Well, it was supposed to be Lodi.
Last Saturday we went to go wine tasting in Lodi, inspired by a tasty yet affordable viognier from the area that has become kind of our house (okay, apartment) white. I scoped out their tourism website, wrote down the directions (because my printer is out of color ink and I am dammed if I can figure out how to tell it to print in grayscale), and headed east. We stopped first at the visitor center, which had the unfortunate characteristic of being the only place we stopped where they charged us for a tasting, even though we bought something, but did provide fully printed maps. Then, because all of the vineyards we could see around us appeared to be of the vast, corporate variety*, we made for the hills.
The first place we stopped was at a crossroads, options east and north, where an enthusiastic but somewhat weird winemaker sold both his wines and those of a business partner of some sort. This was the first place we came across what would become a theme: Spanish and Portuguese variatals like grenache and tempranillo and graciano (have they become fashionable? why does no one tell me these things?). We enjoyed the wines, so we bought some (this would become another theme), but the guy was off-putting enough that we skipped joining his wine club.
As we were getting ready to leave, we asked about what sort of luck we would have looking for wineries further up the road. Weird guy said, indeed, there were a lot of wineries up there, especially around a town called Murphys. The fact that for a while he could not remember the name of said town should probably have provided us with something like a clue. But it didn’t.
So, clueless, we backtracked a bit to a place we had passed that advertised barbecue (excuse me, I mean “BBQ”) and had that icon of California cuisine, the tri-tip sandwich. (Which was very good, but not a patch on Lombardi’s.)
The plan for the afternoon was to head up the road, try out a few places and then come back to the places in town. That wasn’t exactly how the day went.
[To be continued. . .]
*The irony of this will be addressed later.