Saturday, December 5, 2009
SIPPING THE LIGHT FANTASTIC
You’ve sipped wine from Napa and Sonoma, you went “Sideways” into Santa Ynez and watch Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen murder merlot – but have you enjoyed the blended grapes from Amador County?
When Richard and I were visiting my brother Bob and his wife Nguyen Thanksgiving week, we discovered some new joys to living in Sacramento. First, there are some really fantastic restaurants including a great new pizza place (soon to be its own blog) – and I love pizza… then there’s Jack’s, a supremely satisfying sandwich place (and, yeh, I really love sandwiches, too) … But Sac, as the natives fondly refer to their city, has more than great food, it has the most varied selection of gorgeous, mature trees outside of Paris, it has a funky, hip, thriving mid-town, parks galore and it is the capital of California. Arnie and Maria live there (well, for now anyway)… Ron and Nancy lived there and Jerry Brown dated Linda Rondstadt when he lived there. One of the city’s biggest assets, however, is that it’s an hour and a half from San Francisio, an hour or so from Tahoe, an hour from Napa/Sonoma and less than an hour from Amador County. Talk about being centrally located!!!
Still sated from the boeuf bourguignon dinner Bob and Nguyen had made the night before (see earlier blog), we packed up some of the leftover cheeses, crackers and fruit for a picnic and headed for wine country in the Sierra foothills.
It was lunch time when we hit Young’s, the first winery on our real life ‘Sideways’ tour. With a rolling hill vineyard, lush, unpretentious gardens, a serene pond, two huge, friendly dogs and a big, ol’ funky barn-like building for tasting, I decided I could live there.
And the wines were good. Especially the reds. In fact, Amador County is famous for its Zinfandels. After the tasting, we found an umbrella-ed picnic table in one of the terraced gardens overlooking the pond and broke out the cheeses and fruits and reveled in the scenery.
Who knew grape vines had ‘foliage?’
Well, I didn’t.
After lunch, we hit three more tasting rooms: Karmere Vineyards & Winery
Toscano Shenandoah Valley Estate Wines
and the Story Winery
Another bottle they had given us awhile ago was a Karmere La Petite Drew Syrah (named after a grandchild, if I recall) which I’m looking forward to having one night with dinner since we liked the syrahs we tasted at that winery.