Winery Warm-Up: Ridge and R&W, Saratoga Wineries

Linda and Rip.  This picture is actually from Mumm but I seem to not have taken any pics on Friday.  I must have been missing my muse, SMS!

Argh!  Grumpy me!  I typed an entire post on my iPhone in the car and when I went to my drafts folder, it’s nowhere to be found.  Boo!

BUT, there is a saving grace!  I get to write about my awesome Friday again!

So, after a fairly worthless day at work on Thursday due to my excitement about the upcoming weekend, I went for a run Friday morning and then headed to the San Jose airport to pick up my in-laws Linda and Rip.  SMS doesn’t have a lot of vacation days yet so I took the day off and hung out with my favorite (and the best!) in-laws.

After a smooth pick-up, we headed into Mountain View to pick up some picnic provisions for our day’s planned activities- wine tasting!  Yes, it was going to be a wine tasting weekend to celebrate Linda’s birthday but I thought it would be fun to get a jump on our Calistoga plans by heading up to the local hills and tasting at the wineries with incredible views.

Our first tasting was at Ridge Winery.  We had a nice tour and walked through several of the vineyards, which was nice to get a feel for the farming element of wine making.  I know that sounds a little silly, but I feel my wine experiences mostly focus on the final product so it was cool to be out in the fields.  Besides, the tasting was still part of the experience!  We went into their dining room and tasted some excellent Estate wines, paired with some cheese and olive tampenade.  Yum!

After the tasting, we headed outside to the picnic tables and had a really delicious picnic.  It was a leisurely time and we were really enjoying the weather and the view.  Then we headed off to our second winery of the day, R&W.

R&W has the most exceptional view of Silicon Valley.  It really is the draw for me, but we also had a great tour given by Bill.  He walked us through the entire process and showed off all his equipment from the grape de-stemmers, fermenting tanks, barrels, the bottling machine and the cellar itself.  I’m sure I’m leaving out a few crucial steps, but it was a pretty awesome layout and helped me understand the sequence and timing of making delicious wines.

Afterwards, we had another tasting, this time with a Syrah and 3 Cabernet Sauvignons.  We all preferred the Cabs, which is in line with our normal tastes.  We bought a few bottles and headed out, slightly jealous of this little slice of paradise on the hill!

As we headed back into the valley, we decided to stop at Shell Shock for some $1 happy hour oysters.  They were delicious and SMS joined us straight from work.  After oysters, we headed home for dinner.  I made cod, cauliflower rice and poached tomatoes and peppers.  It was a very carb-less meal which I thought was ok given our upcoming Napa trip.  The only thing I wouldn’t do again is take the Whole Food’s guy recommendation that cod ~ halibut.   Wrong!  It’s true the consistency is close but the flavors are pretty markedly different.  Not that anyone would mistake this for a cooking blog, but I thought I’d pass along lessons learned!

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