Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pinot Large Group Blind Tasting

We invited some friends over to do a blind tasting. Everyone was to bring a bottle and a decanter. The group established the parameters via 50 emails (not kidding): We would only taste Pinots that cost at least $20, and no one could bring a group favorite (Burrell School was out). I told everyone we would do something simple for dinner.

As the guests arrived, I helped them to open and bag their contributions. I then hid the wine away in the living room, trying to minimize any information about the wines. When everyone had arrived, my oldest daughter, Kaitlynn, randomly lettered the bagged wines. Almost everyone brought two wines, making nine in total to taste.

The wines bagged and randomly lettered
Kaitlynn and Sue then combined the wines with random decanters Everyone else waited impatiently outside enjoying good conversation, cheese & crackers, caprese sticks (tomatoes, mozzarella, and prosciutto on a toothpick), and some plain prosciutto for the meatetarian.

The wines poured into random decanters
One by one we tasted the wines, writing down notes and ratings. After everyone had a chance to form opinions, we discussed the wine. By the third wine I knew I was in trouble; it was hard to discern the subtleties among the many Pinots. Others had less of a problem, putting my tasting sheet to shame, but that didn't stop me from enjoying some wonderful Pinots.

Jose was a good sport to join us, given his disregard for Pinot and love of Zin. He was given a good amount of grief for bringing a $10 wine at the previous blind tasting. All the while he unfavorably compared the wines to Burrell School's PTA Pinot. He reminded me of an old Mike Myer's SNL skit. If it's not PTA, it's crap!

As we tasted, the less desirables created a grand concoction in our dump buckets, also known as Sue's flower vases. The group joked that whomever would drink it would get $100. Thank goodness, no one attempted the gross task.

I enjoy a taste in my classy wine tasting shirt
We were lucky to have Paul and Jennifer join us
Jose enjoying the evening
After we tasted them all, we all read our scores and tasting notes. Ted did the math. We revealed one by one from worst to best.


Right to left, best to worst
Here's best to worst:
  1. 2008 Windy Oaks Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains
  2. 4.0 Average

    • $30.99 at Whole Foods, $27.90 if you buy 6 wines
    • Ted & Shannon brought this
  3. 2007 Kings Mountain Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
  4. 3.89 Average

    • $42 directly from King's Mountain Vineyard
    • Double Gold - Best of Micro Wineries - 98 points, 2011 California State Fair Wine Competition
    • Bob & CJ brought this because of its showing in the California State Fair Wine Competition
  5. 2007 Molnar Family, Poseidon's Vineyard
  6. 3.56 Average

    • $25.99 from K&L Wine
    • Jose brought this
  7. 2008 Dehlinger, Goldridge Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Estate Bottled
  8. 2.78 Average

    • $50 - Ted's estimate
    • Ted & Shannon brought this
  9. 2008 Varner, Santa Cruz Mountains, Spring Ridge Vineyard, Three Blocks
  10. 2.67 Average

    • $36.99 from K&L Wine
    • Sue & I brought this because it was the only 90 - 100 rated Pinot from Santa Cruz Mountains that K&L had
  11. 2007 Bargetto, Santa Cruz Mountains, Regan Vineyards Reserve
  12. 2.17 Average

    • Best-Pinot Noir-in-California, Best-of-Class in the Greater Bay Appellations, a Double Gold Medal and 98 points, 2010 California State Fair Wine Competition
    • $50 directly from Bargetto
    • Sue & I brought this because of its showing in the California State Fair Wine Competition
  13. 2006 Kings Mountain Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
  14. 2.17 Average

    • $39 directly from King's Mountain Vineyard
    • Bob & CJ brought this to compare it to the double gold vintage
  15. 2008 Elk Cove Vineyards, Willamette Valley
  16. 2.06 Average

    • $25
    • Paul & Jennifer brought this. 2008 is a supposed to be a good vintage for Oregon wines.
  17. 2009 A to Z, Oregon
  18. 1.72 Average

    • $20 directly from A to Z
    • Paul & Jennifer brought this
Paul & Jennifer's choices both came in last, much to Paul's dismay. He vowed to do better at the next event. As a side note: If we were giving away prizes for best decanter, they would have won.


After revealing all the winners and retrying our favorites, we ate. We enjoyed beef bourguignon, chili, corn bread, and mashed potatoes. This was my wonderful wife's idea of something "simple." I enjoyed 3 helpings of chili. Yumm! She followed this up with warm chocolate chip cookies. A sweet ending to a wonderful night.


Ted put all the data together and made a nice graph.

Ted's impressive graph
Ted discovered some of the bottles cheaper than $20 online, presupposing that Paul had broken the pricing rules. We joked that we would have to carefully consider his involvement in the next event.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fact Check : Cork

Georis Winery in Carmel Valley has a beautiful cork tree in their tasting area. Seeing such an interesting tree makes you wonder how often cork is harvested. It also comes up from time to time when tasting. I had it in my mind that it could only be harvested every 70 years, which, when said aloud, sounds like it can't possibly be true. I took out Jancis Robinson's, The Oxford Companion to Wine to get my facts straight.

The Facts:

Cork trees are a species of oak

First harvest - 25 years
Subsequent harvests - minimum 9 years (according to Portuguese law)

Average lifespan - 170 years

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cannery Row Wine Walk

We hit the wineries of downtown Monterey figuring that while downtown would surely be packed, the tasting rooms would probably remain empty until afternoon when the joy of parenting would have caught up with some of the parents.

We hit Bargetto at 11:15, but unfortunately it wasn't open yet, so we moved on.

Ironically, days before I had taken notice of the California State Fair 2011 contest winners, as previously mentioned. I looked at what I thought were the results from 2011 and sent Bargetto a message of congratulations in an attempt to find the double gold Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Pinot. I later realized that I was looking at the 2010 results. Doh! I figured Bargetto would write me back, informing me of the wanker that I had been, but instead they found a bottle somewhere deep in their storage for me to enjoy. All of this I totally spaced as we stared at the closed sign.

A Taste of Monterey

We were the first of the day to taste at this somewhat hidden Wine Center, around the back and up the stairs, which represented tons of regional wineries. The place had a large shopping area, and a wine press used by Paul Mason. The back wall was all windows, showing a fantastic view of the bay. It was a clear day. The bay was beautiful and full of kayaks.

The wine tasting area
The view out the window
Our pourer took good care of us, telling us about the other wineries on the wine walk, and discussing interesting wine events she had worked at.

The tasting menu had 3 different flights, 2 of which we tried and enjoyed between us.

Ted found an excellent doormat.

Scheid Vineyards

Scheid was unfortunately closed for a private party.

Winery Details

Baywood Cellars

Baywood Cellers was a nicely decorated place, with a long bar.

One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet took care of us. He had a strong Boston accent. He told some great stories, that at times I wondered where were going, but always ended up in an appropriately warm or fun place. When asked if he preferred the Tempranillio or the Malbec, he said, "I like the Syrah." He told us that he had spent 3 sessions watching "the Hobbit thing, but didn't understand a thing of them". I assumed he was talking about The Lord of the Rings, and smiled.

After some good banter, Ted broke out his new wine joke:

An old couple was setting on the porch swing, enjoying a glass of wine.
The woman said, "I love you. I don't know how I would survive without you."
To which the man asked, "Is that you or the wine talking?"
The woman replied, "It's me, talking to the wine."

The wine was hit or miss, but all of us enjoyed the Syrah. We took some home to enjoy again.

Winery Details

Pierce Ranch Vineyards

Other wine tasters arrive after us. We had seen them at Baywood.
Our final stop was Pierce Ranch, a nice tasting room that looked like it was once a house. The tasting area wasn't large, but big enough for 8 to 10 tasters. A vinyl Bob Dylan album served as the score for our tasting. On the wall, Ted noticed a post it note: Wine Tasting = Success! He thought this seemed appropriate for me, given my quest to taste all the wineries in California.

Our pourer took good care of us. He was very knowledgeable about the wines and answered every question we had about the lesser known varietals and blends.

Pierce specialized in Spanish and Portuguese varietals, a refreshing change from what we'd had. Everything we tasted was very nice, and very reasonably priced.

Winery Details


Winery/Deal of the Day: I have to give the nod to Pierce Ranch for the best winery as well as the best deals. Their entire stock was a deal.

Wine Read : An American Hears the Call of Burgundy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monterey River Road Wine Trail

We hit the river road wine trail of Monterey wine country with Ted and Shannon. River road is a winding road, somewhat barren, that runs along side of 101, full of vineyards, tasting rooms, and some nice vistas.

River Road

It wasn't very busy the day we were there. We guessed this was due to the Salinas Rodeo and U.S. Grand Prix at Laguana Seca going on. We were lucky not to be stopped by the daily Rodeo parade that people were lining the streets for.

