Living like Heathens

Sorry for going dark.  The German and I headed south on a road trip to California by way of Willamette Valley Vineyards. ‘On your way to Napa?’ the tasting room pourers asked with keen interest?  “No, by gosh!  We’re heading to the mountains of Northern California to live like heathens and eat bad things that taste good.”

Camping in a tent for five days with no running hot water and no chance of a shower unless you count the lake could be daunting for some. And did I mention this was a family trip with lots of small nieces and nephews attached to hoards of dirty fingers groping, poking and dipping into whatever form of food I might be holding?

Oh yeah, extra crusty!

The most civilized time of day was when I would sip a wonderfully rewarding glass of wine (out of a real wine glass).  I decided that after 10am was as good a time as any. By then the coffee kicked in, the eggs cooked in bacon grease were on their way to some place elegant, and no doubt, it was 5 o’clock somewhere.

Patrick M. Paul Vineyards of Walla Walla, proved to be the first man of the hour.  With a brooding 2004, Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine was hardy and deep, juicy and sublime; lest a bit heavy, for our poorly paired yet easily prepared meal.  Nothing says delicious more then dry macaroni pasta and powdered processed cheese in a blue box.  Now that’s what I’m talking about.

The real gem emerged when, after a hard, hot day of swimming in the lake with several of the little goblins, the German appeared with a cheeseboard, crackers and two wine glasses full of the icy cold 2007, Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling.  He laid the picnic on the shore of the lake as the dragon flies hovered for a dribble.  This Riesling is an all-day drinker.  It’s wonderfully smooth and fresh with crisp green apple, pear and citrus vibrancy.   A small piece of heaven until those grimey hands found us and vultured after our cheese.  Ahhh, family vacations. 

Peter M. Paul Vineyards, 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon: roughly $40

Purchased? At the winery in Walla Walla

Recommend?  Yes – though I don’t recall ever seeing it in stores and the website is lame. Perhaps call the winery.

Willamette Valley Vineyards, 2007 Riesling: $12

Purchased?  The winery in Willamette Valley

Recommend? Yes – can’t beat the price for an all-day drinker!!


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