Sunday, April 11, 2010

Return to Winter

What has happened to spring? It sprang a leak. We’re having the hardest rains of the winter, only it isn’t winter. We headed into the Santa Cruz Mountains this afternoon in the midst of the storm. It was 41 degrees and heavy rain blowing horizontally. We eased carefully along the winding road through rivers of water and passed some small mudslides, and drove through the dense fog on the peaks to make our way to the annual Thomas Fogarty Winery Pinot tasting party. If not for the blazing patches of wildflowers, daffodils and tulips along the roadside, it seemed like the middle of a deep January winter. We were soaked by the time we dashed the brief distance from the car. But once inside, the crackling fire in the fireplace and the rich red pinot noir warmed the body and the soul. The cold cruel weather was forgotten.

There are some significant advantages to joining a wine club reasonably close to home. Events like the pinot tasting party are free for club members at TFW. We had the opportunity to taste some really excellent limited release pinot noirs that won’t show up on the standard tasting menu and are not within our wine budget. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll show up in a future club shipment. We did purchase a couple of bottles of the more reasonably priced Rapley Trail Estate Pinot Noir. I also picked up a couple of bottles of one of my favorite chardonnays, the 2006 Santa Cruz Mountain Estate Chardonnay.

This SCM Estate Chardonnay is another one of the excellent wines we’ve discovered from tasting events at GC Café. Michael Martella, the TF winemaker, was pouring a selection of TF wines one evening soon after I took my first class in food and wine pairing at PCI in Campbell. At the first sip of this wine, my brain nearly exploded with possibilities. I could taste the grilled salmon that was meant to be eaten with it. The wine is a robust and buttery oaked chardonnay that is not for sipping, in my opinion, but belongs with great food. Larry wouldn’t let me buy any that night, insisting it was too expensive. We have since adjusted our wine price point and it has become one of our standards. We eat a lot of salmon. It also pairs really well with our favorite butternut squash risotto.

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