Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wine Tasting in Napa.

San Francisco, with another cloudy morning on the following day of the Valo 4 life premiere.

Heading out of the city to North bay, to wine taste in Napa's vineyards, we headed across the Golden Gate Bridge.  The unsettled bay had waves crashing on the rocks, blasting a salty mist into the brisk air.  The ocean looking to swallow up anything that came near. 

All grown, Chrystal, used to live across the street from me in high school and now lives in Napa, distributing wine. 

L.A. has the 405 freeway filled with grafitti, jam packed with traffic.  Napa has hwy 29 with 2 lanes filled with vineyards.  When given the right moment, if your daring, you can speed up to pass the car in front of you by cutting across the opposing lane.  Moving from fast paced L.A. to slow paced Napa can eat you up mentally.  A gradual adjustment for anyone that moves out of their hometown, state, country. 

Napa also has a lot of wine.  The first winery, with a huge lawn chair facing the highway, like a light to a mosquito, led us in.

With wine there are the stereotypes of snooty people in an upper class.  Remaining far away from the 40 oz. of Mickeys, bought with ten quarters, and kept in a paper bag concealing its golden malt liquor flavor.  Pouring out a portion for the dead homey (friend). 

Then there are the people who actually go to enjoy the sensuous pleasures of drinking the grape elixir, (a sheep in wolf's clothing).  Stirring the wine.  Smelling it.  Tasting it and spitting it in a bucket to avoid being intoxicated.  Keeping the senses aware to judge different wines.  

Cornerstone, the location that we went wine tasting at, does not make wine.  The store that sells wine brought together exterior decorators from all over the world to display their creative minds on this large piece of land.

Camera in hand we walked in like true tourists looking for the photo shoot.

Afterwards a bottle of Chardonnay, wrapped in a paper bag, made it home for dinner.  Foyt Chardonnay from Sonoma county. All it took was one whiff.  Swirling the curvy wine glass, creating a whirlpool releasing the wine's aroma of pear and butter.  Immediately, thoughts of shrimp, pasta, cream, thyme, to match with this wine. 

Bow-Tie Pasta with Italian Sausage and Shrimp with Zucchinni in Alfredo Sauce.  
Yield: 3 people with leftovers

Ingredients                                                Amounts
Garlic, clove finely chopped                            2 ea.
White wine                                                      1/3 Cup
Cream                                                              2 Cups
Thyme                                                               1 sprig
Parmesan Cheese                                             3 Tbsp.

Bow Tie Pasta                                                  1 quart
Zucchinni, julienne, match stick shaped              1 ea.                                              
Shrimp                                                                6 ea.
Italian Sausage                                                 1 ea.

Chrystal really likes pink and hello kitty. 
1.  Heat a saute pan on high heat.  Before smoking point add garlic to release oils or sweat.  Add white wine and reduce by 1/2 or until almost dry.  Deglaze with cream and on medium to low heat reduce sauce to 2/3 of a cup.  Stir in parmesan cheese to thicken sauce. 
2.  In a separate pan bring salted water (tastes like the ocean) to a boil and drop in pasta ensuring all pasta is submerged.  Cook till Al dente and Drain.
3.  In the same pasta water, submerge Italian sausage and poach till cooked thoroughly.  Slice into coin shapes.
4.  Heat another saute pan, add enough oil to coat the pan, and saute Zucchinni.  When 3/4 cooked to the center, toss in chopped garlic and coin shape sausages, making sure not to burn.  Combine with cream and pasta.
5.  Using the same pan, saute shrimp. When cooked add with the rest of the pasta dish. 
6.  Take a drink of the wine and identify its characteristics.  Buttery and fruity.  Take a bite of food and then wash it away with another sip of wine and compare how the herbs come out, the buttery matching with the shrimp, the wine cutting through the rich cream and having the italian sausage burst with a zing, made edges of my chin fuzzy.