Sideways as many of you well versed cinema goers will know is a film set in the wine country of California. Its a curious yet strange tale of a two man stagdo with what else but wine of course. It is supposed to be based in the Russian River Valley, a mere hours drive from San Francisco, although it was actually filmed down in Paso Robles near Santa Barbara. Anyway, the long and the short of it is that due to the unique meteorology of the Valley's and the strong temperature fluctuations caused by the marine fog that drifts up from the San Francisco Bay every day, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes grow really well here. Being more a fan of the reds than the whites, it was the Pinot that I was interested in sampling and what better way than straight from the barrel during the 30th Annual Barrel tasting festival.
Team Europe (from Left to Right above Silvano, Italian; Martial, French; Elena, Spanish; Me, obvious; Luka, Italian) as we shall now be known successful managed to negotiate 5 vineyards, try significant amounts of awesome Pinot Noir, got some accidentally very well priced Pinot and only one of us got completely trashed - that was Luka - apparently he blames sleep deprivation, though I believe it had a little more to do with his efficiency at getting samples!. One of the vineyards (Armida) had a heaven/hell theme (weird but definitely original) - clearly we were in hell for some time since thats were they were dolling out the Zin and Pinot. The weather was of course, hot and sunny - well it is California after all!
Take care for now...