Monday, May 10, 2010

Wine Trip 2010: The Cast of Characters

Just got back from a three day trip to paradise, which in my book is Calistoga, California.  It was an inspired trip. True life confession: I love wine.  Like, a whole lot.  And with a location just north of Napa, the funky rustic town of Calistoga is surrounded by vineyards.  AND if the copious amounts of good wine flowing in the area isn't enough, the town also sits atop a fracture in the earth that causes natural hot springs to abound.  Really.  So we planned a trip with our good friends and caught a flight west (just barely!).  And it was a wonderful trip. Several people made this trip what it was, so let me start there.

The Players

Clementine:  As a dramaturge & operative in the theatre world, Clementine would have done a much better job with this cast of characters section.  During the trip, she offered a very rewarding list of recommendations for wineries & restaurants, an unending supply of patience and positivity, and - like the rest of us – a genuine interest in the grape growing, wine making and especially the wine tasting. She's just a delightful travel companion.

Sam: Photography extraordinaire and key player in DC’s restaurant industry, Sam could probably write this trip off on his 2010 taxes.  And of that fact alone, I am enormously jealous.  Sam utilized his skills to make this trip legit: from the “Welcome Sam Vasfi & Friends” VIP St. Supery experience to the professional photographic documentation. Awesome.

Moose/Daniel:  Amateur photographer & professional question-asker, Daniel enhanced the experience by ensuring that no antique car was left unphotographed and ensuring that our Tofanelli vineyard tour was as educational and remarkable as it could possibly be. Plus, he’s mastered the wine swirl. 

Me/Katie: With my penchant for organization and efficiency, I gladly played the role of taskmaster, chauffeur and Afrin addict.  You can’t evaluate wine aromas with severe nasal congestion, can you? No. 

In key supporting roles:

Japanese Mom: With her disapproving tone and her sometimes-difficult-though-ultimately-loving nature, she reminded us that Mother’s Day was fast approaching.  And that we shouldn’t forget to shake the sake bottle before pouring!!!

Dick Graeser: In one (long) breath, Dick urged us to make every individual we meet happy that they met us (great!), and then he proceeded to list all the Calistoga establishments at which he had horrible experiences so we shouldn’t waste our time there (because they suck!).  Despite his slightly contradictory manner, I think he is amazing and would love for him to be a good family friend (one of the crazy ones). Plus, we got through an entire tasting, and even purchased a couple bottles, without any discussion of the wines. At all.

Vince Tofanelli: If the difficult concept of Authenticity ever gets nailed down by academia, I would imagine this man to be featured as an example in the dictionary entry for the term.  A third generation Italian, he has chosen to carry forward his family’s tradition, by working the land and handcrafting brambly wines with an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. 

Christine & Dan: Though their appearance was decidedly too short, they hopped on the “wine train” with us to experience the Alpha Omega Cabernet Sauvignon 07 Release Party and a luxurious lunch at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville.  Their delectable pastry contributions simply served as icing on the cake of their presence (their presence being the cake…right?). I love them both deeply.

Pretty amazing group.  I just regret not taking a photo of our Japanese Mom. But I imagine Mom doesn't like to have her photo taken, you know, cause she's Mom.

For the itinerary & some lessons learned, stay tuned...

1 comment: