills scattered with trees and vines and houses, as one
might imagine the wine country of France to be. (Sadly, much of France
is actually more like the Central Valley). Nestled in the crotch of a
hillock was a small, unassuming building, surrounded by barns, tractors,
tanks, and grapevines. This was Frick, blissfully unpolished after
hours of ridiculously pretentious (though lovely) marketicture (you know,
As we entered the small, rustic tasting room, we were greeted by a
shaggy dog of the most friendly nature named Lucia (see
photo on right). Well, this certainly was just the antidote we needed! A very real and
rustic establishment. What was even more impressive was the fact that
the wine maker himself, Bill Frick, was pouring the wines for
tasting. And many of the wines were from vines that were actually
growing just outside the door! Believe me, if you have ever been to the usual
Sonoma or Napa winery that features snooty (if pretty) young persons
behind the tasting bar pouring wines that are 50% "from somewhere in
California" then you certainly realize what a delightful change this was.
Are those wine spots, Lucia?
However the true test of a winery, of course, is not its tasting room and
bottle babes (and you KNOW I mean the boys... in fact, wasn't that
what I was just complaining about?) but its wine. Frick came
through with flying colors. Chewy merlots, indeed, though that is passing
common. Yummy varietals are not so common, but Frick had them. The
real winner was the Syrah. We had tasted several that day and
none suited our palates, but the Frick Syrah was simply outstanding!
Ever since then, we have always taken our friends to our "find," Frick
Winery, and we have never been disappointed. It never fails, even the
most jaded palates end up buying at least one bottle at Frick.
On our most recent trip, we brought our occasional companions Punk the
jaded artist and Fruity, who doesn't like wine. We tried everything, of
course. The 1999 Dry Creek Valley Syrah, as always, was a big favorite
of mine. Somehow, we ended up with more 2001 Dry Creek Valley Merlot:
we always have some in the cellar, but we are so afraid of running out
that we buy more anyway--it's that good. The Boss loves
varietals, and who am I to disagree, especially from Frick? You've got to try
the 2002 Dry Creek Valley Cinsaut and the 2002 Mendocino County
Carignane. I know we bought at least a bottle of his Viognier, but we seem to
have already drank it and I didn't take notes, so I'm not sure which
year it was. We didn't end up getting the C2, but it is sure to appeal to
some palates. The 2000 Syrah was good, but may need another year in the
bottle, so we opted for the earlier vintage. Next year we'll probably
be buying the 2000; I'll let you know. The Punk loved the Syrah and got
some for himself. Fruity really liked playing with the dogs.
Bottom line: this is an awesome winery that deserves your support. I
can just about guarantee that if you like wine you will like something
you taste here. And it is a delightful change of scenery from all the
fake frappery of the other vineyards. Enjoy!
Last visited: March 2006