Monday, April 9, 2012

California Dreamin' (Drinkin) Part Three

If you don't care about wine you might as well just stop reading now.   But I figure the next time we go to Napa we might want to know what we did!   Hence the detailed blog entry.

A memorable experience came at Saintsbury which had, not a bar, but what essentially looked like a farmhouse table.

See?  Table and chairs.  You could be getting ready for a pancake breakfast.  Except for, you know, the wine bottles.

The winery is by appointment only which at first I thought was really snobby.   Seriously?  We can't just show up whenever we want?  We have to get there at the stroke of 10?   Michael wisely scheduled this winery for 10 am so we could be punctual to start our day, but then visit the remaining stops at whatever pace suited us.   Ten points Gryffindor.

Our experience here again shows that I should not snap to judgement.  We walked in and it was just us, and the wine expert.  I am kicking myself that I do not remember her name.  She sat down with us, told us the history of the winery (its owners have remained the same since the 70s!) and explained, in detail, the wines we tasted.  It was quite charming, and a bit rustic feeling, but I liked the authenticity.

The wines were mostly Pinot Noirs, which were a welcome change from the IN YOUR FACE CABERNETS we tasted in Napa.  Trust me the use of all caps is warranted.  She mentioned the vineyards the grapes came from, and how their proximity to the valley or mountains, or whether they faced east or west affected the variety of grape, but also the wine.  Who knew?  It's quite comfortable to sit at a table alone with the wine expert and ask anything you'd like.  Your feet get a rest, there are no groups of women in pink feather boas (truth be told I didn't see much of that in California.   Must be a summer upstate thing), and since you are sitting and talking and being all casual, you don't really think about what you are doing.   This leads to breaking out the AmEx and buying a boatload of delicious wine, as you might imagine.  Who wouldn't want to relive the fun sit-down wine tasting by drinking favorites a year (or more!  Reds have aging potential!) from now?

In addition to thoroughly enjoying our personalized, private, seated wine tasting, I enjoyed Sainsbury for the restroom.   It was not a fancy bathroom, or anything special or memorable about the room itself.   What I loved was this sign.   The funniest part of all is the photo was obviously taken in that exact bathroom based on the floor, wall color, etc.   If ever there was a reason to close the lid!  

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