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Twas good.

Friday night I stayed home, doing some much-needed chores (sorted through one of my boxes of electronics! Found no VGA cable. But did find all the bits for my old digital camera, that I need to get up on Craigslist...). Saturday afternoon [livejournal.com profile] kingwyatt and I headed over to the Costume-Con 26 Meet n Swim. It was a very nice, low-key party. I was the first to dare the pool, but a couple other people give it a try as well (the blue bikini matching the blue hair of one of the women was beyond perfect). Our hosts made delish blackberry ice cream. Yum!

Highlight: [livejournal.com profile] kingwyatt had made us hamburger with meat he had ground himself! From chuck and sirloin (following the Way laid out by Alton Brown, lead foodie for geeks). Nothing but a bit of kosher salt wa added to the meat. It was unbelievably good. Apparently it was also time and work intensive. So yummy!  [livejournal.com profile] bovil was generously pouring interesting drinks. The one with the chipolte vodka was really unlike anything I'd had before. The basil mojito was fun, but not something I'll chase down.  

Sunday, [livejournal.com profile] kingwyatt and I decided to drive on down to Solis, which was having a food-and-wine pairings event. It was a perfect day; sunny and warm and not hot at all (all this too-perfect weather makes me think Something Bad must be coming!). A blues trio eventually started playing. They had a guest guitarist/singer who was really good. It was quite a treat to sip wine and tap toes.

The 'event' tasting started with their '06 Fiano SCV. Kingwyatt and I both swore we'd tried their Fiano before, but not liked it as well as we did this time. :-)

'01 Estate Merlot was next. It was quite tasty, plenty of fruit in it, but dry. A good wine to share. Next up was an '03 Syrah SCV, which we also liked. They paired it with a bit of tritip sandwich; nice, save the green pepper flavor infused everything (including the meat), and neither [livejournal.com profile] kingwyatt nor I are terribly fond of green peppers. Oh well.

Next was the barrel tasting, an '06 Mannstand (vineyard) Merlot. This will be blended with some other merlot to make a reserve. I really liked it; I like the tannins middle of the taste. This was paired with some chocolates. The chocolates were excellent, but, boy, they did not go with the wine. ! The almond roca and other buttery things were better.

Last was an '06 Muscan Canelli. At first it was ok, nice, easy to share with friends, but not too special. But after it sat a bit, wow, what a difference! Whole new warm notes opened up. Impressive.  All told, I am liking Solis' wines much more lately.

We did the 'regular' tasting afterward: '04 Chardonnay, '06 Vin Roseo, '02 Zinfandel. All were ok, but tended to peter out at the end.

After that, back home for more Sunday lazing about. All told the weekend was a nice mix of going out, time at home, and lazy time with [livejournal.com profile] kingwyatt .

I keep thinking all these costume-y things. Gotta get some pictures and ask for help, and do some other research myself.
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(cross-posted to Vintaconl)

This last weekend, Wyatt and I decided to take advantage of the beautiful early spring weather, and get out and do some wine tasting. I am on the mailing list for Solis (a coworker volunteers there, too), so I knew of their Merlot Madness weekend. We usually taste in the Santa Cruz hills, so it was nice to go somewhere different.

Everyone else was taking advantage of the weather, too! I was completely amazed by the turnout. Cars everyone, on the sides of the road, in the nursery lot across the street... Still, the winery had done a nice job of setting up, with picnic tables to sit at and upended wine barrels to stand at too.

A little two piece band was playing; normally a quartet I gather, but their sound was quiet good for all of that (unfortunately, their talking person talked too much! I think I've forgotten their name as a reaction to being told to remember it so many times).

The tasting room is really pretty, with access on a couple of sides. They had some tasty munchies out, little sausage sandwiches and a Dove chocolate with the sweet wine at the end.

The tasting started at their indoor tasting area, a few wines there, then a few more outside (the merlots), including a barrel tasting (which wasn't that promising, not enough strong flavor for such a young wine). As far as the wines went, about two-thirds weren't really too either of our palates, but about a third were really good, and we did buy some. Well worth the trip.

On impulse, we stopped at the neighboring Sarah's Vineyard. I'd never been there before. It turned out they were doing Merlot Madness as well! Merlot actually isn't my (or Wyatt's) favorite wine, but you know, we bought wine at this vineyard as well! There prices were really reasonable in price, and each price suited its wine. They had fabulous tri tip and sides for munchies.

