We begin week 4 (of 8) of this portion of our sabbatical. We left Utah on March 18 and spent a week in the Stockton area, a couple of days in Sausalito and now our third week in Cloverdale, California. This week brings a guest artist residency at Sonoma State University, conducting masterclasses and teaching all of the low brass students private lessons. The past two weeks was spent bike riding around the Alexander and Russian River Valleys visiting wineries and sipping all things red and white (and rose). One of our faves over the years is Ferrari-Carano. FC makes decent wine to be sure, but the winery and surrounding grounds are beautiful. A highlight of FC are the gardens which are meticulously maintained. In the middle of it all is a cork tree. Cork trees shed their cork one way or another, but most are harvested for…well…cork. Although Portugal has more cork trees then anywhere, cork trees exist right here in Dry Creek Valley. Cork can be harvested every 10 years, and a tree must be 40-50 years old before any harvesting can be done.
The tree feels just like a wine bottle cork. I am in the pic for scale:
A shot of Liz in the gardens, blending right in!
The fountains just outside of the winery:
Our friend Clark came to visit this past week (we visited him in Mill Valley whilst staying in the Sausalito area). Clark is in the wine business, working at Tiburon Wines in Tiburon. That nifty business card of his gets us in wineries that the average Joe doesn’t know about nor could visit. Peay is just this sort of winery. Liz and I had no idea that it existed right here in Cloverdale. Peay specializes in chardonnay and pinot noir and operates via email only. Any one can join the “wine club”, but if you don’t even know exists, it’s unlikely that you would ever have the chance. They have wine pick up/release events twice per year, or they will ship your wine to you (but not to Utah!) There are no minimums to buy like most wine clubs. You just order what you’d like. (They also supply directly to restaurants) We had a private tour with the wine maker and sipped several of the wines. These are some of the best wines we have tasted in this area over the years.
The pinot is exquisite, I must say. We will probably join the emailing list, and pick up a few bottles every Fall when we come to Rickards to do our bottling. We also visited Soda Creek, a winery we had driven past several times over the years, but had never stopped in. The wines turned out to be pretty so-so. But, like Aix En Provence, they have, or at least used to have, a pig problem. Liz couldn’t resist taking a pic of this massive metal boar.
This past weekend, Liz’s father celebrated the 53rd anniversary of his 29th birthday. Liz’s sister Lesley (from Los Angeles) arranged an intimate dinner celebration at the local fave restaurant, Five Sails. Lesley and Liz flew up for the weekend and family friends Jack and Mike joined the clan for dinner. I hear that the evening was wonderful!
A shot of the ultimate sisters:
A shot of the family rodent!
No one can resist a pic of a kitty! Our friends Brett and Teri fly in from Utah this weekend. I will blog pics of our time with them along with some shots of me working with Sonoma State students. I leave you with a parting shot of me conducting the UOP Brass Choir from back in late March (sent to me by Eric, the band director at UOP) Til then!