Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Rainy Glen Manor Sunday

With all due respect to Mark and Kelley with whom we were slated to go kayaking this past Sunday, last week beat me up incredibly. To the point where I slept in Sunday morning until 9am for the first time in months. To put it in perspective, I am up every single day between 6 and 6:30am. And so we reluctantly called off kayaking for another time when I will actually give a damn. Guys, I'm sorry. I just felt so broken last weekend.

Sunday (I was going to use the verb "dawn" but then I wasn't conscious at any time near dawn, was I?) was overcast and threatening rain, which from our perspective was a good thing; we've had hardly a drop of rain in August and all the thunderstorms (nearly every day) would roll up to the yard and hang a hard left and scoot to our north, leaving us high and dry. Or they would tease us by sliding just to the south.

But I get really antsy about rain this time of year. I have way too many friends in the wine industry to be excited about rain during harvest season. I will cringe reflexively each time that it rains between now and mid-October. Still, I must admit that the prospect of a rainy, sleepy Sunday was just what I wanted: no agenda, no pressure, no deadlines, no place to be at no time in particular.

And while I was sitting in my chair (yes, I have appropriated a chair in the sunroom as my own) Ann came over and said, "Hey, let's go to Glen Manor today, just you and me, and sit and drink a bottle of wine and talk!" She was just so damned enthusiastic and beaming from ear to ear, so how could I deny her? And the prospect of sitting at the winery watching the rain stream down with a glass in hand? How bad could that be?

And so I went to retrieve Carter from a friend's house where he spent the night and stopped in at the restaurant for a few picnic supplies and some fixings for dinner. Then we hit the road for Front Royal and points south with me riding shotgun in a semi-comotose state. The rain started pretty gently as we were heading down 522, but I could see a line of squalls in the distance and could see where the road was obscured about a half a mile away by the teeming rain.

Getting through the very narrow but violent squall line, we drove through a few more sprinkles down to Glen Manor. On the way, I was thinking that there would be a very good chance that we could catch Jeff at the winery on a rainy day when being out in the vineyard was not an option, or at least, not a good option. And sure enough, his truck was parked outside the winery when we arrived.

Bird Netting: White on Original Vineyard; Black on the New Vineyard
Because of the rain, traffic at the winery was very light and I hate that for Jeff and Kelly, but it let us spend the afternoon chatting with them and catching up, something that none of us get to do with any regularity. We got a couple more good blasts of rain before the front moved through and although we were pretty light on rain in Winchester, Jeff said that they had got an inch and a half already before we arrived. But you can see that the site has good slope and good drainage, so hopefully this is a non-issue. Only the Sauvignon Blanc is in play right now and most of that is already in the cellar.

Hmm. The '11 Franc is not yet Released. Go Figure.
Reds are scarce now at the winery because demand is a bit higher than production, always a good problem to have. Jeff was kind enough to let us have a bottle of the 2011 Cab Franc a couple days before its official release date and we thank him for that. It really has come around very nicely. The last time I tasted it was in barrel back in April. Some of the knees and elbows that were sticking out back then have come back in. In a crappy year, this is a good wine. It's not a great wine, but then, the weather gods didn't give anyone great red wine in 2011, giving us instead rain each day of September, a vintage nobody will forget.

Olli Calabrese and Ubriaco del Piave

2012: Banner Year for Virginia Figs!
I just love this time of year: fig season! 2012, for whatever reason, has produced the best fig crop that anyone can remember and we have them coming out of our ears right now, an awesome problem to have. I brought some figs, an Olli Calabrese, and a wedge of Ubriaco del Piave cheese along with some bread for our lunch. Poor, poor, poor us!

Good to See Kelly Laugh!

Telling Dumb Jokes!

The (rightly) Notorious Ghost Chiles, the Naga or Bhut Jolokia
Once the rain blew off, we moved outside to enjoy the day and the view, especially of all the butterflies on the twin butterfly bushes just outside the tasting room. Kelly also has herbs and some vegetables growing in the beds and you can see where the deer have clipped the tomato vines way back. But for some reason, they aren't touching the ghost chiles; go figure! Kelly gave me a bunch of ghost chiles to bring back to the restaurant to turn into sambal. And speaking of deer, we saw a young 4-point buck, antlers still in velvet, standing beside the driveway on the way up to the winery. I don't guess he will last long once hunting season opens.

Two Great Wines
Back at the ranch, we sat out on the patio and drank some really nice Sancerre before heading inside to make a pasta for dinner. This time of year, we have tomatoes coming out of our ears and almost always have leftover mozzarella from the night before. I cut up one of the red Abraham Lincolns from our garden, a pink Mortgage Lifter from Mark, and a Black Trifele from Beth, along with a couple balls of leftover mozzarella. Then I caramelized a large onion and several cloves of slivered garlic and browned a bit of buffalo-chipotle sausage. In went a pound of strozzapreti pasta and a big handful of shredded basil from the garden. Awesome!

With the pasta we had a most delicious Easton Zinfandel from the old Rinaldi Vineyard in Amador County. Zin would not be your first guess if you tasted this blind. Yes, it has big plummy dark fruit, but it is a very transparent ruby wine with excellent acidity and firm, but very supple tannins. This wine is the finest expression of Zinfandel that I have ever had and is miles away from the bulk of the Lodi crap that saturates the market. Bill Easton, bravo!

Pasta, It's What's for Dinner

PS. I just love the so-called black tomatoes. They are none of them black, but rather a greenish to purplish red. The endearing quality in them for me is that they are all high acid tomatoes and that acidity is the key to a great tomato.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Girls Do Oregon

I haven't had much time or will to update the blog for the past few months. Play time has been on hold: we're in a brand new house w...