Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Going Back to Cali pt 2

After the outrageous brews of Lagunitas we drove northeast of Petaluma to meet up with hometown boy Mike Drash of Tallulah Winery. Mike has worked for some of the best & most highly regarded wineries in California (ahem..Far Niente). Those big bombastic style wines of some of his previous wineries may not be my thing but I definitely like what he is doing at Tallulah. His sauvignon blanc & syrahs are deep, lush, spicy & delicious.
We pulled up at Farina Vineyard near Glen Ellen & were greeted by a smiling Mike Drash, his two dogs & a cooler full of wine perched on the back of his truck. He obviously knows the way to southerner's hearts. As we sipped his Farina Vineyard chardonnay Richie & Brad pulled out the dungeness crab. The sweet, succulent, briny richness of the crab matched up wonderfully against the rich, round texture of the chardonnay. Its acidity also cut through the suppleness of the crab.
The latest addition to the Drash family is Chester, a golden lab who was HUGE. Both Chester & Dexter (not pictured but a super sweet chocolate lab) romped around the vineyard as we sipped the fruits of their Dad's labor. Once it was time to leave we jumped in our vans & drove north to our houses in Guerneville. Once we changed & cleaned up a bit we headed over to Hook & Ladder winery for a little bbq amongst the vines.
The lovely people at Hook & Ladder (thanks Kate!) set a this beautiful table for us between the vines & the bocce court. Obviously a few fierce games broke out before & after dinner. Their sauvignon blanc was spicy & smelled of fresh habeneros which really got our mouths watering. I think my favorite of theirs was the carignane which had these smooth edges, an earthy spice & a nice dark core.
As you can see my girl Fiona is enjoying a bit of the sauvignon blanc herself.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Going back to Cali pt 1

Our long awaited Joe's Wine Club trip to Sonoma has come & gone & I'm still basking in how wonderful of an experience it was.
The best way to start it all off was our DIRECT FLIGHT to SFO. It's been too long since I've had a direct flight & they are truly the last enjoyable things about air travel. As you can see from above I was getting myself in the right mindset for a week of professional imbibing. When we touched down we went immediately to our hotel, grabbed a quick bite & crashed. The next day I was up bright & early (still on Central time) & ventured out for coffee.
But not before gazing out of my hotel room up at Coit Tower for a bit. I met up with cohorts Richard & Kelly to peruse the Wharf.
These succulent looking bad boys were just calling out "eat me"! so we scooped up some to take up to wine country.
After wandering around & checking out the waterfront we hopped in our rental vans & headed north to our first stop of the trip: Gloria Ferrer.
I absolutely adore bubbly & Gloria does a good job making good quality affordable bubbles. I wish more people would drink bubbly on a regular basis...but I digress. The wonderful staff at Gloria had set up tables & lunch for us right on a lovely terrace overlooking the vineyards. As we sipped their lovely wine the sun warmed us but didn't bake us. Each different bottle expressed a unique fruit flavor & texture. The Blanc de Blancs & Royal Cuvee were my favorite. They were bright, nutty, floral & not too fruit forward.
We said our goodbyes & thank yous & headed toward more bubbles....beer bubbles.
Lagunitas is one of the biggest craft breweries in the U.S but their size hasn't muddled quality. Their uniquely delicious beers are some of the best I've ever tasted. Ron Lindenbusch led us through a lineup of some of the best beers they make at Lagunitas. After waking up our palates with beer we headed on northward to meet up with a hometown boy made good....