Our first stop was the beautiful Paraiso Vineyards. The tasting room was very nice, full of natural light, and had a lot of room for tasting and browsing. It doubled as a boutique with items ranging from chocolates and spa items, to a giant mirror and a chaise lounge. It was an interesting place.

The back opened onto a large porch that had seating and a view of grape vines. It was lovely. Picnic tables were also nearby. I was worried that the area would get hot later in the day, but our pourer explained that this was not the case, since winds picked up around 2 and cooled the valley.

Ted photographs the view
The View

It looked like they had a good area for events as well.

Event Area?
Our pourer took great care of us, telling us what we need to know about the wines, giving us recommendations for other wineries to visit, and other interesting tidbits. It was a pleasure talking to her.

The wine was excellent. Our favorites included 2 of the 3 Pinots we tried, and the Syrah. The Faite Pinot was good too, but seemed a tad expensive at $65. The Irie Zin didn't work for most of us, but introduced us to the new word, which means a state of no worries. My wife also picked up a couple of Rieslings to share with friends; they had a great special on them; buy one, get the other at half price.

Hahn had a large tasting room, with plenty of counter space. The had a giant back porch, with nice picnic tables, and a lovely view. It was a step up from Paraiso, but both would be enjoyable picnic destinations.

The restrooms were very nice and had rocks in the sinks, which reminded me of a trip to Bimbo's to see Poe where a good friend was overly impressed with ice in the urinals. I'm not certain I understand the purpose in either case.

Our pourer took good care of us. She filled us in on some of the history. The place was a horse ranch at one time, which could explain the rich soil she joked. The Hahns purchased the place from Smith and Hook 30 some years ago, but still used the Smith & Hook label for their high end wines. They also said they were starting up a culinary institute.

The wine was very good. I liked the 2009 SLH Estate Pinot, the Meritage, and the Cab. They also had a blend that none of us were familiar with: GSM, a Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedere blend. The 2010 GSM tasted good and was an incredible deal at $12. We took a couple home to further prove or deny our initial thoughts.

After we purchased the wine, our pourer offered to carry the wine to the car for us. I thanked her, but explained that Ted and I were burly men and could handle it.

On our way to Wrath we found an interesting old house.

Across the road were a bunch of cows.

As we took pictures of them, they slowly moved towards us. We weren't sure why they seemed strangely attracted to us. Could it possible have been Ted's mooing?

We got back in the car and headed to Wrath. Shannon introduced us to PopChips, whose motto, "Love, without the handles", was pretty catchy.

Wrath was like an oasis rising out of the fields of grapes on river road. The tasting room had ample room to taste. It had a lovely outdoor area, with picnic tables, viewing a lake surrounded by flowers.

In the distance you could see the interesting old house we saw on the way. It turned out to be on their label.

Our pourers took good care of us, waiting on us outside at one of the tables. We noticed the cows had seemed to follow us down to Wrath. One of the pourers explained that it was feeding time for the cows and they were heading to eat.

The wine was good. They are known for the Chards and my wife picked one up. I picked a Pinot, shocker!, to enjoy later.

Pessagno had a large tasting room. It was a nice place to hang out.

The outdoor area had picnic tables with a view of a lake that was almost an eye sore when compared to Wrath.

We were treated to some very good tasting, fresh wild boar sausage. The boar had been shot that morning! We were taken care of by two different pourers. One was a pleasure to deal with, while we never clicked with the other. He was very enthusiastic, and liked to talk, but the interactions were not comfortable. My purchase was somewhat uncomfortable as well due to one of the staff.

The wine was hit or miss. We picked up two of the lower end Pinots and a Zin to try again later.

The tasting room was in the corner of a shed. It wasn't fancy, but it worked well enough. As we entered, another couple was leaving; they let us know that they thought this was the best wine in the area.

The wine maker, Joel Burnstein, poured for us. We were impressed that the wine maker was taking care of us. He informed us that in addition to being a pourer, he was also janitor and book keeper for the winery. He was an incredibly nice guy. We had fun picking his brain and joking around as we tasted. He explained to us that the name came from his better half's maiden name, not his name before the surgery.

One of his two dogs, Snead,  was resting on the cool concrete floor. Joel showed us the picture of him and his brother Hogan in the book Wine Dogs USA 2. They were adorable. He told us his customers would bring the dogs treats. We all took turns petting Snead, but he wasn't incredibly interested in us. He looked worn out. His brother was outside by the house and wouldn't come when called, but that didn't stop Ted from saying hello with a nice pet.

