Friday, December 28, 2007

Wine Country Christmas

(The pictures do not adequately capture how cold it was.)

I would like to start off by pointing out that I was going to Healdsburg before it was popular. Here's a photo I snapped from the bike (stopped) on a road we were riding on somewhere just outside of Healdsburg.

It was not quite Chianti scenic, but not bad for the weekend budget (and for winter).

So we're riding along, in 39 degree weather (have I ever mentioned that I'm not much for cold weather cycling gear), and we pass by Lambert Bridge Winery. The billows of smoke emanating from the chimney were enough to draw me in.

$10 to taste their non-reserve (and rather mediocre) wines. They pour in Riedel stems; I was impressed only until we went to Ridge and dinner, where we also drank from Riedels.

A few Napa highlights:

1) Hagafen Cellars: The guys pouring wine in the tasting room were not that interested in talking to me about the Koshering process...most likely because there were two couples who looked far more Jewish than Nicole and me (and my Kaiser friend Nam). As far as I know, Hagafen is the only winery in the Valley open on Christmas.

2) Winston Hill Cabernet at Frank Family Vineyards: There are not too many places in Napa that will let you taste a $125 bottle of wine without charging you (unless you are somebody important...or at least with somebody important). They do have to be in the mood to pour the expensive stuff for you.

3) Vino Bello Resort: Part of the Meritage Resort...I guess it's a timeshare, but nobody tried to sell us anything while we were there. Pretty close to staying in a vineyard, without being in an old creeky house. Here's the view from our room:

This one is back in Sonoma. I shall title it: "Michael and Nephew".

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter Storm 2008

If you have ever lived anywhere with real weather, you probably wonder how a little rain can make so much news in Sunny California.

Rain began pelting parts of Southern California early today as a fierce winter storm from the Pacific Northwest moved in ahead of schedule, triggering fears that recent wildfires may have left the region susceptible to flash flooding.

With a forecast like that, I felt confident telling my boss I would run the Irvine half marathon with him...just as long as it was not raining. Sadly, there was no rain on Saturday morning, and before I was fully awake, I found myself running a half marathon. For anyone who has been considering running a half marathon: If you are not in shape, a half marathon is not a whole lot easier than running a whole marathon.

I slowed the boss down a little, but we still turned in pretty respectable times.

Next up: Los Angeles (eh?), or the District of Colombia. Do I dare try two in the same month?