31 August 2006

Sideways, Cupways

The final installment of my San Francisco travelogue series

Mama and I toured the wine country on our last day — Sonoma in the morning, Napa in the afternoon — visiting three wineries. There’s nothing better than an excuse to start drinking wine at 10 a.m. on a Saturday.

We stopped on our way out of the city to take photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. Yeah, I know I ran one of these already, but I’m proud of the photos. Besides, it’s one of the Coaster Punchman’s favorite landmarks. And seeing yet another photo may send Dale to his favorite online travel agency (he’s having problems thinking his own thoughts, it seems).

The Golden Gate Bridge, in Saturday morning fog

Sonoma Winery #1: Viansa

The Viansa winery is in a beautiful spot, one that reminded me of Tuscany. It was lovely and rather peaceful that morning.

A Tuscanic Sonoma

We tasted four wines: 2005 Vittoria Pinot Grigio, 2004 Athena Dolcetto, 2002 Piccolo Sangiovese, and 2004 Prindelo. My mom isn’t much of a drinker, so I got half of her wines. Score!

The Viansa Winery

My favorite: Prindelo. We Atlantans are in luck; Wine Haven, on Sandy Springs Circle, carries it.

Sonoma Winery #2: Larson Family Winery

The Larson’s winery is much smaller than Viansa. The family lives on the property; in fact, there was a birthday party for their little girl going on.

The Larson Vineyard

But small doesn’t necessarily mean less. The wines I sampled were very good. Unfortunately I lost my notes from this winery, so I think these are the four wines I had: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Wingo White, and Cabernet Savignon.

My favorite: 2003 Cabernet Savignon, which earned a perfect 100 at a recent Sonoma wine competition. It was very good.

The Family Pet, Dolly Llama

We then went into the town of Sonoma for lunch (and a bit of shopping, of course, which resulted in two more boho skirts for my collection), then headed for Napa.

Napa Winery: Domaine Chandon

That’s right, kids, we were sampling champagne (okay, I know we’re supposed to say “sparkling wine,” but I believe in truthiness). Is there any better way to top of a day of sipping wine than with champagne? I think not.

I wish I’d taken some photos of the buildings at Domaine Chandon. The architecture flowed with its surroundings, and it was wonderful. The grounds at Domaine Chandon are dotted with outdoor art:

and colorful, tranquil gardens:

But let’s get back to the boozing. Again, I sampled four champagnes (and half of my mother’s flutes): Chandon Reserve Brut, Chandon Brut Classic, Chandon Blanc de Noirs, and Chandon Riche. The tasting was held outdoors, under a large tree. And the Chandon chick knew how to pour — no tiny tastes here, but nearly full flutes.

My favorite: Chandon Blanc de Noirs

In the Napa sun.
May God’s love be with you always.

Domaine Chandon tip: To chill your bottle of champagne, put it in a bucket of half water/half ice for half an hour.

We returned to San Francisco full of new spirited favorites to bring to dinner parties. Thanks to the champagne, I spent much of the drive dozing and daydreaming about bastardy things.

And so, dear readers, that’s a quick recap of my days by the Bay. Hard to believe that was two weeks ago. Write Procrastinator, keep an eye out for an affordable apartment for me.

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At 8/31/2006 06:52:00 AM, Blogger barista brat said...

beautiful photos!

sounds like a perfect way to spend the day!

At 8/31/2006 08:52:00 AM, Blogger Anomie-Atlanta said...

After reading your travelogue on the San Francisco area and seeing your lovely pictures of Sonoma, I am actually considering returning to the city by the bay again. My past experiences with the city have not gone so well (http://falseconciousness.blogspot.com/2006/05/i-left-my-health-in-san-francisco.html#links). I obviously need a tour guide like Beth.

At 8/31/2006 10:48:00 AM, Blogger Old Lady said...

Earthquakes Beth, they are no fun.

At 8/31/2006 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Beauty! I love the name of the llama! Bet you enjoyed the winery tours! The sun pic could be a poster or at least a background on your computer!

At 8/31/2006 11:06:00 AM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Everybody names their iguanas, "Iggy." This is the fourth llama that I've seen named "Dolly." Groan ; )

"Write Procrastinator, keep an eye out for an affordable apartment for me."

LOL! I'll definitely keep an eye open for you in regards to an apartment, but I don't know how affordable it will be.

I hope the prices won't discourage your move west.

At 8/31/2006 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

It sounds like a much better time than the one those two mopes from "Sideways" had.

At 8/31/2006 12:55:00 PM, Blogger Ben Heller said...

Great photos Beth, especially the one of the Golden Gate bridge in the fog.

At 8/31/2006 02:28:00 PM, Blogger patrick said...

you have fun wherever you go don't you?

At 8/31/2006 02:31:00 PM, Blogger shewearsplaid said...

Oh my. Had I met you earlier, I would have invited you over. We live in Napa. In Carneros. In Hyde vineyards on Sonoma Hwy. Consequently, we drink lots of wine. It's a County requirement.

At 8/31/2006 05:28:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

BRAT: It really was a great day. And I'm rather proud of my photos, especially the one with the sun through the trees. I don't think anyone got my Michael Stipe "In the Sun" reference, though.

ANOMIE: Yes, you need me. It's a great city; you just need to shake up your SFO karma.

OLD LADY: Earthquakes do kind of scare me ...

MOTEHR OF INVENTION: I've been thinking of ways to use that photo ...

WRITEPROCRASTINATOR: If I move out there, we can start our own writer's workshop!

CHRIS: Yep, I didn't break any hearts or total any cars.

BEN: Thanks! I love that photo.

PATRICK: If anyone knows, you should ...

SHEWEARSPLAID: Dammit! All the cool people are out there. It's such a beautiful place in the world. Do you love it there?

At 8/31/2006 07:43:00 PM, Blogger shewearsplaid said...

We moved here a year and a half ago from Los Angeles. And we adore it. Next time, I will be happy to open our best bottle of sparkling Carneros wine on your behalf.

At 8/31/2006 10:22:00 PM, Blogger lulu said...

Those pics make me homesick. I loved living in San Francisco, and I loved loved loved going to Sonoma and Napa. What a great afternoon.

At 8/31/2006 10:42:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Such a nice recap and your photos, commentary and helpful wine tips, well it all just makes good sense! If I could manage it, I'd hop the plane to the big foggy H today.

At 8/31/2006 11:54:00 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

"If I move out there, we can start our own writer's workshop!"


At 9/01/2006 12:57:00 AM, Blogger Beth said...

SHEWEARSPLAID: WIll you invite me to spend Thanksgiving with you? I'll bring the Co-Cola.

LULU: Lucky girl! I would love to live there ...

DALE: Start watching for those air fare sales.

WRITEPROCRASTINATOR: We'll be the coolest kids in the class!


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