Better late than never, right? As you know (or should, at least, because I couldn’t shut up about it), we went to Sonoma last weekend for Mother’s Day with my mom and stepdad, my brother, and GP’s parents. We had been planning a fun weekend full of wine tasting and delicious food, and that is exactly what we got! Oh, and all my worrying about mom competitions? Certainly for naught. I don’t think that our parents are going to be forming drum circles or anything, but having them get along for a period longer than, say, a meal (which was the length of their previous exposure to each other), was encouraging.
Saturday began early, as we wanted to get on the road by 8 in order to make it to our northernmost winery destination by 10, which is when they open. After picking up GP’s parents at their hotel, we made our way up the East Bay, past Berkeley and Oakland, and then over the Richmond-San Rafael bridge into the North Bay. As we got closer to the wineries, my brother called and told me that they were two cars behind us, so our planning worked out really well. The first winery we went to was St. Francis, which had a beautiful backyard-type area behind it, as well as a pretty gorgeous main building. Their wines were all right, but the girl who was pouring was basically ignoring us. If you haven’t been tasting, you need to know that it isn’t like going to a bar; of course, you are drinking, and have the potential to be quite smashed by about noon, but the people pouring are supposed to interact with you, as it is their job to make you want to buy the wine.
Winery number two was the polar opposite, though. We got there right at the time that they were beginning their cave tour, so we got to see the caves where they keep their barrels, which are really cool. It didn’t hurt that it had started to heat up and the caves were at least 10 degrees cooler than outside. Going into their tasting room, we noticed that they had a specific area for a VIP-style tasting, and being the snobs (and cheese enthusiasts!) that we are, we seated ourselves on their classy leather sofas and sipped our four tastes (for a fairly-steep $20, but come on! There was cheese involved!). This was when the buying started, too. When GP and I go tasting in Napa, we might come home with half a case or so, total, of wines that we tried and liked. When we go to Amador County wine events, we might bring home a bit more than a case, because it is cheaper there (but still good wine!). When we were there this weekend, we came away with three cases of wine. I blame the parents– my parents are huuuuge wine collectors (we’re talking hundreds of bottles here, multiple winery memberships), and his parents are members of a couple Sonoma wineries, even though they live in New York.
We stopped at a cute Italian deli/cafe place for something to soak up all the wine we’d consumed (we are not apt to pour anything out unless it is pretty gross), and then headed off to another winery, where I got to hang out with the Official Winery Dog while we tasted. Being the smart animal that he is, he had decided to take a nap on the cool, tiled tasting room floor to escape the heat…right on one of my feet. Thanks, dog.
The families split after this, because my parents wanted to visit just one more place and then go to the hotel to rest before dinner, so GP and I and his parents headed, ambitiously, to three more places.
Pretty exhausted, we tucked into dinner at a place I had been eager to try, and made the (totally too-long) drive back to our hotel, where I am proud to say I passed out before 9pm. It had been a loooooong day.
The next morning, after having presented both moms with presents and spending some time hanging out at the hotel bar for mimosas and Bloody Marys, we made our way to , where GP’s parents are members. We skipped the tour, having chosen some morning drinking instead, but got there in time to sample some Blanc de Noirs before we were seated for brunch. The brunch was surprising– I had expected maybe a buffet or a range of options, but we all ended up with the same salad with bay shrimp, lamb, and fresh fruit trifle (no beef sauteed with peas and onions, sorry!). Other than the lamb being so rare it was near-bleating (woo, homonyms! Get it?), everything was very delicious. After our meal, we sat outside and tasted while enjoying a great view of the entire valley.
All in all, a successful weekend. Carrying the wine from the car to the apartment was a bit of a pain, but I’m pretty certain we won’t need to buy anything until we go back to Amador for their Fall Crush event. The only problem now is that we have all these nice wines and only a couple “occasions” coming up… I’m sure we’ll manage, though.