So, we had our little tourist map, and we were winding down winery way. I wanted to stop at South Coast Winery, because that was the place we wanted to stay at, but they had no vacancies, and because it was big. So it was the first one. It was big. We pulled into the parking lot, and we walked up. We were overwhelmed. There were so many entrances, and lots of people milling around. So we made it in, and we found the tasting room. $12 for a tasting. Kind of a lot. We weren't sold, so we decided to find a smaller less stimulating winery for our first experience. It was pretty at the South Coast Winery, but it was too polished. It reminded me of Lake Buena Vista when I was a kid.
So we hopped back in the car and headed down the dusty trail. We decided to turn off. Keyways was one of the wineries they suggested at the Public House. So we went there. It was small. The description said it was owned by a woman. It was very cute. I felt like I was in Italy. There was a patio area where they were serving food - pasta, pizza and salad. This italian family was sitting out there with two tables pulled together. It was like a scene out of the Godfather. I liked it.
So we walked into the tasting room. It was masculine, wood and kind of cavernous, which was a little disappointing considering the sun had just come out. It was like a ski lodge.
So we went up to the bar and got a tasting. The girl serving us looked like she was probably 21. I think this was just a job to her. She didn't talk about the wines, didn't really converse too much with anyone but the other pourers (is that what you call them?). She didn't fulfill the Sideways ideal of what people who work at wineries are supposed to be like! I'm not saying I expected her to be some hot babe that was going to have dinner with us and sleep with us, because that would be weird and, contrary to some unpopular belief, I don't swing that way. I just wanted someone to pour the wine who I could tell believed in it. When I worked at Sam Adams, the people I worked with really made me believe in Sam Adams!
Anyway, I'm not going to go into the characteristics and complexities of the wines. I have dull tastebuds, and I basically either like a wine or dislike it. I don't anyalze. Anyway, we tried stuff like Chenin Blanc (maybe) - it tasted literally like water, Chardonnay, Riesling, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, I think one Rose, and Tempranillo. I think the Tempranillo was the only one we really liked. So disappointing. Other people seemed to be wine club members and regulars, so I assume they liked the wines. Maybe my palate isn't sophisticated enough. So we left. But it was a lovely drive. We wound our way around wine country, just taking in the sites. So we decided that on our budget, we should probably try only one or two more places if it was going to be at least $20 total each time. So I looked on the map, and found the most out of the way place, Palumbo. I remembered that they had recommended that one at the Public House. I wanted a chance for their opinion to be redeemed by leading us to a better place.
So that's where we went. We turned off the main road. We turned down a driveway that became a dirt road with construction posts and flags everywhere. And we found the tasting room sitting apart from the houses on a hill in the middle of the vineyard. That was what I was hoping for. The tasting room was just a room. Only a couple stools. A few dogs milling about and laying around chilling. I liked it already. We walked in, and the people that were there were finishing up. So then it was just the Food Pimp and me, and the co-owner of the winery. They are a husband and wife couple - I always dig that. Cindy and Nick. So anyway, she asked, do you want to do the tasting? We said yes. I'm not sure how much it cost, but I think it was cheaper than Keyways. So anyway, with this one, you just got a glass and she just poured according to the list. I think there were 5 or 6 wines all reds. Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Meritage. I don't really remember exactly. Anyway, they were all really good. We drank, talked to Cindy. She told us a little history of the winery. How they had the vineyards, didn't know how to make wine - they sold the grapes for production. So Nick went to school for viticulture. So they made the leap and started making wine themselves. And it was delicious. We bought a bottle. I would have liked to buy a case.
So we started talking food. They happen to be good friends with Tina and Dave, who run Crows Pass Farms. I happen to use some of their produce for the restaurant. Tina and Dave happened to be having a BBQ that same day for their restaurants that they supply to. They happened to live basically down the street. So Cindy told us we should stop by. It was a little before we could check in, so we thought we would stop by. She gave us directions. So there were a bunch of cars in the driveway. We walked around and didn't really see anyone. Then we saw two groups of people in the fields. I guess they were giving tours of the farms, which would have been cool. So we left. We decided to see if we could check in a little early.