Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Road Trip I: Wine Tasting

On the last Saturday of 2006, Betza got her first road trip! Betza, Karen, Polly, Ed and I took off for an afternoon of wining and fressing. In November, Karen and her cousin, Swanee, visited several new-to-us wineries, a couple of which Karen really liked and wanted to share with Polly and I. Ed, Polly's husband, decided to accept Polly's invitation to come along with us, so our day was extra special.

On our way north to the first winery, I looked over Karen's first attempt at knitting a sock. Unfortunately, despite my having cast it on and worked the first couple of rows for her, it was hopelessly messed up (and I'm being very polite here) and needed to be frogged (ripped out) and redone. Since none of us had the needle I needed to cast it on again, we decided to stop first at A Good Yarn in Windsor, a yarn store that was already on our list to visit to get a pair of needles for Karen and get up close and personal with some luscious yarns.

While Karen and Polly were making their purchases, I sat for a bit with Betza, and took her first ever road trip photo next to an unfelted clog and its felted mate.

You'll note that Betza's little poncho has been folded back to make a little hat. I think she's happier this way.

Next we took off for Healdsburg and Seghesio Family Vineyards. I'm afraid I can't personally say much about the wine. The high dose antibiotic protocol I've been on for three months has pretty much killed my taste for wine, not to speak of causing recurring nausea. And, as I found out when I uploaded the photos taken during the day, causes a lot of microtremors, so most of my photos did not come out. Even the best of them are far below my usual quality, but that isn't going to stop me from inflicting them on you because, after all, we must celebrate Betza's first trip!

So, the first thing you probably do NOT think of when you think of "Sonoma Wine Country" is venom. While I was looking around all the shirts and wine-drinking paraphernalia for sale at Seghesio while Karen, Ed, Polly and Betza were enjoying the wine and banter with the very nice Seghesio folks, I spotted a black ball cap with a serpentine design embroidered on it, with a single word: Venom.

No, no one here is a big fan of the Pacific rattler. One of their vineyards is on Rattlesnake Hill in the Alexander Valley, The hat sits next to a large interior window that overlooks a barrel room:

The humans in our party quite enjoyed their wines, and both signed up for Seghesio's wine club, so I'm hoping that by the time we next visit (hey! picking up one's shipment in person is a great way to ensure some quality time in the country on the rare day off!), both my palate and fine motor control systems will have recovered.

On our way back to the car, Betza wanted a moment to commune with nature a bit so she settled down in a pansy bed for a while.

Next we went to Mauritson Wines, also in Healdsburg. Here are Polly, Karen and Ed chatting with Jan.

Here's a photo from the other side of the bar. You'll note that, unlike Karen, I honor her request to not be photographed when she doesn't want to be photographed. Here, she is artfully concealed by the decorative branches.

Here's looking towards the outside of the tasting room, to the patio area where we had a bite to eat along with some Mauritson wines before heading into the tasting room during a lull to chat about the wines with Jan.

Here's the southeast (I think east - definitely south) view from their patio.

Here's the same view, peopled and Egged. Polly, Ed, and Karen are snacking on cheese and crackers, kalamata and black olives tossed with goat feta, and my lox and cream cheese spread, while Betza enjoys the company and the sun and the fact that deviled eggs were not on the menu.

Next on our wine itinerary was our old favorite, Teldeschi Winery, home of the lovely Terra Nova, one of the Dan Teldeschi's lovely wines. Dan himself beards a resemblence to my late husband, so it can be disconcerting looking at him, but not so much when Dan looks, as he so often does, like a mad scientist or anarchist about to blow something up.

Teldeschi's tasting room is tiny, intimate, the atmosphere relaxed and informal. It reminds me of the wineries I visited in Italy back in the early 1970s, as does the countryside around there. You can see some of my favorite Teldeschi views in my November 2005 Black Friday blog. (For those of you new to my blogs, you can also see what my photos normally look like, quality wise, instead of how icky they are right now... ::sigh::)

Here's Betza, rather over-exposed, hanging out under Ed's watchful eye. He was quite concerned that she would sneak some wine herself, and otherwise be corrupted by hanging out with Polly, Karen and I. While Ed has known Karen for years, he didn't realize until this day how truly wacked she is, especially so when the three of us are together and pretty much feed each other's inner crazy person.

Fortuntely, Dan's pretty wacked himself, as can be seen by one of the winery's t-shirts:

It was not as beautiful out this day as it sometimes is out this way. As the sun started sinking behind the hills, the early evening grew misty and cold.

At day's end, we dropped Karen off at her home as her hubby wasn't feeling well enough to go out for dinner. Polly and Ed took Betza and I to dinner at Hunter's. Here Betza is wearing one of Sist's hand-me-down sweaters, the one with the scarf, since it got too cold for her to wear just the hat.

Throughout the road trip, Betza road up front with Polly and Ed. Unfortunately, I didn't think to get a photo of them together, so I guess we'll just have to go winery road tripping again!

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