Wine Country Love

For not considering myself much of a wine person, I sure enjoyed Napa and Sonoma! We spent all day driving and finally got to our hotel in Sonoma County late in the afternoon. The hotel had a pool! Luxury of all luxuries. We promptly changed into our suits, poured ourselves some vino in the plastic hotel cups (classy), and hit the pool! Exactly what we needed! Vino, sunshine, and relaxation. Perfect.

The next morning, we woke up and hit the road for Rodney Strong Vineyard where we would do a tour and a tasting. Knowing NOTHING about wine going in, I was a little bit scared. Not going to lie. It was fancy. And intimidating. But I survived and had a blast at the same time.

How beautiful are the grounds of this vineyard? It was gorgeous. So scenic and peaceful.

We started out with a tour and a brief explanation of the wine making process. I’m not even going to pretend that I remember how it all worked. We ended up in this 2 acre warehouse full of barrels. There are approximately 90,000 barrels in this space of all of the different kinds of wine in all different kinds of barrels. It was really interesting to hear about how different conditions affect the grapes differently, and how careful one needs to be throughout this whole process of fermenting and bottling and labeling. So much to keep track of!

It all matters: kind of grapes, how they are crushed, how long they ferment, what kind of barrel the wine goes in, how long it’s in that specific barrel. And then you can start mixing all the different possibilities for more subtle variations. Eek!

Then we headed to the tasting room. Happy day. We tried 5ish varieties.I didn’t find one that I didn’t like! I think I’m going to start reading about wines so that I can learn about different types and pairing and such and so forth.

As if this didn’t make for an awesome enough day, we headed into Napa to take advantage of a lunch/pool package that Cara found for us. It included a 3 course meal and unlimited time to lounge at their pool.

Lunch was a feast beyond any other that I’ve ever consumed. My appetizer was cured salmon with ricotta cheese on toasted flatbread.

I can’t even begin to put words to how amazing this tasted. It was a perfect blend of flavors and textures. The fish, the cheese, the bread, the subtle garlic, the hint of lime….ahhhhh.

For my main dish, I ordered Lobster ravioli, with tomatoes and corn. Once again. Amazing. The ravioli were filled with something that reminded me of a crab ragoon (what’s that stuff called?), and it was all covered with sauted tomato and corn in a cream sauce. Yum.

Desert was vanilla bean ice cream in espresso. I had about 2 shots of espresso and a scoop of vanilla bean in it. The perfect end to a perfect meal!

Three very satisfied people:

We promptly hit the pool. I settled on a lounge chair with a selection of books and magazines and got some quality sun time. Welcome to California! This was pretty much the view for the afternoon.

I’m digging the color contrasts of the landscape in northern California. I had envisioned more of a lush, green environment, but I adore that sharp contrasts of the green vineyards and trees with the brown grass.

Beautiful, no?

What do you appreciate about the unique landscape of where you’re from or a place that you’ve visited? The colors? The weather? The killer sunsets?

Highway 101

Greetings! After we left Portland, we drove down the coast into California. Like all of our west coast driving, it was beautiful, even in the fog and the haze.

Once we got into sunny California, we drove through Redwoods National Park. I’m a tree hugger. What can I say?

I’m ready to crash….good night!