Ahhh, nothing like a good, stiff glass of wine. And boy has there been some terrific wino events recently for male and female persuasions. Both happen again, one in the fall, the other next spring, so you might just jot your calendar now.
#1: Mt. Veedar Appellation recently celebrated their 20th anniversary at the Presidio Golden Gate Club. Where is Mt Veedar you ask? Good question. It is the mountain that looms over the Napa Valley (Yountville) You probably never noticed it. I didn't. Who would? There's only two public tasting rooms?. but now I know the vino and view are worth the drive.
Mt Veedar hosts the highest vineyards in all of Napa Valley; 2,400 ft. of sheer seabed soil, completely different from the volcanic soils below it. Grapes like tough growing conditions and here they come alive in a unique Napa way. So steep these hills, most harvesting is done by hand. Hearty terrain = hearty grapes = hearty flavor. Next time you're in Napa, take the road less traveled and get high on Mt. Veedar. Find public tasting rooms at Hess Collection Winery on Redwood Road and Fontanella Family Winery on Partrick Road.
#2: I got two tickets to paradise a couple weeks ago. Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Paradise, that is. I knew we gave good pinot around here, but oh my lordy, I had no idea this level of excellence surrounded us. It was a three-day affair, open to the public, with the main event on a Sunday afternoon at Mountain Winery. (It's really unique going there when there is no concert).
On Friday (day one), a debate raged among the predominantly industry crowd in attendance, about why this region is so pinot perfect. Some insisted it's the altitude and long days / cool nights that help pinot grapes thrive where cabernet (the once predominant grape) could not. Others say it's the complexity of the soil. It must be a little of all of it that makes the Santa Cruz Mountains one of the "top 10" places in the world to grow pinot (alongside Burgundy, New Zealand, Sonoma Russian River and Oregon's Willamette Valley). If you are like me and really haven't paid much attention to all this, I encourage you to get two tickets to Paradise. Pack your bags - we'll leave tonight.
Not only do we grow top-notch pinot grapes, we also have very notable pinot makers. I unofficially nominate David House, Mr Ex. Big Wig at Intel, as Host with the Most for the entire affair, flitting about and showcasing his House Family Winery (hey, he's part owner of the place - Mountain Winery - he can do whatever he wants). And while E. and I were tasting Kings Mountain Vineyard wines, the name tag on the unassuming man behind the table, caught her eye.
"Mike Markkula?.. you wouldn't be that Mike Markkula, would you? " Apple's first funder, employee #3, the only adult in the room....
"Why yes I am," he said.
Wow ? so great to meet him! We restrained from asking too many questions about "the ol' days," as he obviously has moved on to new things. Standing behind a table covered with metals, we quickly learned Mike's not only good at computers, he's also really good at making wine.
So get your tickets to Paradise next year ? you'll love it. Insiders tip: go on Friday (less people and food, but cheaper ticket and the wines are the best because it's mostly industry trying to impress each other.
Also note: Mount Veeder's fall tasting is September 6th at Hess Collection Winery in Napa.
* from MJA wine club Ladies Night Out