Thursday, January 14, 2010
He is kneeling by her side and she is draped in a form fitting gown, a crown atop her head. Etched in marble are these words, “I will assume the undertaking,” she said, “for my own crown of Castile, and am ready to pawn my jewels to defray the expenses of it, if the funds in the treasury shall be found inadequate.”
Is there a cause in your life that you believe in with all your heart, that you would pawn your jewels?
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Napa Valley Bike Tours. Nick tells me his love of wine and passion for biking is a good fit. “The people I guide on bikes are on vacation, they are already happy, and it’s fun to show my backyard to everyone.” Nick’s “backyard” includes hidden wineries that a visitor might not otherwise discover. “Biking is a good way to see the Napa Valley,” says Nick. “If you’re in a limo or car, the vineyards look like corn rows.” I ask Nick what the policy is on drinking and biking. “We cycle an average of four miles between each wine tasting. It gives people time to burn off alcohol—we’ve had zero accidents related to people being drunk.”
Cliff Lede (pronounced Cliff Lady), a 60-acre winery set in the Stags’ Leap District. This quintessential Napa Valley winery’s got it all: indoor art gallery, outdoor sculptures, state of the art gravity-flow conical tanks, and acres of hidden caves filled with single-layer barrel storage. Owner Cliff Lede, who acquired the property in 2002, put some serious coin into this bucolic slice of heaven. Repeat after me: swank-tastic. I recommend their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (15.2 percent alcohol content—yum!), which conjures exotic spices, old leather, and new money—a winning Napa Valley combination.
Alas, it is time to get back in the saddle, and continue this unique two-wheeled adventure. By the time we get back to our hotel, I discover that bike riding and wine tasting do mix after all. My suggestion is to wait until warmer weather prevails when it's enjoyable rather than just endurable. Next time I’ll tear a page out of Koleen’s Girl Scout book and be prepared—Sunscreen and Chardonnay anyone?
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I sample appetizers of escargot with garlic butter, foie gras pâté served with a port-poached pear, and Miyagi oysters—which, coming from nearby Pt. Reyes, don’t really seem like classic bistro fare until I dab a French-style mignonette potion of vinegar, chili, parsley, and onion on the freshly shucked oysters and voilá—another French star is born, California-style.