Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Wine Country

I didn't take nearly as many photos as I wanted this weekend. It had something to do with the winding roads, my huge bag (the camera was always floating around at the bottom, never to be found), and the craziness associated with a four day wedding weekend extravaganza.

But here is one photo that proves the point -- California wine country is very very different than Oregon!

Yes, both are prone to grey, foggy mornings: cool sunrises that beg warm cups of coffee and scones from a local bakery that is open early, warm, and quiet. And yes, in both places the grey and fog (hopefully) burns off mid-day revealing a much warmer, much sunnier and brighter world. And oh yes, there is wine, and pastoral charm and lots and lots of vines. But for me, the similarities end there.

California wine country looks and feels different. It is bigger and more developed in every sense. Even the vineyards seem to be more expansive -- stretching longer distances, traversing bigger jumps in elevation and stretching over rounder and even more rolling hills.

I'm not going to say that one is better. After all, isn't it a matter of taste -- the difference between a big Cab and a softer, more austere Pinot Noir? But I will say this -- my time in St. Helena made me miss the slightly ramshackle, laid back and friendly Oregon wine world.

I am home now -- detoxing from red velvet wedding cake, too much coffee, and meals eaten on the fly. Yesterday we ate a late lunch and finished a bottle of 2004 Pavillion Blanc du Chateau Margaux white wine. I love drinking mid-day while moving slowly and staring out the window. It is one of life's great luxuries. We took naps, read on the couch. I let M make all three meals for me, from toast and coffee in the morning to homemade tortillas, pork, and fresh sliced avocados for lunch, to a simple salad for dinner.

Home again, home again. It is divine.

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