Friday, April 13, 2007

And so it begins...

So I've decided to start this wine blog. This first post is a "first" in several ways being not only the first to this blog, but also the first post I've ever made to any blog anywhere! Kind of odd that I'd never really gotten into the whole "blog thing" - I'm pretty techno-geekish in other aspects of my life, but for some reason blogs never caught my attention until now. Anyway, because of this I'm totally blog-illiterate. The only way I could figure out to get a picture for my profile was to post it here first, thus the attached picture (that's me helping out with harvest at Hillsborough Vineyards in Purcellville, VA).

The idea behind this blog is to chronicle my tasting and learning about "all things wine" from this point on. And I guess it will also chronicle my quest to figure out blogging, since this is a total experiment for me.

I've been a wine lover for some years now - I attended grad school at UC - Berkeley in 1999 and 2000, so was in the ideal location to start down the path to oenophilia: Napa and Sonoma to the north, Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay to the south. And start down the oenophilic path I did. I started off my winery visits in Napa, moved over to Sonoma, then down to the Santa Cruz mountains and Monterey Bay area. I think I'll cover my recollections from each of these areas in following posts.

After living in the Bay Area for several years, my wife enrolled at UC - Santa Barbara for grad school so we packed up and headed down to Ventura CA. For the non-California initiated, Ventura is located just south of Santa Barbara, and about an hour north of Los Angeles. This could possibly be considered "SoCal", but while living in "NorCal" I was taught to despise SoCal (they steal all of our water via the California aqueduct, they are devoid of culture, oh so many reasons), so I considered it Central Cal - until I lived there a while and determined that the NorCal hatred of SoCal was stupid and petty. NorCal loves to hate SoCal, but SoCal is so laid back, they just don't care what NorCal thinks. Being a pretty laid back person myself, I adopted this attitude as well and began considering myself as a SoCal-er.

Living in Ventura is where my love of wine truly blossomed, mainly due to Leah Cole from Paradise Wines. We were fortunate to live walking (stumbling?) distance from Leah's excellent establishment, that invited wine makers (or at least knowledgeable wine pourers) from many of the smaller wineries of Santa Ynez and Paso Robles down to her store in Ventura. Every Saturday she held $3 tastings with 5 or 6 different wines for the tasting accompanied by a bountiful supply of vino info. Between weekly Paradise Wine tastings, the occasional wine dinner, and trips to Santa Ynez and Paso Robles (I'll describe these in later posts), we really started to "get" wine. Then we moved to Maryland.

One of my friends has called the DC-area the "vortex" for sucking people in and keeping them here. This is largely due to the concentration of Fed jobs to be had here, and once you have a cush Fed job, it's hard to leave it. Well, my wife (Kris) has such a job, and thus here we are in Silver Spring, MD. Living in Silver Spring (part of Montgomery County, MD) is like being exiled to the Siberia for oenophiles - liquor control laws dating to the repeal of Prohibition make purchasing good, affordable wine almost impossible. We had to bid a tearful farewell to the several direct-shipment California wine clubs we belonged to upon moving to a "felony" state (Maryland not only disallows direct shipments of wine to your home, but is amongst the select few states that considers it a felony, with hefty fines and imprisonment involved for those found skirting the law). Virginia to the rescue! Luckily for us, the enlightened (with regards to wine anyway) Commonwealth of Virginia is but a short drive away, where we can stock up on a couple months' worth of wines for our cellar (this too, shall be *severely* dealt with in a later post).

So, that brings us to the present day. My wife and I both love wine, and enjoy 4, 5, 6 (or more on a bad/good week) bottles of wine per week. I'd like to share not only our "great finds" and tasting notes from our nightly bottle, but also tidbits of knowledge as I accumulate them on my quest to learn more about the "bottled poetry" that is wine. I hope we can all enjoy the ride.


Sonadora said...

Welcome to the DC area and to wine-blogging! You should check out the Virginia Meet-Up Wine Club. My husband and I joined shortly after I moved here this past fall and it's a great group of fun people and wine-lovers. Good luck with the blog, I'll check back in.

Nate said...

Thanks for the welcome! I look forward to figuring out both wine blogging and the DC vino scene, hopefully simultaneously. I'll check out the Virginia Meet-Up Wine Club - thanks for the tip!