Monday, December 12, 2005
Road Trip: Black Friday Wine Tasting, Part 2
After leaving Christopher Creek, we headed to our favorite winery, F. Teldeschi Winery on Dry Creek Road. Well, it the favorite with Karen and I; today was the day to introduce Polly to Teldeschi wines and winemaker Dan Teldeschi.
But first, a drive through valley west of Healdsburg, along Dry Creek Road.
Public Service Announcement:
Did I mention that the rivers here flood during the winter rains, and that we have earthquakes? BIG earthquakes (think San Francisco 1906, Loma Prieta, and Northridge). And actors for governators. And 10 percent of the country's population. Did I mention California is a really awful place to live so if you don't already live here, you do not want to move here, okay? Go away. The door's closed. Well, except for visitors who want to enjoy the sights and sample the fruits of the vines and groves before they go back home.
On Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, in case you are just tuning in, so designated because it is the first big holiday shopping day of the year), the day was sometimes brightly sunny, other times overcast and cool. But any gloom was dispelled by the deciduous leaves of trees vines gone russet and gold in the Fall.
The Eggs enjoyed their ride through wine country, perched in their car seat on the car's center console.
When we arrived at Teldeschi, we were pleased, after the crush at Christopher Creek, to see no other cars there. We went into the tasting room to find Winemaker Dan.
Dan was at work upstairs, so while Karen went to get him, I liberated a couple of the bottles out for tasting, and took them outside to the Eggs.
By the time I went back inside to get a glass going for myself, a group of people had arrived, so I snatched Karen's glass (since she was so rude as to not make sure Dan poured one for me) and took it outside to enjoy with the Eggs.
Here are Eggs enjoying the view overlooking the Teldeschi zinfandel vines and the intersection of Dry Creek Road and Lambert Bridge Road.
Just visible to the left is the corner of the old store and bar, now part deli and delicacy shop for those looking for some Italian and other goodies (olives, cheeses, sandwiches, etc.) to sustain tourists and residents alike who are out enjoying the day.
Here's a close up of the Teldeschi zin vines.
And a close-up of Eggs and wine bottles that I stupidly forgot to face forward so you could see the names.
Dan's brother, John, grows the grapes: zinfandel, petite sirah (Karen's favorite) Carignane, and some Cabernet, Gamay, and Malvasia. We are both big fans of Winemaker Dan's Terranova, a blend of several of their grapes. You'd see that on their website, but I see it doesn't reflect their current selection or current wineclub offering. Gee, guess we'll just have to make another trip up there to let Dan know...!
And, speak of the devil, heeere's Dan! See Eggs watching Dan? The F. Teldeschi Winery tasting room is very unlike the majority of tasting rooms you are likely to visit, here in Sonoma and Napa counties. It reminds me more of the small rural family wineries in Italy. Funny, enthusiastic, and generally disheveled from working in the winery or in the office, clad in flannel against the chill in both, Dan's a breath of fresh air in a long day of wine tasting.
While the Russian River and Dry Creek Valley hasn't become as snobby as the eastern side of Sonoma, the wineries have become more business-like, a bit stuffy. Good wines, very definitely, but with some of the joie de vivre gone. Not so with Teldeschi.
But Eggs and humans do not live by wine alone (though we often give it a hearty try), and so we must eat, something more substantial than the decimated olives and cheese of earlier in the day.
And so we headed to the town of Sonoma for sustenance before diving into the opening of the holiday crafts fair in Napa.
We decided on Deuce, where Karen and I had lunch a couple of times during the year she was visiting her hand surgeon a lot (such a tiny bone! so many surgeries!). We've never actually eaten an actual meal at Deuce. When we go, we order several of their appetizers. Like their entrees, their appetizers change seasonally, depending on what's fresh in the local markets and not so local markets. Everything has been wonderful, and tonight was no different.
We again ordered lots of different things, this time accompanied by a bottle of Teldeschi's Terranova. Here, you see the Sommelier Eggs have opened the wine and made sure the cork is damp on the wine end, dry on top.
While waiting for our food, we suffered through Deuce's hideous rosemary bread. The stuff was so bad we suffered through three refills of it. Considering all three of us eschew gratuitous carbs for various reasons, Deuce was lucky - otherwise, I suspect we could easily have cleaned them out of all the rosemary bread they had on hand that night!
Let's see, what did we have besides the rosemary bread... We had the lobster pot pie; endive and roast pepper salad with glazed walnuts and Point Reyes Bleu, dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette; crispy calamari with a tarragon lemon aioli sauce (I get all the little tangles of tentacles since Karen and Polly are wimps and don't realize how fun they are to eat); roasted butternut squash ravioli in a brown butter sage sauce; and Deuce's lovely mixed olives warmed in olive oil and garlic.
By meal's end, Eggs were sleepy, and so we tucked them into their carrier and went on our way. Because they were still asleep when we got to Napa, we left them in the car rather than risking them in the crush of the faire's opening night.
They continued to sleep through the faire and the ride home, dreaming of wines and vines and olives and cheese and hideous rosemary bread.
Not a bad first Road Trip!