Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wine Trip 2010: The Itinerary, Day 2

Photo: Sam Vasfi

9:00am  We met for breakfast and coffee at Calisoga Roastery, a great local coffee shop with big communal tables where locals camp out to read the Calistoga newspaper.  They put a lot of love into the food they prepare - breakfast sandwiches, waffles, etc. Good coffee too.

10:00am  We headed to nearby Graeser Winery  where owner/winemaker Dick Graeser served us up our first tasting of the trip.  To say that he is a character would be an understatement.  While we tasted his Semillon, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Franc, and dessert wine (with his spicy chocolate - yum), he talked to us about how the world would be better if we all were nicer to each other, which local restaurants he's had bad experiences with, how he and his friend like to finish each other's sentences with completely ridiculous ideas, and politics.  Not a mention of wine.  But he directed us to hike up the hill of his vineyard for great views.  And that we did, followed by his Great Danes Jill and Jolie.   

11:30am  From there, we drove south on 29 to Oakville Grocery to pick up some ingredients for our picnic lunch later.  This local version of Dean & Deluca was small with most of its space crammed with local products - jams, cheese, sauces, dips, bread, pastries - and all leftover space was packed with people.  Crowded, but great place to pick up lunch!

12:30pm  The visit to Yountville winery St. Supery was arranged by Marvin's wine rep.  Upon arrival, we happened upon this sign:

We were like "Whoah, this really is VIP!" They waived our tasting fee, which was great, but we didn't get a guided tour of the winery.  Oh well.  The wines were good - I liked their Semillon-Chardonnay blend and their Moscato was really refreshing - not syrupy like some tend to be.  And at the counter, the group of girls next to us were all from DC - kind of funny.  It was entertaining watching the wine person (pourer? expert?) flirt with them.  And then he schooled us on "situational drinking" and we proceeded to make some "The Situation" jokes.


2:00pm  Sequoia Grove to picnic, with a bottle of white. Delightful.

4:00pm  Prager Ports. Simply put, this was a man cave. A bunch of dudes standing around, drinking port and pouring port tastings for some other folks who were standing around.  There was no counter separating us and no formality - other than paying for the tasting. We were all in this low-light room with US and international dollar bills covering the walls and dust accumulating on the windowsills.  The ports were fantastic - caramel-y, nutty, buttery, delicious, and the dudes were exactly what you'd imagine California port-making dudes to be like. Plus you get to keep your tasting glass! Highly recommended.

7:30pm Drinks at sundown at Auberge du Soleil. It came highly recommended by Clem's friend, and it would've been really awesome had we been there while the sun was still above the horizon.  But we just missed it.  However, it was still a gorgeous view, and we enjoyed complimentary valet for our Hyundai, alongside the Benzes and the Escalades. Seriously ritzy place, that Auberge du Soleil. 

9:00pm  Lowkey pizza dinner at Bosko’s Trattoria. After a day and a half of luxurious meals, we wanted to tone it down for dinner. Bosko's was kind of forgettable, but perhaps thats a result of all the wine. Decent pizza, ginormous tiramisu (not sure if that was a good thing). But friendly service and had the lowkey vibe (and price) we were looking for.

10:30pm It's a small miracle that we made it anywhere after Bosko's after a long, wine-filled, food-filled day.  But we wanted to experience the Calistoga nightlife (tongue rather firmly in cheek), so we headed to me and Daniel's hotel - Calistoga Inn, Restaurant & Brewery for hip hop night. And our glimpse into the Calistoga nightlife scene was rewarding.  It was a strange scene.  I sent the following text to my sister/friend: "Deb and Beth are at our bar in Calistoga except they're in their 40s.  Big tall highlighted bangs and bedazzled jeans.  Trying to get back what they once had, on the dancefloor." 

Calistoga Inn has a microbrewery and we enjoyed their beers. We closed the place down. And we loved every minute of it. I think there's video evidence, but I don't have it. End of Day 2. 

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