Friday, September 2, 2011

Lucky Lady

 Day 6: Wherein we reach California!

Yeah, we stayed at the Rancheria Resort Casino. And you can too.
Consider it my public service to you.

Here's the thing though... we had breakfast in the casino. Because, well, it's where we stayed. Is anybody not familiar with these Indian (non-Vegas) type casinos? You know, the kind where people reincarnate from 70's truck stops and discos just long enough to play the slots (the women) and $5 black jack (the men) while smoking and drinking cheap alcohol in plastic cups at ten in the morning, with their hair piled high (the women) or hanging low (the men) or hidden under trucker hats with awful sayings on them (the men and the women) once there's an audience (of, say, two people on a wine tasting tour) and then evaporate back into time never to be seen again because they can't possibly still exist in 2011? Those casinos? Yes, that's where we had breakfast. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't any Keno to be played while I nursed my coffee but I was able to adjust (oooh, look! shiny object!) when I saw corned beef hash and eggs on the menu. Also, I did have to put a quarter into a lobster-themed slot machine. I won. I mean, just by being able to play a crustacean casino game, I won.

There was more wine to taste though, so we couldn't linger. We took our money and ran. We ran all the way to Lake County, California and Gregory Graham wines. Gregory was getting ready for a big wine festival weekend but kindly agree to meet with us and pour some of his wines. So while his team cleaned and spiffed and shined and generally prepared the barrel room and tasting room for the onslaught of semi-inebriated tourists soon to arrive, Greg dealt with two not-yet-inebriated, not spiffed, not shined tourists like, um, well, us. So glad he did!  We tried 7 of his wines and pretty much loved every one. Favorites were the 2009 Red Hills AVA Rose' ((60% Grenache and 40% Syrah) and the 2008 Cinder Cone blend (Syrah, Cab, Grenache, Malbec).

Our next stop was Steele Winery & Vineyard...where we tasted fifteen wines. Yes, 15. 1 and 5. 15 wines. For those of you keeping score...we are now at 112 wines tasted and we're half way through day 6. You see why this is epic wineapalooza mother of all wine tasting trips? But back to those 15 wines.

Chris with Steve Tylicki...and those 15 wines!

Steele Winery Tasting room

We loved Steele. Steven Tylicki, general manager,  grape grower, olive oil producer extraordinaire and jovial wine guy was our tasting guide, joined by Quincy Steele, the owner/ winemakers (not tough on the eyes) son who also has a label of his own (Writer's Block the name, love the wines; I bought a baseball cap, a fridge magnet, and several bottles of wine, including a few as gifts.). They too were getting ready for the big wine weekend (the one we were racing ahead of....we like our tastings a little more private; how else would we get to taste 15 wines??) but they gave us their full attention. And what did we love at Steele? Well....Steve and Quincy of course (and Steve's Olio Demendo  Olive Oil is very, very good!) but also:

2008 Writer's Block Tempranillo
2008 Writer's Block  Malbec
2009 Shooting Star Blue Franc (Blaufrankisch wine)
OKay, Okay, I also loved the Writer's Block Viognier.

We did finally tear ourselves away (Steve had to help us load up the car; and I know you'll ask so I'll just admit my failure...I did not get a photo of Quincy Steele. My bad.)

I think we all realize now, don't we, that it's going to take me longer to blog about this trip than the trip itself took. So you won't be surprised to know....this day is also being split into 2 blogs. Because there were 2 more wineries and then our drive to Geyserville Inn.  Busy, busy  day. But for now...go pour yourself a glass. We'll see you back later.


  1. Love the way you write! Like we were sitting side by side.
    I can 'see' the casino from here! Like stepping back, way back in time. food was good back then though I guess!
    Makes me want to go wine-tasting'....never have as of yet.

  2. Thanks, Jim. And definitely go wine tasting somewhere, somehow, someday!

  3. We've had such a lazy/busy (is that possible) looking frwd to reading your road trip...I need a good book...hey I got your blog! Cheers!


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