Every Fall, the Cache Valley Bottling Team invades JRickards Winery in Sonoma County. This Fall was to be no different except for one thing: FIRE! With no containment in sight, all wine festivities were canceled. However, by the time the weekend rolled around, the fires were mostly contained and folks were being allowed back in the region. In fact, the County and cities were asking that tourists return. By the time we arrived, one wouldn’t have known that a fire had so threatened most of the region, and devastated areas of Napa Valley and Santa Rosa. Comparatively speaking, the area we were in was untouched. Santa Rosa is visible via 101, and we did catch a glimpse of some of the devastation from the car.
Over in the Cloverdale area, the threat was floating/flying embers igniting brush and trees. Our favorite walk from last spring was the Russian River walk; a 4 mile walk along the Russian River in Alexander Valley. The following is an example of an ember fire which was quickly extinguished. The closest fire, Pocket Fire, was just up on the hillside above the Russian River.
Along this same walk, were huge turkey vultures sunning themselves in trees along the river:
The spread out wings is not take off. They camp out on the branches “spread eagle”. It looked very cool. I am convinced that these birds have no idea just how huge they are.
We spent one afternoon with Jim Rickards at his winery. Another wine maker was visiting the winery and Jim invited Liz and I to join them for a vertical tasting of Zinfandel from 2008-2014. After that, we went in the tasting room and tasted his regular current line up (You’ll have to visit us in Utah if you want to taste them!). Then we went outside and barrel tasted two Rose wines. What an afternoon! ZZZZZZzzzzzzzz……..
Jim decided that he wanted to reschedule the bottling so it looks like we will get to blend a bottle a Barbera after all! We had dinner with our very dear friends and airbnb hosts Todd and Susan at Diavola, our fave restaurant in Sonoma Valley. We also visited and bought wine at White Oak Winery. Clark came to visit and since he is in the wine business, I wanted him to taste the wines and tell me that I was right; these are damn good wines. Clark agreed! Of course we bought a case.
On Sunday, we drove to Sausalito to visit Clark, Paul (on the house boat) and Mark (SF retired principle trombonist). We stayed at the Acqua Inn, the same place we stayed last spring. It is a wonderful hotel. Here is a shot of the two of us along the water right outside our room:
That picture was right side up when I copy/pasted it. Bah.
Clark took us on a walk to Cascade Falls which is in the Mill Valley, the town where he resides. This little canyon is full of redwood trees, a stream (this time of year) that runs down through it, private homes and public spaces. Here are some pics of this wonderful 2 hour walk, starting with a photo looking straight up between the trees:
Finally, we went to see Eric, our band director friend at UOP in Stockton. Klinkerbrick Winery has a fabulous Albarino and we wanted to be sure to pick up a few. Since they are releasing their 2016 Albarino in a couple of weeks, they were selling the $15 2015 vintage for half price! Sign me up! We bought 2 cases. Down the street was another winery that was built around an organ. The organ is from San Francisco and performances are given each month at the winery. All performances are digitally recorded, so we listened to the recording of Toccata and Fugue by Bach, performed in 1991. The pipes are built in to the walls of the tasting room. The wines? Well, they had a really good Port. Eric bought a bottle.
Notice that some of the pipes were obtained from an organ in Provo, no less.
Tuesday, we made the 11 hour trek back to Logan. All in all, a fab trip. It was really nice visiting or should I say, re-visiting, all of our haunts from our 5 week residency in California last spring.
Ok, one more shot of trees, and then a road named after me near Santa Rosa on 101.
Next up: Nutcracker ballet performances over US Thanksgiving weekend. If anything else happens between now and then, I will blog once more!