Sorry for the delay, kids, but it's been a rough re-entry!
On Saturday morning we woke up and drove the winding roads to Healdsburg from Calistoga, where we met with the rest of our group for the day -- about nine in total. Tom, our fearless leader, got everyone geared up on their bikes and off we went to Bella Vineyards & Wine Cave, for our first tasting of the day. But first, less than a mile out, I rode through some glass, and although I tried to avoid it, I heard a hiss and -- wham -- I got a flat in my back tire. After flagging down Tom for a new tube and a tire lever, we got it changed and were back on the road in no time.
Bella was indeed bella - the scenery was gorgeous, and I am still trying to figure out a way to host a dinner in the private room inside the wine cave. My favorite at Bella was the 2008 Two Patch Zinfandel. Next, after a healthy ride, on to Peterson Winery, where I loved the 2007 Peterson Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. While we were tasting, Tom had set up a lovely lunch, filled with local produce and cheese. After lunch, it was down the hill and riding through some chilly wind to Everett Ridge Winery (also at the top of a hill). Now, although Bella was quite scenic, by the time we got to Everett the sun was shining, and we sat outside overlooking a stunning valley -- I could have stayed all afternoon, sipping wine and munching cheese puffs (yes, the puffy Cheetos kind -- more on that in my next post).
We rode a mile back into town to finish up for a total of about 20 miles for the day. After a shower we headed to St. Helena to visit some friends for a pre-dinner drink/snack. Their kitchen/living/dining area was laid out exactly how I'd want mine to be if I had that kind of space -- open, airy, with a big island allowing for folks to hang out while the hosts cook. Sigh.
We then headed back to Calistoga for dinner at JoLe. After all that wine tasting, Dad and I opted for a beer and a cocktail, respectively (when I saw some of the booze selections, and noticed the house-made vermouth, I knew I was in good hands). Dinner was delicious, but we were fading rapidly, and we went home for a hard-earned good nights sleep.