May 25, 2005

A Brief Overview

Thursday afternoon we flew into Oakland and proceeded to wait nearly an hour and a half to get our rental car from Thrifty. Don't recommend renting through them. We made our way to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco to our hotel, then left to pick up Marc and Wendy from SFO.

Marc and Wendy are key players here--the whole reason we were in town was because of Marc's doctoral graduation. Thursday night we ate at a pizza place that had a restaurant in San Jose for old time's sake. Friday we picked up Marc's cap and gown and then wandered through the Mission district of San Francisco, visiting shops and eating at Marc's favorite burrito shop.

Friday night Kevin and I headed over to our friends Hai-Nhu and John's for some pizza and game playing with them, our friend Sandy, and a couple other friends. That was a blast and despite my anal retentive competitiveness my team actually lost the game (Cranium).

More below:

Saturday morning we met up with Marc's sister Katrina and the 5 of us headed up to Sonoma for some wine tasting. We hit a variety of different wineries. We started at an open house in a giant industrial storage warehouse, Siduri . We had a great time with two French coopers (barrel makers), but more about that later once Kevin gets the pictures up. We then moved to Ridge at Lytton Springs. The wine was good (we belong to their wine club) but the woman at the tasting counter was snooty. Marc, Wendy, and Katrina are novice wine tasters but were really trying to learn about wine and tasting, so one of them (I don't remember who) said, "It's sweet" after tasting a wine. The snooty lady said, "it's actually bone dry. It just has the illusion of sweetness." We were like the illusion of sweetness? Oh come ON! Can you see me rolling my eyes? That became our joke the entire rest of the vacation. Are we having fun? No, we're just having the illusion of fun. It turned out to be really funny.

We then had lunch at the general store that was, according to my dad, "Somewhere near Teldeschi" (a direct quote). Teldeschi was on our map, but the general store was not. Fortuntately we had no problems finding it. Then we were off for our private tasting at Gopfrich, a small winery with no full-time tasting room. The winemaker Ray, a very sweet guy, kept apologizing profusely for his wine-stained jeans (as if we expected anything less from an actual winemaker and not just a tasting room clerk). Marc found out he was a dentist in the bay area for several years before opening his winery. It was fun to see a small winery in action and to have a private tasting.

From there we headed down to Nalle. Excellent wine, as always, but as we're big Nalle fans we didn't have to buy anything because we owned all of the 5 wines on the tasting table. From the 100 barrel a year Nalle we headed up to the REAL mucky-mucks, the folks at Ferrari-Carrano. Ferrari-Carrano is a sight to behold. Their grounds are an immaculate garden and their tasting room--well, several rooms--are very impressive. Their barrel cave is very nice, as are their wines. But by that time there were at least 30 people (no joke) jockeying for position at the tasting counters (the $3.00 "classic" counter and the $10 "reserve" counter) and we were kind of wined out so we said forget it. Not without buying a bottle of their dessert wine, however. Kevin's always on the lookout for a good dessert wine.

Saturday night we met up with Marc's parents and had a nice little dinner in a cafe on Fisherman's Wharf. Sunday was Marc's Big Day--the graduation. The poor guy was plagued by nightmares that the Graduation Police were going to come at the last minute and tell him he couldn't graduate after all, but he did actually end up graduating. The ceremony was...interesting and unique. Definitely fodder for another blog entry.

Sunday night was a big celebration dinner with a bunch of Marc and Wendy's bay area friends, who convinced them to come live in the bay area again. We tried desperately to extol the virtues of lovely Orange County (say, Anaheim for example) but they didn't seem to be buying it.

Monday we had a nice morning exploring the Ferry Building, a collection of stores that looked remarkably like a German Hauptbanhof (main train station) except the stores were of higher quality. Then we returned the car and hopped on our plane and came home nice and late. Kevin took today and tomorrow off so we're just fooling around here. I spent a good part of the day getting caught up on the messages from my online writing group.

More exciting stories to come when Kevin produces the photos!

Posted by Shelby at May 25, 2005 12:47 AM