Tuesday, September 8, 2009

From the Beginning

When I moved to the Napa Valley in March of this year, I knew I had my work cut out for me. 396 wineries, over 100 restaurants, so much to eat and drink. I quickly connected with a fellow foodie and wine enthusiast, and together we decided to visit each and every one of them. We claim that it's all in the name of research and development, but it hardly can be considered work.

We work at one of these wineries, and we always joke about what a tough job it is. We pour, taste, and talk about wine for a living. And, with endless rows of vines, green mountains in the distance, and long sunny days, we live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Are we spoiled or what?

Our wine tasting agenda was established the day we met; when we left work, we made the short drive to Alpha Omega Winery in Rutherford, right off of Highway 29. It's one of the few that is open until 6 pm. Check out the website at aowinery.com

We started with the 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. It was very aromatic, with a pale golden hue. On the palate, it was crisp, with nuances of fresh-cut grass and citrus. With our Reidel stemware in hand, we wandered out to the patio, sinking into big fluffy chairs. We soaked up the late-afternoon sun and enjoyed the faint spray of the water fountain. I've heard stories of patrons falling asleep on the patio; I can see how easily this could happen!

Our informative and personable guide arrived at our side with a decanter of the 2006 Syrah. She elegantly poured us a sample of this dark purple nectar. I held it up to the light, noting its thin, quick-moving legs. If I recall correctly, aromas of sugared plum and candied fruit led to a medium-plus body of sweet cassis and dark berries. What this wine lacked in complexity, it made for in intensity. I could still taste it's sweetness as I handed over my credit card in exchange for a bottle of the Sauv Blanc. Very cool triangular-shaped gift bags; nice touch.

That was almost 5 months and about 50 wineries ago....

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