Nothing Special, Really

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Road Trip, Part 6

A quick note: For the record, the Spurs didn't beat the Suns last night. The Suns just ran out of gas. After the effort they gave last night, I don't see any reason why the Suns can't win the next two games.

Anyways, back to the road trip:

We started heading for Napa around 8:30am. Our journey to Napa took us through Oakland, where we must have missed that freeway collapse by about 6 hours or so. We were going too fast to take a picture (and we weren't really expecting to pass any collapsed freeways), but here's a picture from Google:

We got into Napa around 11am but must have missed the turn as we ended up on the wrong highway. Being an expert navigator, I turned around and decided to find the place using my instinct. And the fact that I saw a turnoff for the street we needed, just not the right turnoff. When we got on the freeway in the opposite direction, we got stuck in traffic and then forced off the freeway an exit early by a supposed accident. Passing by, we noticed a body covered up with a tarp and a large amount of blood on the highway. This wasn't going to end well. Turns out, someone had committed suicide by jumping off the overpass at 10:45am. About 15 minutes before we got there.

I guess the day couldn't get any worse, could it?

We finally found our hotel, which wouldn't let us check in until 3pm. But they were very helpful in helping us select some wineries to tour. So, at around noon, we finally made our way into California Wine Country.

Our first stop was the V. Sattui Winery. This was recommended by the hotel as the best place to stop, and it didn't disappoint. For $5, we were able to taste 6 different wines, all of which were pretty amazing. In fact, we liked their Gamay Rose so much that I bought a bottle to take back home. Honestly, I'm not that much of a wine person, so for me to spend $17 on a bottle of wine speaks volumes of how much I like it. Furthermore, this place didn't just sell wine, they also sold other condiments, including an array of dipping sauces, some of which were made from their wine. If I had known this in advance, I would have told the Krazy Police guy from San Francisco to fuck off with his $15 T-shirt scam and saved the money for these sauces! We get outside to the courtyard, and what's this? More condiments! I couldn't decide which one to buy, but finally I settled on the Chipotle Mustard (which actually wasn't made by V. Sattui. The whole place was incredible. Even Wac commented that I was being unusually giddy. Anyone who goes to Napa, write this down: V. Sattui. Go there. Stay there. Don't ever leave. You'll thank me.

Our second stop was to the Beringer Winery . Beringer was one of the first wines I ever liked. Before I started appreciating wine, I used wine as a mechanism for getting drunk, and I used to down bottles of the White Cabernet Sauvignon. It was perfect; it wasn't girly like a White Zinfandel, it wasn't ghetto like Wild Vines or Boone's Farms, it was easily drinkable yet maintained a bit of sophistication as well. And when I say I downed bottles, I mean that literally; back then, glasses were for chumps. Sadly, I haven't found that wine in a couple of years, and when we got to the winery, I confirmed with one of the workers that it was discontinued. No more brown-baggin for me.

The Beringer Winery offered a tour that took us to the depths of their wine caves, showing us over 100 years of wine history. When the tour ended, we went over to the Beringer Reserve wine house, which incidentally was one of the Beringer brother's original houses. Note to self: if I want to own an amazing house and several acres of beautiful countryside, learn how to ferment some grapes.

By this point we had consumed samples from 9 different wines. And it was only 2:30pm. Although I still had the strength to handle a couple more wineries, Wac was starting to feel the effects. Not to say that she was buzzed, but she was falling fast. We stopped by a KFC\A&W joint for lunch (it was the only place that wasn't completely packed this day), and once we refueled, we treked on to the next stop.

Our third winery was the Clos Pegase Winery. This one was different in that the owners were equally fascinated with art as they were with wine, so the place kind of doubled as an art museum. Random sculptures were scattered all over the property. I took a couple pictures of some of the more unique ones. Anyways, we sampled another four wines here, including an amazing 2003 Shiraz that I would have bought if it wasn't $25\bottle. It was worth it, but I felt that having money for gas was just a little more important. After we left, Wac tells me that she's got maybe one more winery left in her.

Our last stop was Beaulieu Vineyards. Again, a beautiful winery with amazing wines, but at this point, the wineries are going to start looking the same to us. We did their tasting, and after sampling 6 of their wines, we were convinced to buy a couple bottles. So, after sampling 21 wines, and buying three bottles, we headed back to the hotel.

When we got back, Wac convinced me to go swimming in the hotel pool with her. I was convinced that the pool would be too cold, but she was undeterred. She climbed in and swam up to her shoulders and confirmed that the water was "fine." We must have different interpretations of "fine", because even going up to my calves was freezing. It was probably just as cold as the ocean at Santa Cruz from the day before, but I decided to give Wac the benefit of the doubt and jumped into the pool, head first from the deep end.

One minute later I was wrapped up in my towel, cursing the pool, and pleading with Wac to go back to the hotel room.

I wish I could say that the rest of the day was more exciting, but by 5pm, we were exhausted. The effects from the wine were too much to overcome, and we both crashed for a couple of hours. We woke up and watched some more TV, but all in all, we felt it was better to conserve our energy and money for the rest of the trip.

Coming up next: the final destination. Bend, OR. And the answer to the question "What is there to do in Bend, Oregon anyways?"


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