All told it was a lot of fun. There are a ton of wineries in the Gilroy area to check out!
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I went wine tasting in the Santa Cruz mountains with Wyatt and another friend. It was a good day... it didn't rain and we evaded all the mini landslides frosting the hills. Plus, we tasted plenty of good wines, as well as a scattering of less-good ones.

First off we headed towards Clos Tita... a rare day they were tasting at their winery. Or, that was the original plan. In reality, we had trouble locating them, called... and got the message they'd relocated to Santa Cruz. Oh well. On to Roudon-Smith, McHenry (tiny place; the bathroom was in grandma's OLD house, which was a wee bit traumatic for me)- we all liked their wines, and then we detoured into Santa Cruz itself to visit Pelican Winery; one of our number favored whites, and they have lots... though they were actually tasting about six wines of all sorts. Still, Wyatt managed to snag a taste of a vintage they were almost out of ... and actually bought their last bottle (as well as a couple piece by an art nature photographer, which were lovely). So that was fun. The tiny store was crowded.

On a whim we stopped at tinier yet Alexander Winery, which not only had several tasty wines, and two entertaining women behind the counter (one was particularly free-spirited and curvy), but they made GIN! Sarticious label. They had a tiny bottle run set up. So of course we tasted the gin. It had a very flowery start (more than I tend to prefer in truth), but a really nice juniper berry finish, and it really stayed in the mouth. Be a fine gin for many light cocktails. It was a blast to find a local gin maker. The gin wasn't available in the wine shop, but is available around this area.

We concluded with the long-sought-but-usually-closed-too-soon Zayante.

It was a very good way to spend a day; good company, good booze, good scenery... Even including Burger King for lunch!
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Saturday (3/15/06) I did some wine tasting, visiting some of the wineries participating in this year's Pinot Paradise, a yearly tasting/educational/etc. event put on by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association. I opted for the simple self-guided part of things, vising four wineries, putting a priority on visiting ones which weren't often open for tasting.

First off for Nicholson Vineyard, on Pleasant Valley Road (any one else a Monkees fan from WAY back?? ;-) ). They had chardonnays as well as pinots available to taste. I particularly liked the chards; oakier than most but still nicely flavorful. The pinots were less to my taste, but interesting. As with many of these lil wineries... they're lil wineries, nearly boutique, with prices to match. However, I did find out that their wines are sometimes carried by Trader Joe around the holidays, and also in a wine store in Los Gatos, which is good info to have.

Next was Alfaro, which is kinda near Nicholson, though in a different city (I haven't yet figured out exactly where Corralitos is, despite visiting it a couple times now!). I'd been there before, and liked it, so went again. :-) The Schultz (sp?), my favorite, was big and yummy, the Alfaro Estate was a bit softer and fruitier, I think a good share-with-friends-casually wine. Both of the Santa Lucia Highlands label wines were good.

The third winery was a wee bit of an adventure to find... so small it doesn't have a real address, and even my Thomas Guide couldn't pinpoint it, let alone the GPS in the car. However, it really wasn't that bad, just keep driving up the road... and arrive at Silver Mountain Vineyard. It is an organic vineyard.

I think this would make a spiffy lunch point for a group, if that could be arranged (this is one of the rarely open for tasting places).Has a wonderful view. I was surprised by the number of wines they had. It was fun chatting with guy behind the counter... the owner, who'd purchased the abandoned vineyard 30 years ago, replanted, made the winery, etc.

I tried about three of his six chardonnays.. the first two were quite dry, the third unexpectedly (to say the least! I like a surprise) sweet. I ended up splitting a case of the (I think '03) Loma Prieta; almost stony, yet a nice depth and very drinkable. I tried about four of the pinot noirs; all were good (and again pricey... not obscene l, I just don't often spend $30+ without a specific reason, my own flaw, I know!).

Finally we wound over to Burrell School Vineyard, which really is located in an old red school house. They've had great fun with the interior, writing "I will sip my wine" on the blackboards etc (that phrase is also feature on their gear). This place had TONS of wines; we didn't even get to the intriguing syrahs, zins, and blends. This was the only place that really was doing barrel tasting, and it was really fun to start with the 2005 pinto (which was very promising!) and go on from there. They stayed late for us (and a couple other tasters), which was nice.
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This past Saturday was spent very pleasantly. I drove myself, Wyatt, Allen, and Rod hither and yon. We started at the Iron Skillet in Los Gatos for a late breakfast; and I converted the unbelievers to the truth of the Ultimate Cinnamon Roll by ordering one and sharing it. Yum. ! Lots of butter and cinnamon, no hard fake icing stuff.