The wine was very good. They specialized in Rhone blends. They had a very nice GSP, a Grenache, Syrah, Petite Syrah blend. Joel said it used to be a GSM, but he couldn't find a good source of Mourvedere. The Grenanche and Syrah were also very good.

Winery Details


Favorite Winery: This is a toss up between Paraiso Vineyards, for the great wines and overall experience, and Marilyn Remark, for the very good wine and overall experience Joel gave us.

Deal of the Day:  $12 2010 GSM from Hahn Winery

Friday, July 22, 2011

2011 California State Fair Commercial Wine Competition

I'm not certain where to find the results, but examiner posts by Steve Ferree show winners in two areas close by.

Santa Cruz Mountains

Bargetto Winery

I've never been. I'll have to put this on my must hit list.

Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards

This is a fun, down to earth winery with some nice wine.

Kathryn Kennedy Winery

Unfortunately, this winery is not open to the public, but the wine is readily available. The Estate Cabernet and the Small Lot Cabernet are wonderful. I wish I enjoyed them more often. It takes a very special occasion for me to splurge for the Estate Cabernet, given its $100+ price tag, like a good friend's 55th birthday. Pick up a Small Lot Cab as well and a good time will be had by all comparing, contrasting, and enjoying them both.

The Lateral has never done much for me. I don't recall ever trying any of the other varietals.

Kings Mountain Vineyards

Unfortunately, this winery is not open to the public. I'll have to try to find some to taste.

Loma Prieta Winery

A beautiful winery, with very nice grounds, including a bocce court, and a stunning view. It's a great place to have lunch. The wines have been hit or miss, depending on the year. The 2008 Viognier was an absolute hit, especially with many of the wives, but the 2009 was not.

Martin Ranch Winery

I've never been. I'll have to put this on my must hit list.

Sonnet Wine Cellars

Unfortunately, this winery is not open to the public. I'll have to try to find some to taste.

Storrs Winery

When I asked Bruce Cass, a great teacher of Fundamentals of Taste & Smell, what his favorite Santa Cruz Mountains winery was, he replied Storrs. While it's not my favorite, it is very nice. They have a huge number of wines that are all very good and priced lower than expected. They are very generous when it comes to allowing groups to group their purchases to get a maximum discount and will even include your wine club bottles in the count up for a case discount. Some wineries are major pains when it comes to this. Storr's attitude was friendly and refreshing. What is not to like about this place?

Thomas Fogerty Winery

Fogerty has a fantastic view. It's a beautiful place to get married. I have had two friends get married there, one of which even invited me. Their wine is good, but a little overpriced. While the fantastic view is available for events, the tasting room really doesn't have that good of a view. They frequently throw great events for their wine club members. They are isolated from other wineries, so it's hard to plan a trip and include them, unless you are interested in only going to one winery. *gasp*

Villa del Monte Winery

This winery is run by two very nice guys who make and sell some good wine. One of them turns out to be a glass blowing partner of a good friend. It's a small world.

Woodside Vineyards

I've never been. I'll have to put this on my must hit list. It's not generally open regular hours, and so harder to get to.

Sones Cellars

A hole in the wall wineries that producing some surprisingly great wine that is priced well.

Livermore Valley

I'm embarrassed to say that while Livermore is about as close as many of the other wineries I've visited, I've never been. In fact, I've wondered if they could be any good at all. I guess I can stop wondering.

There are at least 43 wineries in the area. I'll have to plan a trip starting from the narrowed down list of this year's 12 winners. It'll take at least 3 trips just to hit those 12, let alone the other 31. The beauty of the pursuit of good wine is that it's a lifelong goal. The good news is, I have plenty of time.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taste First

I've bought wine sight unseen before. K&L is a great example. I love their web site. Its search ability is incredible. It's a lot of fun searching for a California, Pinot Noir, within a given price range, and a given rating that I have never tried before. I always have fun when I do this. Unfortunately, when I bring it home I may or may not like it. This is to be expected, but I prefer my $30+ wine bets to be good more often than not. That is why I prefer to taste before I buy.

Wine enjoyment is all about you and what tastes good to you. An eloquent description and a 94 from Robert Parker is great, but if it doesn't taste good to you, what does it matter.

