When Brian was growing up, vacation consisted of everyone getting in the family car and a six plus hour drive to visit Grandmas and Grandpas for two and a half weeks. In essence, vacation wasn’t about seeing the sights. It wasn’t about some new adventure. It wasn’t about learning a new skill or relaxing at some exotic place. Vacation was about family. Lots and lots of family. So when Brian met Jean, and she told him about their family vacations to the big Redwoods in California (if you are nice to her, she will teach you the Big Sur Park song) and places in Colorado and other trips to Missouri . . . well, it left kind of an empty feeling for Brian. Vacations, after all, are supposed to be relaxing moments doing exactly what YOU want to do. And, in looking back over those years, Brian’s parents wanted to do exactly that by spend time with family. Period. Jean’s parents spent time AS a family. Now, don’t misunderstand – this is not a criticism – it’s just a reality of the times and the circumstances of our lives. We took many fun vacations with the girls as they were growing up – imagine we will share one or two before this year is up.
So, tonight, as we opened a bottle of 2008 Sausal Zinfandel, we talked at length about our upcoming vacation. This time tomorrow we’ll be in Monterrey, California and by the weekend in beautiful, Paso Robles, California. We are joined on this trip by the cast of the Love Boat – but no worries, you’ll get to know more about them in the days to come. Some of the best wines coming from that State are coming from Paso Robles. We’ve been there before when about five years ago we made a similar trip with Thing 1 and Thing 2 and thoroughly enjoyed the variety of wines we sampled. In some respects, it further defined our preferences and tastes in wine.
Whether it was taking a picture with the pig outside of Eberle Wines or visiting with Rebecca at Peachy Canyon or sitting down in Roger’s dining room at RN Estate, we found a common denominator in good wine from Paso Robles. One of our final stops that trip was at a place called Adelaida – now, if you’ve been following us from the beginning, you’ll remember that we sampled and wrote about a wine from Adelaida. This was a beautiful winery with a full compliment of fine wines to sample, and initially, our ‘server’ was a little more than put off by our presence – however, as we asked more detailed questions, our ‘server’ became more engaging. When a local tour guide busted through the doors with 15-20 tourists, suddenly their attention was focused more on us and less on having to ‘deal with’ the guests that had just arrived. As it turned out, this was our favorite stop of the day. We bought some wine; had some laughs and learned to appreciate really nice wine.
Tonight’s wine – sampled on a trip a year later to Napa is from Sausal Vineyards. These folks know about good Zinfandel. When we visited them in 2008, we learned that they farm Century Vines . . . meaning, these vines have been producing for over 100 years. Wow, think about a tree that is 100 years old and how thick the trunk is – vineyards aren’t quite that way, but they looked like trees. But, these vines don’t produce as much fruit as they did years before, so the fruit that comes from these vines is special and Sausal treats the fruit appropriately. Tonight’s wine, while not from their Century Vines, still comes from amazing lineage. Zinfandel grapes like they grow are true American classics and this wine fits the bill from the moment you pull out the cork. What a great nose. What a beautiful presence in the glass. The taste is true zin with lots of fruit, pepper and spice on the palate and a load of pepper on the finish. We know that we are zin-hounds and don’t shy away from it, but if you’ve NEVER had a good Zinfandel, then this is your starting point because, you’ll never be able to appreciate a good zin until you’ve had a GOOD ZIN. Sausal delivers Zinfandel as well as any vineyard in California.
So, pack your bags and join us on a trip to the heart of our country’s wine meca. Yes, other States have wine production – including Texas – but NO ONE has the quality of wine that California does. For the record, Peter, Paul and Mary sang “Leaving on a Jet Plane“, but Jean’s FAVORITE (and no, she’s not ashamed to admit it) singer, John Denver (aka John Düsseldorf – who is a Texan and went to Arlington Heights High School in Ft. Worth) wrote the song.
Try a bottle of Sausal and see for yourself – but remember to enjoy your tasting responsibly and try to recycle whenever possible.