Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 18, 2012 Dinner – Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival BBQ A three sandwich Day

May 18, 2012  Dinner – Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival BBQ  A three sandwich Day

I was awaken at with one more thing to do for a case before we left.  We hen got ready and made four sandwiches with Nine Grains bread, Gelbwurst (veal bologna) and Genoa Salami from Alpine Sausage Kitchen and Irish cheddar cheese with mayo and German Deli mustard.

Then we jumped in the Cruiser and drove to the airport and took a flight to Oakland on which I ate my first sandwich with a bag of Vanillas Wafers.
When we arrived in Oakland we rented a van and drove to Healdsburg.  We stopped at the Tourist information Center and asked the lady about wineries and she recommended several. 

Healdsburg  is in the Russian River Valley north of Santa Rosa and a major wine growing area in Sonoma County.  We drove to Sebeghios in town and tried a tasting of their wines.  The one we liked the best was a Landslide Zinfandel.  Landslide is a single vineyard near the Chalk Hill region south of Healdsburg . The wine was crisp and yet smooth, a very lovely wine. Eight wines down and lots to go, we went to Simi, which is one of the oldest wineries in the area dating back to the 1870’s.  It Is now part of Constellation Brands, the largest wine and spirits conglomerate in the world and its wines seem to reflect that homogenization.  No rough edges and nothing exciting, just clean drinkable wine.  So we drove north and turned east onto
Alexander Valley Road
and went to White Oak Winery, recommended by the lady at the Chamber of Commerce Information office.  It was another old zinfandel winery with fifty year old vines.  The pours were about two ounces each so we decided to eat one of our sandwiches when we were served a very smooth and tasty Merlot.  So we sat at a redwood table in the shade of the administration building and ate our sandwich and two apples with the merlot, a Cabernet Sauvignon and then their great Reserve Zinfandel.

It was about 2:00 pm. When we finished our lunch and wine at White Oak, so we decided to go to one more winery on our way up the Russian River Valley to Cloverdale where we took Hwy.128 to Boonville.  We stopped at Robert Young Winery, which is quite large with over 360 acres planted in grapes and supplies grapes to many Vineyards, like Rodney Strong, Chateau St. Jean and Franciscan.  They make their own wine also, so we tried a tasting.  The most interesting wines at Robert Young were a Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc.  The Petite Verdot both expressed a really crisp even a little sweet flavor and character and we bought a bottle for $60.00.  We discussed with the lady pouring at Robert Young the characteristics of Alexander Valley. She was from Minnesota, so was somewhat objective, and said Alexander Valley is the warmest area so it was best for the big Rhone and Bordeaux  style grapes like Zinfandel, Petite Verdot, Petite Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. Napa Valley was a little cooler and was best for Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and Anderson Valley was cooler and wetter still, so best for Pinot Noir and the Northern White Grapes. I agree.

We arrived at the Nickless’ house in Boonville at around and went to sleep for about an hour.  We then got ready and went to the BBQ. This year it was at Husch Winery. We drove to Standish Winery and were shuttled to Husch. When we arrived at it looked like most of the interesting wines had already been drunk, because the event started at   The Friday BBQ is the most unique BYOB event I have ever gone to.  The event is catered and this year was no exception.  The catered served pulled pork sandwiches with caramelized tomatoes and onions, black bean and coleslaw salad and fresh green salad.  There are two tables.  On one are large buckets of ice and on the other is just a table cloth.  Wine makers bring a bottle of wine and usually the wines are experiments that succeeded in some respect.  This year was a little different.  There were not as many experimental wines, perhaps evidence of the maturing of the Anderson Valley’s wine production.  So one is given a glass and one walks up to either the white table with the buckets of ice or the red table filled with bottles of red wine and picks one and pours and drinks from as many as one wants and there are at least a 100 and they keep changing as others are brought.  As I said, the most interesting BYOB event I have ever been to.     We met Brad Hayes in line for food and tagged along with him and his wife,     , and sat with them and had a lovely conversation and dinner as we returned to the wine tables to replenish our glasses several times. I finally ended up with a Mary Elke Pinot Noir Boonville Barter 2009 that was delicious.  As the sun set at around we said goodnight to the Hayes and a lovely conversation. Brad is a fifth generation Californian and was a home builder.  We seemed to be about the same age and having fun.  Suzette said she wanted to dance and the live band wa playing lots of old 60’s West Coast music and Bob Dylan, so I got to dance to “Like a Rolling Stone”.  I loved it. 

People kept coming over to the fence near our table and looking at the woods to the West and I finally realized I was sitting looking west as the setting sun was sending long fingers of light through the Valley’s Coastal Redwood forest, eating a Northern California Wine Country dinner in Northern California Wine Country   What a picture perfect and delightfully indescribable moment! 

We stopped at a convenience store in Boonville for chocolate and EJ. Brandy VS, which I am finding to be quite drinkable.

Bon Appétit        

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