I'm not the best taster. I try my best, but my ability to identify scents and tastes is often limited. I smell and taste, but I'm just not certain what I'm smelling and tasting. People that know me will tell you this is partly because my palette is incredibly limited. I like to call myself a meatetarian, or a meat and potatoes man, if that gives you a clue. Friends often laugh when I say something smells vegetal, considering the amount of vegetables that I've tasted, they doubt I know what it means. That said, when I taste, I can accomplish what I need to. I can tell if I like the wine or not, which is all that matters to me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Passport

On a whim I thought I could further my long term goal of tasting all the wineries around me by going out on the Santa Cruz Mountains Winery Association's Summer Passport and hitting some of the wineries that seem to only open on that day. I sent out a message. Bob and Carolyn replied, they were in.

I've never ventured out on a passport day. I've heard there were mobs of people, including roving packs of young people driving around in party vans, more interested in getting intoxicated, than wine appreciation, hardly the type of thing that sounds appealing.

11AM - La Honda

This urban winery is located in Redwood City. As we followed my car's navigation system I found myself wondering what I had gotten us into. Right in front of the winery parking sign was a Jaguar with no doors. I found myself wondering, was this a previous customer of the winery? I feared for my Honda Civic, realizing that it was likely my car would not be a target.

I quickly realized that I was being silly, as my wife would say. Next door was an auto body shop that must have been using the cars out front for parts or something. No one was going to put my car on blocks, and steal everything they could off of it.

The winery had an inviting exterior.

We were warmly greeted at the door. We attempted to purchase a passport, but were informed that they did not have any, but we could taste now and purchase one later at Domenico, a mile awhile.

The tasting room was very impressive. It had plenty of room for tasting, was nicely decorated, and had a gift shop. Plenty of tasty food was laid out to enjoy.
Sue, Bob, and Carolyn enjoy a taste.

Nicely decorated tasting room
We were taken care of by a co-owner of the winery. I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember his name. He was fun, friendly, and informative. He took very good care of us. Sue and I were the first ones there, but had to meander through the first two tastings, waiting for Bob and CJ to show up. Our pourer made the time fly with never a dull or awkward moment. Everyone we talked to was very nice and informative.

We tasted 2 whites and 4 reds. The 2010 Sauvignon Blanc had a fruity smell, and a clean, crisp taste. The 2009 Chardonnay was more my speed, dry, and tasty, for a white. We then tried 3 cabs: 2007 Naylor's, 2007 Salinian Block, and 2007 Lonehawk. The Naylor's smelled and tasted like a fresh cab to me; Sue smelled hints of chocolate. The Salinian was more full bodied, didn't get much smell, and didn't taste as good to me. The Lonehawk had a lovely smell, and good taste. My initial impression favored the Nayler's, but I picked up one of each to try again. The red blend and the pinot were both sold out and not being tasted. Bob pulled out his trick, "If I buy one, can we taste it," which I've copied many times, and we all got a taste of the 2009 Pinot, which tasted a little young, but good none the less.

Winery Details

Noon - Mun's Vineyard Pouring at Vino Locale

We got lucky finding a parking place right in front of Vino Locale. Our luck ended there though, as it was closed for a private party. It looked like a nice place, from the outside. The plan was to taste Mun's wine and then eat here. We ate at La Strada instead.
The only view we had of Vino Locale
Naumann Vineyards

After lunch we headed down south and up Montebello Road to Naumann. The navigation system told us we were there about a mile early. I thought we had missed it and would have to call for directions when we reached Ridge, but right before Ridge we saw a sign on the right side of the road and pulled in. Parking was painful. I imagined this is only true passport weekend, since they can accommodate 10 cars easily. We parked in the drive way and followed the signs around back.

Out back we found an incredible view of the valley from the house' huge back porch. Food and water were available, but I didn't check them out, as the view was more interesting. From the porch you could also see the grapes, growing on the vines.

Sue enjoys
The view of the valley. Steven's Creek Reservoir in view.
The staff was attentive, informative, and cordial. The place was packed, but I never felt like I had to wait for my next tasting. We didn't get a lot of attention, given the size of the crowd, but no complaints.

The wine was all Merlot based, except for a Chard. It included a Rose, a Chardonnay, two Merlots, and a late harvest Merlot. I thought the Rose and the older of the two Merlots, which tasted sour, were both nice. Unfortunately, none of us thought the wine was incredible.

We were able to buy our passports here. I bought ours and a couple of bottles to confirm or deny our initial impressions at a later date.

Winery Details

Ridge Vineyards

Since we had just paid $40 for our passports, we figured we may as well get our money's worth, and decided to check out Ridge, despite having gone there many times before.

Ridge was packed, but we were lucky enough to get room at the tasting bar.

