You may already know this but a 12 passenger van is actually quite a large vehicle. They are small enough where on the freeway or parked you don’t really notice them. When you are driving it feels like piloting an aircraft carrier with four half filled water bottles for wheels. The 880 freeway from Oakland basically felt like the entire universe was conspiring against anything larger than a smart car and the two lane roads, gravel parking lots and randomly placed rocks all over wine country were no picnic either.
The whole crew (pictured below) met up at Asti Cellar no.8 where we parked and climbed in to the van to head off to our first vineyard.
Ridge was first on the list. A place with an elegant tasting room and a really nice seating area to just enjoy the scenery. The rest of the crew was able to sip, slup and swallow but since I was driving I had to practice my spit technique. Lets just say that it looked like a small dog hemorrhaged all over the bar around the spit bucket but not actually in it. However I did keep my shirt clean.
Next up was some tasting at Silver Oak of Alexander Valley and a fantastic array of “vittles” that Shana had picked up that morning for our lunch. We had a private area set up on their patio in the shade and personal service. Silver Oak poured us generous tastes of their great library wines form 02 and 05 and some new releases from 07 and 08. Fantastic stuff. As our tip I got the Jurassic Park theme stuck in our server’s head. You’re welcome.
After our picnic at Silver Oak we headed to Clos du Bois where Shana and I thought we had discovered a cool place to take a picture, I said, “I want to take a picture up here… and then climbed up the ridge… “never mind its ugly.” Just a big pile of dirt. This was followed by short drive to our last winery of the day, Fritz Underground Cellar.
Fritz had some good wine but I think most of our group had to take the tasting room manager’s word for that and we had to skip the tour because we were pressed for time to get back to the B&B for the wedding rehearsal. All in all it was a great day of wine, friends and me singing opera in the car.