Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Off to wine country

Ah, Napa. The place where I (hopefully convincingly) detect tobacco or chocolate in my wine, where I swirl the glass and look at the “legs,” and where I stick my schnozz down deep into a glass and pretend that when I inhale with gusto I know what I’m smelling for. The first time I ever went tasting was with my friend Amanda, years ago, who was the bartending instructor at the New England Culinary Institute: she hipped me to all the nuances but I’ve since forgotten.
I can say, however, that this here discriminating palate can instantly tell a Bud Lite from a Sam Adams.
I hit Napa this last Friday with Daron and Edgar who were visiting from Denver (last seen on this blog in their Halloween costumes). I couldn’t believe how pretty Napa is in autumn, because the grape vines turn color just as if they were maple trees in Vermont! The whole landscape was reddish, ochre, golden… I was in love.
Despite a well-meant turn off the beaten path that rendered 2/3 of the carload nauseous, we had a great time hopping from winery to winery. Napa is a lot less crowded this time of year. We hit V. Sattui (one of my favorites for the deli and picnic grounds), St. Francis (didn’t actually taste here; walking off the carsickness), Ravenswood (one of my favorites for its gorgeous logo), Schug (the name intrigued), Sebastiani (can’t come up with another parenthetical that has nothing to do with wine), and tried to hit Christian Brothers, but apparently the brothers lost the faith; there’s a culinary school there now. Alas we didn’t go to Hess, where I love to visit the art gallery with the on-fire typewriter (have you noticed that I choose wineries with focuses other than on wine? I’m like the people who go to Las Vegas and never gamble).
I do like wine; in fact, there have been several choice times in the last few months where a big glass of Cabernet Sauvignon was like the nectar of the gods to me. And what a beautiful loll that produces….
Photo info:
top: view from St. Francis
next: Daron, left, and Edgar tasting at V. Sattui
left: Edgar pores over the wineries map before we leave
below: Statue of St. Francis at his titular winery. Although I'm not Catholic, I like this saint because the animals liked him.

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