Today in My History
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IN MY OPINION
Cinderella Books Read in 2008
"Keeper of the Bride"
FUNNY THE VLOG
Our Napa Get-Away from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.
THE BEST FOR LAST
17 December 2008
OK. I lied about no wine tasting today. Of course there was wine tasting. We started with the daily mimosa and then the fabulous Carlos presented us with French toast stuffed with cream cheese and walnuts and topped with a multi-berry compote that was to die for (he chose not to make the promised eggs benedict with home-made croissants because of the lactose allergy of Jacob, the other guy at the B&B who had to put up with us for 2 days). Be sure to check the video of the day to see him describe the ingredients!
We packed up the cars and stopped at the nearby Sunshine Foods to pick up some of that fabulous L'explorateur cheese (which I'll take to Santa Barbara for Christmas)
Then we were off to the Vincent Arroyo winery in Calistoga, at the far end of the valley. We had visited this winery before, three years ago on our last Napa Get-Away weekend. The drive was gorgeous, since there was a dusting of snow on the mountain tops from that storm we had yesterday and so much of the vegetation was sporting a fall rust color.
Arroyo's is one of Char & Mike's favorite wineries and Vince was a friend of a college friend of ours. I loved it when we were there last time because they have this great dog who would run up a stack of wine barrels and fetch balls and they also had clothes for little kids, "designed" by the dog (an obvious gift for Brianna). Well, the pile of barrels is now gone (replaced by a more efficient system for wine storage), so no dog activity to videotape, and the kiddie clothes are gone too, so all there was was wine and, frankly, I felt really "wined out," especially for red wine, which was all they were pouring.
Instead, I went outside and took pictures of the dog, and the building, and the vegetation...and the wine.
Rich and Pat left us at this point as they needed to be home, but the remaining four of us pressed on to Char's very favorite winery, Pine Ridge, where Ray, the man in charge, reminded me a lot of my father.
This was, by far, my favorite winery. It may be because the wines we were tasting sell for prices in the $60-$135/bottle range, but they were really so good I finished all of my "tastes." And here I thought I was "wined-out" for the week. This wine was so good I was actually starting to believe the poetic hype on the labels and did taste cherries berries, orange zest, kiwi and citrus but try as I might, I couldn't pick up chocolate, cola, or tobacco. One description reads "silky yet firm chewy tannins" and I swear I thought it said "chewy tampons."
Char and Mike bought enough wine to start their own (small) wine bar. While we liked the wines, we decided that we'd reached our limit on wine purchases (for "we" read "Walt," since I never drink wine at home). We wonder if the type of wine served at Mike & Char's indicates the rating of the guests at their house and decided we should invite ourselves to dinner and see if we get served Pine Ridge or Gallo.
I hated to come home. It was a wonderful get-away being literally wined and dined for three days. I was afraid I was going to have to cook dinner tonight, but Walt volunteered to pick up some Chinese food at the fairly newly opened Panda Express so I could work on getting photos and videos organized.
I have to admit that I had a macabre reaction to returning home. As our wheels turned off the freeway, I was thinking of coming home to no puppies, and feeling sad about Tosca and Poochini. But then I remembered Tosca, the opera. You remember Tosca, the opera. How does our heroine die? She commits suicide by hurling herself off the castle parapets. How did Tosca the puppy die? She fell off the top of Nicki's cage.
This is the last time I name a dog after a tragic heroine!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 89 miles