Monday, March 26, 2007

Wino country

I love wine. I love the pretty labels, the fancy corks, the protocol of opening a bottle. I also, on occasion, enjoy drinking it. I think that part of my fascination with wine comes from growing up in a culture (Utah) where it is so vigorously sequestered. You can only buy it in state run liquor stores, and even then the selection is pretty crappy. You have to go to a special wine store to get anything good. Because of the mystique surrounding wine in my state I find myself goggle-eyed in places where liquor runs free as the wind. All of the varieties, all of the brands -- available in the grocery store! I find myself wanting to spin around and sing like Julie Andrews. So, obviously, when Tara said they wanted to take us to wine country I was more than happy to go.

The drive up the coast to Santa Barbara was lovely. The sky was blue, the waves were crashing and the traffic was co-operating. It was like the universe wanted to help us on our way to a mid-morning buzz. We started at a small winery in a pink castle. The fairy tale allusions just made it that much better. The wine was delicious, and we got to keep the glasses! Really, free wine glasses. If I had known about this two years ago Ryan and I wouldn't have registered for stemware. Of course, I'm also the woman who wanted to register for Muppets collectors glasses.

Tara tries the wares

For hours we sniffed, we swirled, we talked about fruitiness and nice legs, compared tannins and pretended we knew anything about wine other than it goes in your mouth and gives you a nice warm feeling. My favorite vineyard was one we visited at the very end of the day, mainly because I got to see a lizard. Oh, yeah, and there was a dog there who liked playing fetch with a cork. It was kind of like an alcoholic petting zoo. I couldn't have been happier, I mean, unless there had been monkeys.

He was so drunk.

There was really only one distressing moment of the day. Tara, not liking the wine we were sampling POURED IT OUT. I'm not kidding. Not even thinking about it, like wine grows on trees, she poured it into the large spit bucket on the counter. And suddenly I understood that scene in "Sideways." I looked at Tara, trying to understand what had happened to my friend. "What?" she said, "I don't like it." I hope that reasoning is good enough for the sober children in Africa.

Ryan and I ended up taking home seven bottles of wine. We plan to drink it from our souvenir glasses, watching the sunset into the west -- the land of wine, and freedom.


Ellen said...

That sounds delightful... and I don't even drink. But I do LOVE Sideways... plus that area is where my mother grew up.

Amanda said...

Any cans of champagne??

Tara said...

I just want to point out that the ONE time I poured that TINY amount of (bad) wine into the spit bucket it was the SEVENTH winery we had been to that day. I'm no math whiz, but 5-8 one ounce "tastes" times 7...ummm, yeah - I think that equals blotto.

Tara said...

P.S. Nice job publishing the picture that really highlights that big zit on my chin. Thanks, jerk.

Tara said...
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