Surrounding Yourself With Light & Beauty#2: Saratoga Revisted

When most people think of California Wine Country, Napa and Sonoma Valleys immediately come to mind. There are however, about a dozen other regions to choose from. They’re not as vast as the regions in Europe, but they do offer distinct varietals in the grapes harvested and the type of wine offered. I’ve always been partial to the Russian River Valley for their oak-barrel, heavier whites (think anti-Chardonnay) and usually make a beeline for the Domaine Carneros for its magnificent French castle and sparkling wine, albeit large production facility.

I frequented the Napa Valley Winery Exchange store in San Francisco for the excellent recommendations on smaller wine producers and for their personal touch. I can’t give away my secret list because my favorite reds aren’t produced every year and are highly coveted.

I was looking through my Flickr account and reminded of the lovely weekend I spent in Los Gatos and Saratoga (about an hour south [40 miles] of San Francisco) visiting the wineries there. I thought it was a good idea to branch in the opposite direction to give a different area a try. While I’ve attended quite a few concerts at Mountain Winery – a landmark institution and great wedding locale – it was always in a bit of a rush to survive traffic make it there and back in one evening. It was nice to plan a more leisurely visit.

Since I’ve been notoriously bad at not taking photos during the decade I lived in San Francisco, I’m really kicking myself now for not keeping more personal touchstones.  Ah well…

Je Non Regret Rien

For NorCal residents or visitors, the African-American Vintners Association is hosting a tasting and symposium on June 18th. Feel free to peruse the entire Saratoga set at your leisure. I’d also like to know how many of you would be interested in participating in a BWE-related Weekend Retreat in Wine Country this Fall or next Spring? I’m working on a few ideas for putting talk into action and would like to get an assessment. Send me an email offline actsoffaith@gmail.com. Thanks!

6 comments to Surrounding Yourself With Light & Beauty#2: Saratoga Revisted

  • I used to love drinking wine, but that product burns my throat and chest now. Many years ago, I learned about Zinfandel out there in Sonoma Valley. Delicious stuff. It is a beautiful place. I'd like to go to see San Francisco again, but that area frightens me (and I'm a hardcore NYC girl). Maybe I'll approach it from a different location next time. Unfortunately, I cannot plan any trips at the moment.

    • Faith

      How does San Francisco (one tenth the size of NYC overall and for the purposes of most tourists you're talking a square mile at the most to visit) scare you? Wine burning the throat sounds like you've had really crappy wine (because I don't consider Zin one of the better varietals) or some sort of acid reflux perhaps? Maybe you need to have wine with food instead of drinking it alone or on an empty stomach? I'd ask a sommelier.

      • I thought it was a particular wine, but all of them don't agree with me anymore. I can't drink Sangria, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir -- nothing. So I stopped trying. I'm a vodka chick now.

        In S.F. I made the mistake of staying in the financial district. I came back from the waterfront while it was getting dark. I got off the bus with other people thinking some of them were heading in the same direction, and it was a bit of a walk to the hotel. I looked around and nobody was around! Folks just disappeared. I though the place was 24/7 like New York. I was scared because the homeless there are no joke.

        I admit I don't know the city, so it was strange and new territory to me. Hey, I don't even go into Philly, because I don't know it, and I'm not too far from it.

        I'm weird. I can head off to a foreign country, but the cities here kinda frighten me.

        • Faith

          Ah…I wonder if you were all the way over past Sacramento Street? There are pockets in-between the neighborhoods that will be very quiet after the commuters take off. I could see why that would be disconcerting if you hadn't anticipated it. Even in NYC I wouldn't be walking around Water Street and the surrounding blocks during certain times because it's deserted. Also, because I saw the "regulars" in certain neighborhoods I'd already given money or food to all of the homeless people in my vicinity so they were no longer strangers to me. That was never case when I lived in NYC. You had a rather unusual experience to be certain. Thank goodness for the internet and local blogs. I research public transit and proximity to places I need to go very intently for this very same reason!

  • Shermy

    Maybe I'm just not quite a grown-up yet, but I have a hard time liking wine…ah well, beautiful surroundings though!

    • Faith

      You haven't had a decent glass yet. Once you find one you really enjoy, you'll come around. It's like the difference between top shelf and pee water grain alcohol.