Some of our nicest moments are when people and places exceed our already lofty expectations. I recently had a series of those moments. I had driven from the Vineyard in McElmo Canyon to Amangiri, an exquisite resort amongst the deeply sculpted canyons above Lake Powell. It was not my first time there having followed its’ inception, creation and opening. So its’ stunning, somewhat severe, beauty was no surprise. Polished dove-grey concrete walls replete with Ulrike Arnold’s savagely beautiful earth paintings. Every brilliant color and texture from this technicolor, desiccated world. The abandon with which Ulrike creates these paintings is so evident as is her meticulous crafting of the myriad textures.
I knew the service would be fastidious and constant; the furnishings reserved and elegant; the gentle hum of conversation comforting. I had often perched before the deep, fierce oven watching nimble hands push and then recover innumerable dishes from the terrifying inferno. And of course all those things were still in place. So what lifted this experience from the wonderfully predictable to the truly memorable?
Essentially these elements. Intensely thoughtful, delicious food; effortless, almost instinctive service and arguably the most important of all, a palpable charm and warmth.
Sutcliffe Vineyards has always had their wines at Amangiri, actually from the day it opened, and we have had remarkable convivial evenings of wine and humor. We shared Krishna Hathaway’s indelibly elegant wine tastings and pairings. Poured our wines whilst basking in a Vermillion and Crimson as the sun reluctantly slid behind the towering Buttes.
With great excitement that relationship is returning, Sutcliffe Vineyards humble idiosyncrasy and delicious wines are to celebrated again in this remarkable setting. No vineyard could ask for more. Probably by April we will have scheduled some evenings of food, humor and wine in our own inimitable style.