Tuesday, September 10, 2013

California Dreamin': Central Coast Trip, Day One

My brain is weird. I never have stress dreams about work during the week, but just let me have a long weekend or vacation, and three to four nights in, I'll have work-related dreams. Typically it's some sort of scheduling problem, like three new patients show up at once, or like this morning, a particularly difficult patient has been scheduled for every Tuesday at 12:30, which is a two-fold problem because I have a regular patient scheduled for noon on Tuesday, and my appointments are an hour with 1:00 being my lunch hour. Yes, I get really pissy when people mess with my lunch. In general, it's like my little overachiever Type A mind can't let go of having to do something or be somewhere. Seriously, brain, chill!

I'm writing this post in a hotel room in Paso Robles. Hubby scheduled a couples' massage for us this morning at the River Oaks Hot Springs Spa. I was expecting the massage, but he surprised me with an hour in a hot springs hot tub and mimosas. Yes, ladies, you may be jealous now. I'm also very relaxed and drinking Eberle Barbera out of a hotel water glass, so I apologize in advance if this post is a little discombobulated. Hey, at least I'm drinking water out of a hotel coffee cup to hydrate and balance things out:

Random fact:  apparently the Milwaukee airport has a Recombobulation Area just beyond security, but no one is ever in it because Americans suck at vocabulary. A friend who flies for Delta told me that.

We flew into San Francisco on Saturday. The best part of the flight was finally getting to see the most recent incarnation of The Great Gatsby. Holy crap, airplanes still show movies sometimes! It was definitely a Baz Luhrmann film, but eh, whatever, he gets better with every movie IMHO. I like Tobey Maguire, and I always wondered about the character of Nick Carraway, the narrator of the book. Hubby, who grew up in Montgomery, never read the book because my MIL hated F. Scott Fitzgerald. She also hates me, so I'm in good company. Maybe my books will be shown as airplane movies someday.

Wow, this first post in a while is rambling. Perhaps I should get to the wine...

Our first stop off CA Highway 1 down the coast, which may or may not be foggy, so you may or may not get to see stuff, was at  Beauregard Vineyards. Admittedly, we saw a sign pointing to a winery down Bonny Doon road and thought we were going there, but happened upon Beauregard instead. This was a happy happenstance. The highlights for me were the 2012 Metallique Chardonnay (yes, a Chard -- there are people fainting at this right now) and the 2010 Merlot Zayante, which got a gold medal from the vaguely named Beverage Institute. I have a beverage institute. It's called my kitchen. Anywho, we started our California trip by getting the f*cking Merlot. Take that, Pinot!

It was at lunch at the West End Tap & Kitchen in Santa Cruz that we got the news our diabetic cat was in a bit of a crisis with multiple accidents and growling at the cat sitter. This is normally a very mellow, if bossy, cat, so we knew something was very wrong. Hubby understandably didn't want to get out of cell signal range until he could coordinate care between the cat sitters, emergency vet, and possibly our regular vet, who is closed on Sundays. So, we stopped in Monterey, which is where I now want to retire with a view like this:

We even saw a wild seal, who was not very graceful maneuvering the rocks. I tried to get a picture of it, but it's hard to get a good shot through an iThing when you're not sure what rock you're aiming for. Okay, we might have been drinking at the time. Really, did you expect otherwise? This was actually a good stop because the wines are from grapes grown in a cooler climate, so they set up a nice contrast for the Paso grapes.


2010 Cambiata Albariño: This was a gorgeous white, big with a lot of fruit and a mineral finish.

2008 De Tierra Merlot:  Grape stem nose with nice cedar overtones.

2011 Parsonage Syrah:  Smooth with a nice balance of fruit and spice, chewy texture.

In general, I've liked the cooler-climate grown syrahs better than the desert ones this trip. As we were told, the cooler weather gives them a better balance of fruit and spice. The fog in this region is incredible, sort of like the Smoky Mountain plumes but extending for miles in gray clouds that carry their own little bits of coldness. You can see the clouds in this picture taken over Monterey Bay when Hubby and I were kicked back with glasses of that fabulous Albariño, which we also got a bottle of:

Okay, will post more about the Paso Robles wines tomorrow.

Oh, and the cat is fine. She likely had a hypoglycemic episode and is now boarding at her vet. 

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