Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wine Tasting and a Sleepover

Wouldn't you know, as I was ruminating on who to hit up for an evening out, the perfect person sent me a random email about nothing in particular. I have only recently reconnected with this old friend from high school, but she's one of those people with whom I feel I never stopped talking to. We both have an interest in wine and traveling, and unlike most of my other friends, she lives relatively nearby. She has recently left her job in order to focus on finishing up with school, and so she is now adjusting to some extra downtime.

I replied to her email and asked what she was up to this weekend, mentioning that I was thinking about going wine tasting. We subsequently made plans to meet up at Twisted Vines Wine Bar in downtown Fulllerton, a place we've both been meaning to try out, since the tastings at Frogs Breath only lasted until 7pm or so. And since my friend was driving to LA in the morning and my house is closer to LA than hers, we planned for her to stay the night at my house as well.

On my way out the door, Bobby called to say that something had come up, and he needed to be on another jobsite in the morning, this one in Anaheim, so he would be coming home for the night after all. He would be there when we got home.

We had a great time, chatting for hours and trying one of the wine flights and a cheese tray. I had never had any of the six cheeses, but they were all very good. We had a kind of blue cheese that was served with honey - a combination I never would have thought of, but which was quite tasty. The wine flight we had included one white and two red wines all from a single producer. This is the flight we tried (description pulled from the Twisted Vines website):

Carina Cellars – Santa Ynez, Ca
Cost: $15, 3oz. pour of each
Founded in 2002 and located just north of Santa Barbara, Carina Cellars is dedicated to making the best Rhone style wines in California’s Central Coast. The wine making approach is traditional and minimalist, with the resulting wines rich in varietal aromas and flavors.

2006 Viognier – Central Coast
This lovely white is a blend of two separate vineyard sites and is aged for 6 months in neutral French oak barrels. Flavors of tropical pineapple, pear and a slight floral twist give this wine just enough weight on the palate. 990 cases produced.
By the Glass: $8; Take Home Price: $13.99
Eh, Viognier is not my favorite white wine, but it was still good. I wouldn't buy a bottle or choose it over another, though. My friend prefers sweeter wines, and didn't finish this one.

2006 Clairvoyant – Santa Ynez
This Chateauneuf du Pape style blend is 55% Syrah, 33% Grenache and 12% Mourvedre. This refreshing red offers a mouthful of fresh red berries and a balanced acidity that makes this wine perfect with almost any type of cuisine. 600 cases produced.
By the Glass: $11; Take Home Price: $22.99
This wine was a very nice, light, balanced red. Very drinkable. I would buy it, and would recommend to anyone that doesn't drink wine often (and those that do).

2005 Syrah – “7 Percent” – Santa Ynez
Oddly enough, this northern Rhone styled Syrah is named after the 7 percent of Viognier that is blended into it. Beautiful characteristics of black currants, cherry and earth tones.
By the Glass: $14; Take Home Price: $27.99
This is a bolder, heavier red than the Clairvoyant. It was good, but I think it needed to open up a little longer. Syrah is not a favorite of mine, but the wine was enjoyable, especially alongside the blue cheese with honey.

While we were chatting and talking, Bobby called. He didn't want to worry me but explained that he'd just been in an accident on his way down the mountain. He explained that everyone was okay, and that although the front end of the truck was pretty banged up, it was perfectly drivable. Knowing those two things, I was not worried, and told him to just get home safe. The poor guy has had so much go wrong for him in the last couple weeks (including, among other things, his 4 month old phone breaking - the LCD screen is shot), that it seems the fates are against him. I tell him that it's just getting all the bad luck out of the way.

When my friend and I finally made it back to the house, Bobby was there playing Halo. We chatted for a little while longer, drinking some port and watching the Star Wars episode of Family Guy. But we were all tired and didn't last much longer.

This morning, Bobby left early, and I was feeling energized, and was up early with him and started cleaning the kitchen. When my friend woke up we had scrambled omlettes with mushrooms and onions and red bell peppers and chatted some more. We listened to music and got ready for the day.

Sometimes I forget how much I enjoy hanging out with friends, sleeping over, and making breakfast in the morning. It probably has to do with being from a large family, and the breakfasts my mom used to make when most of us still lived at home. Sometimes just eggs and pancakes, sometimes my parents would go all out and make German Pancakes with baked apples or lemon and confectioner's sugar, or jam and cream cheese... with sausage and bacon and eggs and potatoes of course. I enjoy the company of others in conjuction with eating. And I've always loved a good breakfast...

1 comment:

Keith said...

The winemaker for Carina is Joey Tensley, one of our favorites from Santa Maria/Santa Ynez. In fact, Tensley and Carina share a tasting room in Santa Ynez.

I personally prefer Tensley wines over Carina, but they're not bad. Just not up to his own label's level, I think.