Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sonoma County Champagne Sojourn

Visiting Northern California always takes me back to the bliss of nature. Whether rural, suburban or urban bound, flora and fauna still reign supreme. Trees command street sides, doe appear across the street from housing complexes nipping on stray bushes and weeds, sidewalks are lumpy where green things are constantly threatening to break through and long lazy afternoon drives through wine country produce spontaneous culinary adventures found in verdant pockets and wineries along the American River.

 My most recent sojourn through this woodsy nirvana was accompanied by two friends who took me to a very old graveyard where family members lived in eternity amongst crumbling marble stones, petrified mushrooms and ancient monuments to icons like the God of Bacci. Pretty apropos for a crew whose next stop was the Korbel Headquarters in Guerneville.

 I love wine tastings but have never tried a champagne tasting: 6 samples of champagnes varying from super sweet to ultra brut. I ventured off my usual course for the rose and was pleasantly surprised by the semi-sweet blush that wasn't cloying but fruity and crisp. This is a rose I would buy at home. I also didn't realize that Korbel made brandy but they do and it comes in a sampler pack alongside champagne varieties for about $50.

I was happy we had brought along an ice chest packed with interesting sodas bought at an old fashioned candy store along the way. A bottled coffee soda from Simpson Springs tasted amazingly similar to my old time favorite soda Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge and was perfect caffeine kick response to the bubbly in our brains.
The Korbel deli provided an exquisite foraging in the forest worthy lunch that consisted of a vegetarian sandwich that took my breath away. Thick artisan brown bread spread with tangy olive tapenade and layered with grilled eggplant, provolone cheese, mushrooms, tomato, red pepper and dark lettuces. 

Belly full, I could have easily spent another few hours there listening to the sounds of the nature around me. And watching the romantic ebbs and tides of the life going on all around us, including this beautiful little grasshopper duo playing piggy back across a thin wood railing.

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