From there, we added yet more calories by spending the day wine tasting, mostly along Highway 9, then veering over 92 to Half Moon Bay. We went to Savannah-Chanelle, Cinnabar, Fogarty (founded by the creator of the Fogarty catheter, which adds so much fun to many of our lives, as well to being medically useful) and Obester, which produces Nebbia wines now. In truth, the group of us were impressed by very few of the wines this time out, which is pretty unusual. We only bought a couple of bottles. Obester we all love- not for its wines, but for its tasty extras! Mustanrds, olives, vinegars... great stuff.

We had a fun little extra as a result of Wyatt's need for the Obester Key Lime infused Avocado Oil (which he admittedly does splendid things with! Awesome blue cheese and avocado salad; it didn't do as much for me on shrimp). We were sent from the winery down Main Street in Half Moon Bay to find their in-town (like three blocks further!) hole-in-the-wall store. We found the store, and Wyatt acquired the one existing bottle of the coveted oil. Much chatting with the older, laid back clerk ensued... til he brought out a bottle of mystery wine, and bade us partake. It was the most complex, interesting wine we'd tried all day! (sorry wineries, it's true!). It turned out to be the man's own home-brew pinot; it still tasted a bit young, but it was complex, rich and jam-y. So I chased Rod and Allen down to try it too (a splendid if insanely expensive art store next door had claimed them), and they liked it as well... The man was pleased enough with our ardor that he handed Wyatt the rest of the bottle!

From there, on up to the city, heading towards the Golden Gate Guard's 19th anniversary celebration, held in a church in the Castro. I found a prime parking place, and we stepped right into the Firesomethignorother Grill, and had an interesting variety of entrees. We went to the event right on time (after changing into out leathers on the street, something we seem to do regularly); it wasn't happening yet, so we wandered a time, checking out a couple bars, staying a bit in the Rising Sun. The bartender there surprised us by providing two drinks for each one purchased (a different form of Happy Hour).

Finally, back to the GGG. The place never did fill up too much, and was overall a pretty low-key event. There were munchies to be had, but we weren't hungry, and by report they were a bit scary ("meat cubes"). An open bar was kept pretty busy. Saw a lot of folks I knew (some I'd seen naked but didn't know their names, from Leather Levi Weekend); it was nice to reconnect with many of them. It was an older group of leathermen than I usually see, which was pretty interesting. It was just really cool for the four of us to be there in our vests, representing for the club as they say. :-) -- We wanted to crash King of Clubs in vests on the way home, but they were charging a cover, so we passed.

I capped the day by hot-tubbing with Rod a bit. Verra nice! Even my cold couldn't keep me awake after that. :-)
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An update of all the busy-ness (besides work, which is of course, busy).

Had a truly marvelous time on Tuesday evening; went on a sail out of Santa Cruz on the Chardonnay (a 70 foot sail boat); it was a wine tasting event sponsored by Beauregard Winery. It was incredibly fun! Rod and Allen accompanied Wyatt and I. It was a perfect swoop from the afternoon into the sunset. Much of the time the boat was zooming along nearly on its side, and somehow the deckhands (female) still managed to spill barely a drop as we tasted assorted chardonnays, zinfandels, and pinot noirs (including a so-so IMO reserve; the amusing part was a stop by the pier, where the owner jumped off the boat, ran up to his shop, retrieved a magnum of the reserve, then... eventually... managed to jump back on the boat again). It never even got truly cold! It was a delight, and pulled together at the very last moment.

Last night I (finally!!!!) got to see Serenity. As all have noted; it's great, go see it, I must go again! Huzzah for good buddies like [livejournal.com profile] bovil and [livejournal.com profile] kroche who were willing to go see it a second time themselves so I could get my firsts in!

My involvement in the Santa Clara County Leather Association's Leather Weekend is fully ramped up. I'm kinda an unofficial overall manager/tracker. Actual lead for the meet and greet, but trying to keep a grip on the whole thing so we don't have embarrassing holes. It's fun and a bit intense at times. I am trying not to be an asshole while I'm at it. ;-) Local leatherfolks, I could really use a couple volunteers to hawk leather treasure raffle tickets at the meet and greet, and to man the door at the show on Saturday night. I want the Meet and Greet to be a total blast. ... I found a good website to order cop/motorcycle boots from; Central Police Suppy (.com of course). Tall engineer boots will be mine! (man, what is it about clothes/boots some days?)

Am working on putting together a Baron Samadhi costume for Halloween. Just ordered a top hat, to go with my Kristi coat and a cane and skeleton hands. It should be fun. :-) A little white and green makeup may be called for...


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September 2011

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