Monday, January 15, 2018

Wine Country adventures ...


You know that moment when a fellow Californian, says "...Wanna go wine tasting..." and your ears perk up, a smile blossoms on your face and you calmly say, "...that sounds good...". When all the while your body is screaming ROAD TRIP!!!



Yep, that was me while on vacation. But instead of the Napa Valley route, which I love and highly recommend, we ventured to the relatively unknown second, Northern California wine country, City of Livermore.

Before we dive deep into the story, I would like to explain, at least in my opinion, what's the deal with going to wine tasting???
There are three basic reasons to go to wine country. I call them my three "Es" ... Entertainment, Escape and/or Education. For me ... I was all about the educational aspect of the industry.


My first experience, way...way back in late 80s, my job included traveling to different territories educating management and staff about lending. My northern most territory was the City of Napa. I know, how awful was that! Before then, I didn't think much about Napa until that one clandestine day after work I came across Domain Chandon Winery. What I lacked in knowledge about Napa or wine was made up by my love for champagne. The great thing is at that time, Domain Chandon provided an in-depth immersion into wine making through their tours which included the historical and geographical regines of champagne, a review of wine, chemistry of making champagne and wine, bottling, riddling cellars and of course ... the tasting. I immediately knew I was in my zone... the fine art and science of champagne or sparkling champagne and wine making...very sweet spot!

Fast forward several years, wine memberships and life changing events have evolved and I find the wineries have evolved past education and thrust into escape and entertainment. A large section of wineries instead of providing knowledge they provide an escape from your life and a means to entertain. Wineries resemble "lounges" or sophisticated bars...with the only thing offered is a chance to get drunk and sell wine and memberships. Which in most cases people cancel once they reach the sobering reality of their homes...and budget.

Now, before you write me of as a critic or judgmental wine snob I was taken to a place that encompassed all three Es and then some. Steven Kent winery in the City of Livermore embodied all three Es effortlessly in a casually elegant manner. From the moment you enter the grounds you are greeted, reservations recommended, by the hostess and the escape begins by whisking you into an entertaining educational experience. One pour after another you escape into a world full of flavor and nuance from whites to reds. Each guests is invited to  escape guided by a knowledgeable wine expert.

I was lucky to share this experience with my longtime friend Cheryl Terbeek and her husband Eric...who just happened to be our guide. Cheryl, Eric and I have a history with wine...not just consuming, but sharing ideas, recipes and conversation. I was lucky to have such a knowledgeable guide and friend to expose me to a new winery and for me an undiscovered wine realm known as Livermore.
The grounds were majestic and for me an easy place to get lost taking pictures, relaxing and purchasing from their shop.  The wine was delicious, easy on the palette, flavorful and beautifully packaged for the ride home or a gift. Nah, this bottles for me...lol.
Instead of heading to the sometimes trendy section of Napa take a tour East and experience wine on a new level. For winery details follow the link and be ready to be transported: 
 

Where's the food you might ask? Its a food blog, right??? Well, in my book and I think Shakespeare, "..wine is the food of the Gods ... so drink up, enjoy, share and remember to do it with love.
Au bientot, Lady E.