Sunday, November 20, 2011

So Much Wine...So Little Time

The last day of Wineapalooza...
I love Paso Robles, so I really didn't want to leave, but alas, we have jobs (no, I promise!) and we missed Seamus, so we packed up and made our leisurely way home. In downtown Paso we had lunch and hit the Paso Wine Centre tasting room. We were a little early (12 is too early for wine?? What??) so only JK Wines and Roxo Port were pouring....but they were worth the trip! We then decided to drive around enjoying the beautiful day  and randomly picking a winery to visit. My random pick was Red Soles winery. Much like picking Irish Vineyards a few days back, this one had my name all over it...they've got a shoe theme going!
See? Paso is just gorgeous!!

Our 40th winery visited and 330th wine tasted (in my glass--2010 Stiletto: a Late Harvest Viognier).
And look, we're still standing!! Now, we could have just stopped at 40 wineries and 330 wines tasted, which would have been a nice well-rounded ending. But, no. We're not wimps. But we should have been...
We rolled on into Los Olivos and...well, a tasting room that shall go unmentioned because the crabby, miserable man behind the counter was such a disappointment. We sort of felt trapped into a tasting...and he charged us more than anyone else on the entire trip!  Our last stop was better though. It involved wine AND dogs! How much better can it be?

Carinvintas Winery's motto is "Blending Wine with Philanthropy" and their philanthropy of choice is animal rescue organizations. Look at these beautiful labels, each has a rescue dog on it:

They're the winery that has the Vicktory wines (in honor of the dogs rescued from the awful Michael Vick dog-fighting ring) on  labels to raise funds for the dogs' care and rehabilitation. So, this was a great way to end our trip.

We bought the "Lassy" blend-- 50% Barbera and 50% Tempranillo....and then we drove home.

Our Stash...A job well done, no?
Final totals:  42 wineries/ tasting rooms visited.
346 Wines tasted
106 bottles purchased.
(It's 3 1/2 months since we ended this trip....I'm not going to report on how many of those bottles are left.)

And now, we will return to our regular programming of all things A,B,C and D  (Alcohol, books, coffee and dogs. And sometimes cancer...)

Fun fact for this post:   Yesterday I received my first official advance check from the publisher for The Dog Lived memoir!!!  I was disproportionately excited about that. And when I can, I'll post a picture of the painting I bought to celebrate the sale of my book and the opening of Chris's wine shop...which will happen on December 1st!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wine-ing Up and Puppying Up

Yeah, so it's taken me nearly four months to finish telling you of the epic wine tour through Oregon and California. I'm going to finish this up just as I leave on my next trip (Shhh....I'm going to Maui!). Perhaps I should have stuck to cancer and dogs (I have more stories there too!!). But the trip was fabulous and I feel obliged to share. So here's the second to the last Wineapalooza post, with, as promised, a little something else at the end....

We have a very boring but quite enjoyable (we like each other's company... a lot) drive from Sanger

alllllllll the way down through central California to Paso Robles. I heart Paso Robles. Really. Truly. Madly. Deeply. And it did not disappoint. Dinner was at Artisan and then we crashed at the Marriott.
The next day we decided to check out the tasting rooms in town and started at Clayhouse (loved their Adobe White blend as well as the Adobe Pink rose'!)

Next up we hit Bear Cave, which I was fond of because it's a) a wine tasting room, b) a law office and c) their dog was there--and boy was he playful!

Next up was Bodegas/ Asuncion Ridge (they share a tasting room) and....our 300th wine tasted!

Lucky 300 was a tasty Bodegas 2007 Vaca Negra (50% Mouvedre/ 50% Tempranillo)...note Chris's serious wine teeth. Good, good stuff.

We ran into the same woman at several of the tasting rooms and it was here we found out she worked for one of the wineries with a brand new tasting room in town. Naturally, we took her suggestions and headed over to Parrish Vineyards tasting room. And we ended up there for the rest of the evening!

Chris with winery owner David Parrish...discussing grapes of course

The beautiful bottles of gorgeous Parrish wines!
(Love their Silken red. Mmmmm..... )In fact, we went to dinner with David and the young woman who enticed us over, Chalan Lind (pronounced, she helpfully told us, like "Shhhhh....Alan.") Great people with some great wines! This turned out to be one of our favorite tasting experiences (see? I love Paso!). And we're pleased to say Chris will be carrying some of those great wines in his Forgotten Grapes store! (Opening soon and yes, you'll be hearing more about that too!).

In real time...sort of, the little something extra of this blog post is what Seamus and I did last weekend:

That's the Puppy Up Canine Cancer Walk in Costa Mesa CA. And they say it never rains in California! It poured! So only a few of us die hards showed up and they had us do a "symbolic" walk (not a mile...more like 100 yards). Seamus probably would not have forgiven me except that the nice lady at Take5forFido massage gave Seamus a massage! Also, we won a raffle prize full of some healthy snacks and relaxing music for stressed out dogs. Yeah, Seamus thinks he's stressed. It's hard not getting steak every time you howl for it.
The short walk meant we had time to visit with my sister, her husband and my two adorable nieces that all worked out!

(I promise you, that's hot chocolate...not the lattes they look like.)
Next up...the final day of Wineapalooza and an update on the progress of The Dog Lived memoir (as my manuscript deadline approaches...)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pink on Parade...With Dogs

Last weekend Chris, Seamus and I participated in Pink on Parade--our city's first breast cancer awareness walk benefiting The Pink Ribbon Place (yes, yes, it you're a pink ribbon hater you can stop reading). Our team was called "Legal Beagle and Friends." We were a small team (us, my secretary Michelle and her husky-wolf hybrid Rocco), but we raised $850 and Chris was the M.C. I was also on the committee, so we did our part. Much to our surprise over 800 people showed up!

Over $37,000 was raised--all of which will help support under- and uninsured people needing mammograms and other services as they battle breast cancer. It was a great day.

And tomorrow, Seamus and I will be walking in the "Puppy UP" walk in Costa Mesa--a walk to raise funds for the 2 Million Dogs Foundation fighting canine cancer.

P.S. When we're not walking, I'm writing. Book is coming along (man is it a lot of work!!), thanks for asking!