Ridge had a big tasting room, able to accommodate many comfortably. It had a great outdoor area, with picnic tables, and an incredible view of the valley, a little higher up from Naumann.

We were taken care of by a very friendly, informative, and knowledgeable pourer. He impressed us with his decanting skills, pouring freshly opened bottles into decanters and back into the bottle without any aid, all the while reminding us that his display proved he rarely tasted while working. He was a lot of fun. He went out of his way to try and find a wine that Carolyn liked.

The wine was wonderful, as it usually is. My favorite was the 2008 Buchignani Carignane. Ridge are the masters of Zin, for sure, but none of the Zins we tried really worked for me.

After the tasting, Sue and I checked out the view.

View off to the right (San Jose)

View off to the left (towards SF)
We didn't see any rattlesnakes.

Winery Details

Pichetti Winery

I'm not certain why, since we've been there many times before, but Bob wanted to hit Picchetti on the way down.

Walking from the parking lot to the tasting room
Pichetti was packed as well, but they quickly found us a spot from which we could taste.

Pichetti has a huge tasting room. Since we usually visit at open time, I've often wondered why they needed this much room, but after seeing the passport crowd I now understand. Pichetti has very nice grounds, roaming peacocks, a nice picnic area, and a rustic farm appeal.

As always, we were served by friendly, informative, staff. He was more rushed today than usual, but had time to tell us about all the wines we tried and any options we had. Sue and I are members, and he went out of his way to tell us about the 8 bottles of library Merlot, and the limited supply of the Estate Zinfindel they had left, for club members only.

The wine was very good. My hope was to find something CJ liked, and the forth attempt we succeed: the white dessert white, Mission Angelica, served with a lime and an ice cube. Since my love, the Belicitti Zinfindal is out, I no longer have a day to day from Pichetti. I really like the Vino Di Vincio, Cab, and Estate Zinfindal, but they're all a little too expensive to be having daily. I try to keep a couple on hand for those special occasions, and Pichetti's recent buy half a case and get the club case prices really help.

Winery Details


We had a great day. While we did run into crowds, I don't think we ran into any vans of heathens, though we did get a hint of one as we were leaving Naumann.

That said, I don't recommend passport days for the more serious taster. The appeal of paying $40 once and getting free tastings isn't typically a win for us, since we usually buy a bottle, offsetting the tasting fees. The crowds are a real turn off as well. I like enjoying tastings with my wife and friends, spiced up with the occasional stranger's comments, but I prefer the more intimate tastings, and tend to go earlier in the day to avoid the crowds.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lobster Rolls at Picchetti

We received word that the Old Port Lobster Shack truck was going to be at Picchetti on Sunday via their wine club member mailing. My wife loved the thought of Lobster rolls, wine, and some hiking with the family.

After doing some research, we thought it would take a couple of hours to hike the path. The truck was due at 12, so if we started hiking around 10 we would be done just in time to hopefully get a table and food. Live music, provided by Better Daze, was supposed to start at 1. I figured we would probably be out of there before then.

The roosters were crowing when we arrived. A peacock was in great view as well; first on the roof, then later in full plume near the chickens. My wife and kids noticed that the peacock would ruffle its feathers together, back against the front, making sort of a rattlesnake sound when it was bothered by the roosters. This kept the cameras very busy.

We should have prepared better for the hike. We took what looked like the 3 mile loop and it turned out to be maybe a mile. We were back within 30 minutes, which lead to us to wine tasting and our children to boredom. Next time I'll do a little more research to determine where exactly this 3 mile loop is.

My wife and I tried their whites and a rose:

  • 2009 White Pavone
  • 2008 Leslie's Estate Chardonnay
  • 2010 Mattie Rose
The Pavone and Rose both tasted very nice. The Chardonnay had some taste that didn't work for me, though my wife liked it as well. My wife chose the Rose, which tasted very refreshing on the warm day.

Better Daze started early and we enjoyed some of their 60s & 70s music.

When the Lobster Shack truck pulled up, we quickly moved to get in line. My son must have been very hungry, because he dragged us near the front of the line. 20 minutes later the truck opened. By then a good line had formed. It took us 20 minutes to get our food, and we were third in line. I'm guessing the people at the end waited easily an hour.

The lobster rolls were not cheap, but were excellent! My family also enjoyed a cup of clam chowder, lobster mac & cheese, a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, and a tri tip sandwich, all of which got great reviews.

When everyone was full, we packed up, and headed home for an afternoon cat nap.