Sunday, April 18, 2010

Loose Leaf Tea spotted in Wine Country

Wine, oysters, sausages, lamb chops, bacon, salumi, cheese, bread and loose leaf tea equals happiness. Yesterday, loads of cheerful hungry and thirsty people descended upon the small town of Forestville, CA. They were there to sample the delicious wines of Wind Gap winery accompanied by tasty treats from local purveyors, including yours truly, Drink the Leaf. Our dear friends, Pam and Pax Mahle, who own and operate Wind Gap, invited the Tea Drinker to participate in their Spring Awakening release event(Pam and Pax are also the cool cats that invited us to the Pat Benatar concert last summer). Their winery is located in a quaint building with lots of character, just one street off the main drag. Forestville is a storybook town – it has one gas station, a bar, a bakery, a post office, a couple of restaurants, a stream of bicyclists, and a winery. What more do you need in life?

The Spring Awakening was a huge success. Wind Gap hosted a “farmer’s market style” event bringing together like-minded folks offering high quality products. I personally thought it was a brilliant idea, taking a traditional wine tasting and turning it into something more interesting, and rewarding. It’s a win-win situation to invite your customers to learn more about other local businesses; it certainly adds extra value. As a consumer who enjoys buying and supporting local companies, I was thrilled that the Tea Drinker was invited to join the festivities. It was a wonderful sight to watch a hundred or so people swirling, sipping, snacking and mingling.

Fully charged with a cup of brew in my system , I was ready to tackle the day. Here are a few highlights:

• Oysters from Hog Island Farms paired with 2009 Trousseau Gris, Russian River Valley, a delightful bright white wine that is bone dry with loads of flavor. “Ripe peaches dipped in honey”, as described on their website, by winemaker, Pax. Slurp. Slurp. Trousseau Gris is a mutation of the red grape, Trousseau originated in the Jura region of France.

• The 2008 Chardonnay, “Yuen”, a lovely wine that is a blend of two touted central coast vineyards, James Berry and Brosseau. “Yuen” is the Chinese word meaning “a connection that was meant to be”. I definitely have some Yuen for this wine. Run, don’t walk. Don't forget to plan ahead and have the rich, buttery Fiscalini Farmstead Cheddar on hand. And, maybe you could beg Forestville's own Nightingale Breads to ship you one of their freshly baked loaves. Their multi-grain is the best I have ever had.

• Bacon and wine is a marriage made in heaven. That’s what I am told, anyways. My girlfriend definitely seemed to be enjoying the bacon from Black Pig Meat Company, while we sipped on the 2007 Syrah, Griffin's Lair, from Sonoma Coast.

All in all, it was a wonderful day spent with new and old friends. The Tea Drinker worked hard, but he was content pouring his favorite teas for the Wind Gap customers. Also, I kept him supplied him with lamb chops right off the grill. I ended my wine tasting day with a tall glass of refreshing (hydrating) Iced Citrus Rooibos. Just another day in the life of the Tea Drinker and his silly wine-drinking wife... tootles, ta-ta, until next time.

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