Besides wine coming in, settling down, resting for two years (sort of like a bear in hibernation) then coming back out just to rest another year in bottle, the cellar is home to our tastings. And a respite when the heat reaches 105 degrees! Chantico.
Not often, but once in a great while, we meet some people that are so special, they leave a place not only in our memory but in our hearts as well. John ("Chappy") and Steve are two such people. They were the hosts for a wine dinner we participated in for the Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Idaho last summer. There were about 25 guests at the dinner and I was lucky enough to be seated next to Steve. We chatted most of the evening - about dogs (they have two: the girls—Chantal and Katrina, beautiful standard poodles), horses (they have a beautiful barn with their family of horses in residence!) and just about everything. Steve sat closer to Chappy and they hit it off as well. We stayed long after the guests had left and were given a personal tour of the barn, met the horses, the "girls" and felt right at home. We left their beautiful property hoping they would come visit us in the Napa Valley one day. They came this past weekend! On their "loop" to visit friends and family from Idaho to California to Washington, they stopped for one night and stayed with us. They bonded immediately to Danny, Cosette and Ashby - and we couldn't have had a nicer time. Safe travels, Steve and Chappy. We'll see you soon. Chantico.
Steve, "Danny Dancer", and Chappy
We woke up this morning to rain - yes, RAIN. It actually feels quite nice, given the heat we've been experiencing later. The grapes are fine - it's a very light rain and we aren't concerned about the flowers being knocked off and compromising harvest - now, if it begins to rain harder...... But it won't. No, it' won't! Chantico.
We were watching our grandson, Everett, yesterday. When he heard the motor of the forklift begin to roar (actually, it sort of grunts), he couldn't wait to go out and see it. Then, when Grandpa Steve put him in the driver's seat, the look on his face rivalled that of eating ice cream! Chantico.
We drove to the southland this weekend (okay, you do the math on driving vs. flying - see Steve, I told you so!) for the Cystic Fibrosis Winemasters annual tasting. The event was held at the Warner Brothers Studio lot in Burbank and what an incredible venue - the setting with all the trees and grass made the heat tolerable. The food purveyors were fantastic - and the wines were incredible. And then there was the auction, which again broke an all-time record - they netted, yes NETTED $1.6 million for Cystic Fibrosis. Barbara and Allen Balik - you are incredible. Here are some photos of the weekend. Our son drove up from San Diego to help pour, and our fashionable daughter, direct from LA, came on Sunday and attended the brunch. We saw a lot of our customers and made some new friends as well. Not a bad business to be in - not all all! Chantico.
Drive or fly??
Barbara Balik - the WonderWoman who makes it happen
Barbara's son, Randy, with Steve
Son Chris with Mom Linda
Chris and Emilie
We are off this weekend to pour Anomaly 2005 for the annual Cystic Fibrosis Winemasters event held at Warner Brothers Studio in Burbank. Son, Chris, will drive up from San Diego to help pour and daughter Emilie, will attend celebratory brunch on Sunday! Look for photos next week! Stay cool - and Chantico.
So, after a tasting or a charity dinner at the winery, we generally are left with - well, you can see below what I'm talking about. Often those "partaking" in the tasting/dinner ask if they can help clean up, to which of course we reply, "No no, we have people." Relieved, the guests return to their homes, freed of any clean-up guilt.
Then Steve and I take our tray down to the cellar, gather up the glasses, return to the kithen in our house, and begin! It's nice to have PEOPLE, isn't it?! Chantico!
Brandon and his PIC (partner in crime/kitchen) prepared an amazing meal for our charity auction dinner to benefit Cystic Fibrosis held in the winery cellar. Here you can see them at work (or play!) and some of their beautiful creations. Enjoy. Chantico!
Mike (left) and Brandon
Composed Vegetable Salad with Anomaly Olive Oil from Cortona (thanks, Andy!)
Oven-Roasted Tomatoes over Summer Squash
And so close you can almost taste it....
A Happy Chef Brandon
We get by with a little help from our friends—Peter Downey and Brooke Cheshier
Brandon, please STAY in California.
As you can see, there's not a cloud in the sky. It's May 14 and it's 101 degrees at 2:45 p.m. The winery is withstanding the heat, but we're not standing quite as tall and proud! Brandon Olsen, one of the amazing chefs at Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc Restaurant in Yountville, and our "adopted" son from Toronto, is coming to have dinner with us tonight. How do you "chef" for a chef? I say, Barbeque! Other than the dinner preparations, and the incredible traffic on I-80 this morning, so much so that I actually turned around half-way to my weekly writing class and came back to the winery - before the traffic on Highway 29 reached its peak! Stay cool. And, Chantico.
So, what do you think of the new look of our blog? Marshal Walker, a friend and extremely knowledgeable Blog designer, set this up for us. (You, too, can have a snazzy-looking blog - I can tell you how to reach Marshal if you are interested, just pop me a Comment!). Now the task will be for me to do it justice and keep you loyal readers out there up to date on the goings on at Anomaly Vineyards.
On the Olive Oil front, we just finished hand-bottling and labeling the oil from the fastinos that were shipped here direct from Tuscany in Italy. Remember, the olives were picked from Steve's brother's property in Cortona (if any of you have read Under The Tuscan Sun, you know Cortona) and pressed into olive oil that was then put into the fastinos and shipped direct to us here at Anomaly. The oil has a wonderful, fruity quality that is perfect on our salads, vegetables, and pretty much anything else. We are now selling it only through our website (just in case you're interested!).
The weather has been hot and is going to get hotter this week - tomorrow is predicted to hit 100 degrees. The grapes are happy and are just about ready to "bloom." Heat, much better than rain. So we say, bring it on!
Hope all has been well for you, and I promise (that I will try) to keep the blog up to date. As always, Chantico.