After we saw Napa, we decided the next day to go to San Francisco.
I love San Francisco. Luckily, my Mom-In-Law does too. I kept having to remember that this trip was not all about me; it was Norine’s 80th birthday and we needed to do things she would enjoy…..but there was one more winery I HAD to see….
So we headed to the Thomas Fogarty Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, S.E. of San Francisco Bay. I knew My Hubby & Norine would love it because Thomas Fogarty is known for their Gewurztraminer (a German grape that is more rich, spicy and floral than a Riesling). I was excited about the Barbera (an Italian grape that tastes like cherry, tar, and minerals with a light finish).
The winery is 2000 ft. above sea level and the views are breath-taking and the wines did not disappoint. We even joined their wine club (well, I did !). The guys that were running the tasting room were a hoot. I was trying to decide how many bottles of Barbera to buy and should I also get the Grenache. Well, the gentleman that was helping me said “of course you should get the Grenache because it is from the same vineyard as the Barbera and they are gown across the road from one another and you can sometimes hear the Italian Barbera hurling insults at the French Granache and the Granache responding back.” I had to buy the Grenache after being told a story like that!
We headed back down the mountain to San Francisco for lunch.
A wood-fire pizza restaurant, named “A16” was recommended to us. It is in a very upscale,trendy,neighborhood by the harbour. And unfortunately because it is in a neighborhood; there is NO PARKING! We drove around for about 20 minutes and finally I jumped out of the car and went into the restaurant to ask what to do about our situation and the “hostess” didn’t have clue as to the parking situation and told me “we don’t open until 5 and do you have a reservation?”
Well, after that we decided to go to Ghirardelli Square. We knew it would have restaurants that were open and parking. We ate at a pub and walked around and shopped a little. The Ghirardelli chocolate is still good and cheaper than if you bought it at Pier 39.
Our next stop was Pier 39.It is always congested with people and shops, but once you get to the end of the pier; it is quiet and peaceful.You can see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Dinner was next on the list and Norine enjoys going to Alioto’s which is legendary in San Francisco. It still has a very old world feel and the wait staff is very professional and friendly. Unfortunately, I think this is where I got the food poisoning. Maybe the fish sat out too long or the Swiss Chard was not good. But at 1 a.m. til 4 a.m. the next morning I lost everything I consumed that day.
This is where the “vacation” went to “hell in a hand basket”. I was in bed all day trying to keep down crackers, ginger ale and water. So Sully and his Mom were running errands (shipping all the wine we bought) and driving around looking at the beautiful scenery. That night I woke up to all of the lights on but nobody was around. I thought well maybe the 2 of them got a wild hair and decided to go to a casino. I called Sully and he was at the emergency room with his Mom because she was having trouble breathing! It was 5a.m. before they got back to the hotel and Norine said she almost thought she wasn’t going to make it through the first day of her 80th birthday.
Later that afternoon, when I could keep down a baked potato and Norine could breath; Long-Suffering Sully packed us up and announced that he was taking us home! On the way back to Norine’s house we did stop at Laetitia Winery because they have wonderful Pinot Noirs. I only tasted about 3 and asked for half the normal tasting amount. They were very nice an offered me crackers and mineral water if my stomach started to turn.
We made it back to Norine’s and had one day of rest before flying home.
While we were in Napa, Norine kept reminiscing about the Christian Brothers Riesling that she bought back in 1981 and she had one bottle left. Well, where Christian Brothers used to be; is now a culinary school. So she was disappointed that she couldn’t get more.
But before Sully & I left to go back home; Norine opened that last bottle of Riesling and we toasted the fact that the 3 of us survived the “vacation” and her 80th birthday. And to tell you the truth, I was very surprised that the wine was still good. It had aged to a gold color and there were “crystals” of tartaric acid in the bottom of the bottle. It was a delight to drink a 29 year old wine.
In spite of all of the negatives on this trip; we will do this again and hopefully Norine will find another old bottle of wine to share.