I met up with Barb V and Barb C and via a limo (on in this case, a lovely SUV), we headed over to Lodi to do a bit of sampling. First on the list was Woodbridge (Robert Mondavi). The two brothers pretty much started the wine industry in Napa Valley, then they had a parting of the ways and one stayed there, the other moved to Lodi. Their tasting room was lovely and we were the only ones there, so we had the server’s complete attention. He started us off with ‘Lightly Oaked’ Chardonnay, followed by a Sauvignon Blanc, then we progressed to a Red Blend, then a Zinfandel. We finished with a little taste of their port. I bought three bottles, BC bought one and BV passed.
Next we headed to LVVR Sparking wines. It’s the only cellar in Lodi that is making sparkling wine the old fashioned way. Eric Donaldson does it all, from the mixing and racking to the bottling and selling. We were the only ones in his tasting room as well, so he told us all about the process. We started with a Brut, then a Rose, a Blanc de Blanc, then finishing with a sweeter dessert sparkling wine. Dianne was supposed to come with us and this was the winery she wanted to visit, so we bought her a bottle.
We were pretty tipsy by now, so we decided it was time for lunch and headed over to Michael David’s. It is over 150 years old and one of the first wineries in the area. They have a lovely dining room attached to the winery and, boy, was that place hopping. We had a 30 minute wait for lunch… what to do, what to do? I know, let’s taste more wine. They had some great labels. We opted for the cheaper tasting, five in all. By this point, I couldn’t really tell you the exact order, but I know we sampled: Symphony (a white blend), 7 Deadly Zins, Freak Show (a red blend), Petite Petit (a Petite Syrah) and Earthquake (another zin). By the time we finished, our table was ready. I had a fabulous hamburger (with a huge basket of fries), BC had a wrap that was bigger than her head and BV had a salad and most of my fries. :P We all took a bottle with us.
After this, we decided one more and we were done, so we headed to Klinker Brick. Have to say of all the wines, this one was my least favorite. The Tasting room was nice, but crowded and the service wasn’t great. Our pourer had been there just a couple of weeks and wasn’t very knowledgeable about the winery or the wines. We started with Grenache Blanc, which we all poured out, then Brick & Roses, a white blend. Again, not memorable. Then we moved to a Cab, which was okay, an Old Vine Zin, my favorite of the batch, and finished with a port. I got a bottle of port for TBG.
I got home about 4:30, sat down and didn’t move for the rest of the night. :P
Saturday was the usual blur of activities, then that night we head up to Elk Grove with BC and Jeff to The Boulevard. The Evans joined us, pulling right next to our car as we were getting out. They had just gotten back (two days earlier) from Greenland and Iceland. We started off with a bottle of Tattinger’s Champaign to toast TBG’s anniversary. Forty years with a company is something these days. For apps, we had salmon spread (very tasty), fried green tomatoes, and croquettes. TBG and the Evans had the beet salad while I had a wedge. For entrees, TBG and Ken had swordfish, BC and Nancy had steak, Jeff had mussels and I had a pork chop. It was all obscenely good. Dessert, wow, just wow. TBG had a layered panne cotta (regular and peace), the Evans shared a Crème Brule, BC had a chocolate trio and Jeff split some raspberry Cabernet sorbet with me. It was a late night and a long drive, but so worth it.
Then Sunday happened. Oh, boy, what a mess. I was called at noon by Jay asking if I would pick up name badges and make name tags for everyone on the board and staff. Of course, she didn’t tell me where the badge making template was, so I had to make my own. Melissa, the guiding force behind this, showed up, ready to fall apart seven different ways. She begged us to come early to help (TBG and I were serving to begin with, along with Araceli and BC). We got into our blacks (it was only 99 then) and headed to the museum and it was sheer chaos. We were told we were passing, no, we weren’t. People started showing up and I sat down to man the registration desk, which pissed off Caren when she finally showed up because that was HER job. I do not like that lady… I happily left it to her and went into the food room, where the caterer had set up, but didn’t bring any serving utensils. What? Of course, TBG had thought of that and brought along ours (which we happily got back at the end of the evening).
People started showing up and somehow, everything work. People was thrilled and delighted to have been invited to this. I loved the fact that people had name tags, so I could put names to faces. I talk with them on the phone all the time. It was nice. I was supposed to be serving, but Allison, our past president took my spot because she didn’t want to have to mingle.
The cast from Shrek and Hair showed up on time and did an incredible job. They had people on their feet with “Let the Sun Shine.” Gradually, people wandered away and by eight, it was down to just a handful of people. I finally got to have something to drink and visit. We got home around 8:30 to find a message from BC. We were supposed to have given her a ride home as she was coming with Jeff. When Jeff couldn’t make it, we assumed she drove. No, he brought her, but we didn’t know that. Thankfully Jay gave her a ride. I tumbled into bed, giddy from too much wine, too little food and relief that it was over.
Now… if only my head would find the same relief…