Wine Tasting in Sonoma Valley
Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
10Trip End Mar 05, 2010
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Kenji needs to get back to Tahoe because it's Presidents' Week ( holiday) and he is fully booked with snowboarding lessons for the next two weeks , but Gail suggests we all go from the airport to Half Moon Bay to eat seafood and suddenly he can't bear to leave us until after lunch! Mmmmmm - scallops, clams, prawns,oysters, crab and loads of other fish
There's a 'Maverick' ( once a year HUGE surfer wave) due the next day and the hard core surfers are piling in to Half Moon Bay together with their followers in huge American R.V's (recreational vehicles) Phew! So many new words to learn.Lovely to breathe the sea ai and see the sea again!
Gill is flying from Zurich , but has only managed to get as far as Munich by Friday night.....so it's Saturday evening before at last we are all together- And then there were six! The last time we all got together was in Singapore two years ago, and it all feels very comfortable. Lots of chatting and laughing.
Gail has a few days off work so we all pile into her people carrier and head towards the birthplace of California wine, a 17 mile long valley surrounded by vineyards.It's also got a history - it was the site of an 1846 uprising by US settlers against the Mexican military command. Short lived , because when the Mexican-American war broke out one month later it was absorbed into the expanded US territory. The revolt did however give California its own state flag.
Determined to start the day with a burst of combined energy ( and to help counteract the effects of re-union wine tasting) we all got up early and went for a walk up Schocken Hill.
For those of us escaping the winter in Europe it was like a sunny start to a promising summer day: heavy dew on the grass, white milkmaid flowers and yellow calendula and glorious sunshine over the valley with its neat rows of perfectly manicured vines - still bare and twisted and waiting for thier leaves and tendrils to emerge.[
Then we set off to test the waters ( or rather the wines!) Chateau St Jean, the first vineyard we went to was in a beautiful setting - reminded Gill of South Africa, Jane of Australia and all of us of that old American drama - Falcon Crest. Oh dear - does that date us! Gracious mellow buildings and beautiful gardens. And we were helped to 5 tastings by Bob and then an older man introducing himself as 'the other Bob'. It was only about 11am - but as Kathy says' it's 6pm SOMEWHERE in the world!' didn't manage to spit any out! There was a nice white pinot gris , and a strange one that left an aftertaste of peanut butter...
On to the next, and then the next. Lunch in a lovely friendly restaurant called the Fig Tree in Glen Allen where the salad was terrific ...mmmmmm...Gail was the driver so we had to get her back to the hotel by 4.30 when there was a wine tasting in the lobby!
The next day we explored the central plaza in Sonoma and posed outside the barraks of the original Sonoma Mission. Another great place for breakfast - not sure what we were ordering - it could sometimes be a foreign language to us! But it was delicious.
Then we set off for the Napa Valley, next to Sonoma. It boasts 200 wineries - but we only visited one - the Black Stalion.
We arrived back at Gail's house in Fremont, bottles clinking in the back of the people carrier. And mistakenly opened the special bottle we were going to keep for our next re-union!