It is 6am and I am sitting in the hotel lobby at the Marriott in Santa Barbara. which means three things.
1. I made it to #WBC14!
2. I had so much to say that I couldn’t lay in bed anymore.
3. I had so much self-control last night with the great wine flowing that I was able to get up early!
What an amazing way to begin this trip. Mary Cressler of Vindulge, and I arrived at a similar time in LAX so that we could rent a car and drive up together. I had envisioned plenty of time to stop, enjoy the ocean view, maybe have a bite or glass of wine in Santa Barbara…
I did not envision the anaconda-like line weaving through the rental car lobby. We finally made it through, papers in hand, to go jump in our car and make a mad dash north, only to find….another mob in the back of the building waiting on rental cars that were nowhere to be found. Seriously, it was starting to get a little Lord of the Flies when Mary, our heroine, said, “Give us a car, any car!” It worked. We hit the 405 and made our way to the 101 in decent time. The bus was leaving between 5:30 and 5:45. We pulled in at 5:15. I’d love to tell you that we slid into the the parking lot, pulled the e-brake and spun out in dramatic flair. It would make a better story. But, come on. We’re moms now.
We did, however, make a quick turn around change and make it on the Silver bus! This year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Klein family’s purchase of the winery. In honor of the occasion, the winery held an amazing dinner at a local Farm to Table restaurant in Solvang, Root 246.
Lucky for us, Rachel Voorhees of Rodney Strong likes to start and evening with bubbles so we sipped on Gloria Ferrar Blanc du Noir on route. We arrived to passed appetizers and Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc. After some time to mingle and meet, we were seated and began a family style dinner. Each course, perfectly paired. Each wine, vibrant and delicious.
We had roasted beet salad with the Chalk Hill Chardonnay. Beautiful fruit and minerality. The Kurobuta Pork Collar with the Davis Bynum Pinot Noir was the stand out for me. This wine was so alive, fragrant, red fruit and subtle spice. Just gorgeous. The Santa Maria Tri-tip and the Symmetry wine were both full of balanced flavors. Such a treat. The final course was a chocolate tart with smoked marshmallows served with the Rodney Strong port. Holy yum.
As outstanding as the food and wine were, they were outshined. What a privilege it was to be able to meet people I’ve followed, read, learned from. What a privilege to be here in this beautiful country, sharing meals and wine and laughter. I am, again, so grateful to the sponsors that allowed me to be here and my husband for picking up the slack while I am gone.
In a couple hours, I will be learning about and pouring wines from Portugal. And then about how the experts taste. And then? Wherever this adventure leads. Stay tuned for more! Cheers!
PS-Forgive my less than stellar formatting etc while I am out here. I am technically challenged at ALL times. Even more so posting from my ipad!