I'm thankful, too. Thankful that I get to play in the wine biz - tasting great wines and delicious foods, hanging with winemakers and writers and enthusiasts, dreaming of the day I can put the day job aside and focus 100% on wine.
|The Goddess with Ian B!|
|Vines on the Marycrest!|
I really enjoyed and learned so much at the morning seminars; in The Road from the Garage, winemakers Neil Collins of Lone Madrone and Tablas Creek, Terry Culton of Adelaida Cellars and Justin Smith of Saxum were candid and funny, sharing their experiences in the wine world, ably moderated by Stewart, who knew what questions to ask. The clear friendship and respect among these artists was delightful to see, and their insights into winemaking were fascinating, especially as they each discussed their favorite grapes.
The second seminar - Barrel Tasting with Christian Tietje of Cypher Wines (formerly of Four Vines) and Ryan Render of St. Martin cooperage - was eye-opening for me. I know a bit about the effect of wood on wine, but this discussion and tasting was extraordinary. To be able to taste wines in oak from different forests, different countries, different coopers was to discover exactly why winemakers refer to cellaring in oak as 'the spice rack'. Wonderful! I was sorry that we had to stop and move on to the rest of the event.
I'm thankful that - having gone to Paso without JD (a first) - I was lucky to meet up with Xochitl and Barry and their longtime friends Larry and Mike. We met Friday night at Thomas Hill Organics, where we shared bottles of Mike's first vintage - a 2009 Templeton Gap Syrah under his personal 'label' Harridge House Cellars, and my favorite Shai Cellars 2008 Adome - with the BEST chicken pot pie I have ever had. Ever. I can hardly wait to take JD to Thomas Hill. Saturday night after the event, the 5 of us met at Ian McPhee's in Templeton for another great meal. I brought a bottle of 2001 Vita Nova 'Reservatum' Sangiovese blend from Jim Clendenen - after all those big Rhones and Zinfandels I needed something lighter! - and we got a bottle of the house Pinot Noir - the Au Bon Climat, also by Mr. Clendenen! Another great meal with lots of laughs.
I'm thankful that we have relatives in the Central Coast, providing an even greater incentive to spend more time in a region we already love. It helps keeps our eyes on the goal of moving there. Brunch with Sara, Dan and Ruth at Dorn's on Sunday morning was too short, but gave us a chance to hug each other for an extended time.
I'm thankful that we've made friends with Ventura County winemakers Gary & Karen Stewart and Steve & Lora Simonsgaard at Four Brix, who provided a respite on the drive home - food and wine at the member wine pickup party.
|The love of my life|
It's been a hard year in many ways, and I expect that 2012 will hold its own challenges, but I am so thankful that I have this life, filled with great friends and family, great wines and food, and more adventures on the horizon!
Cheers to you all for Thanksgiving!