Last week we took a vacation to Napa wine country and had a grand time touring the beautiful countryside; we found the wineries to be very approachable and proud of their wine heritage. We joined my sister, Cheryl, and her husband, Ron, and tasted some mighty fine California wines. Most of our tastings were paired with cheeses that enhanced the flavors of the wines. I consider myself to be a novice consumer who drinks wines that I’m familiar with, but always open to new recommendations. During the various tastings, I learned that the nuances and flavors of wine are personal and there are no rules (see my About page for more on that one) – buying decisions should be based on what excites your palette. Both David and I realized that we had already determined our flavor preferences: wines with less tannins (dryness, tartness) and a supple mouth feel that is velvety and full flavored (fruit-forward is good). We found that if we stick with those criteria then we rarely go wrong, especially when it’s an investment. At one winery, we tasted about five different wines that Cheryl & Ron cooed over but David and I didn’t taste the same love. We would catch each other’s eye and give a quick signal for no; thankfully (and sometimes surprisingly) we were always on the same page.
Pictures: Wine barrels with character (from the top-offs spilling over), a stained glass window off the beaten path at Robert Mondavi, and lots of barrel storage at Rodney Strong.
Wow! Can you believe we celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary? Cheryl and Ron took us to dinner at Tra Vigne in St. Helena where we feasted on some incredible meals made from local food. We all devoured the appetizer, a house-made mozzarella which was heated through, sliced table-side and served over mouth-watering crostini of Ciabatta flavored with olive oil, garlic and sea salt. It tasted so fresh and is one I will never forget. Sneaky Cheryl and Ron surprised us with a moan-worthy bottle of 2003 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, a favorite that we had added to our own collection from an earlier tasting. The evening was magical with great food, laughter, wine and family (and my honey).
When in doubt, have a picnic! David is plating up some peppered salami with green and black Cerignola olives, Castelvetrano olives, some sweet French bread, deliciously creamy Mt. Tam cheese and Highway One cheese. It all went perfectly with a superb 2010 Sauvignon Blanc from Heibel Ranch Vineyards. Life is good! We shall have fond memories to reminisce about when we enjoy our new wines at home.
Remember to let it all hang out every once in a while…..
Cheers to you. Eat well and share the love!