Tuesday, June 01, 2004

A Taste of the East... Eastern Washington, That Is.

I've gotten a little of the desire for a long road trip out of my system after our weekend jaunt to Eastern Washington. (Well, the driving part anyway; I'd still love an extended, agenda-free vacation from Real Life).
I don't have much to add to Jeff's review of the musical portion of our trip, so I'll focus on the other half of our trip: the tasting part.

Saturday while at the Gorge I sampled a Zima XXX. Despite the value ($8 for a 24 oz can as compared to $7 for a 16 oz beer), I'm not a convert. The orange variety tastes like orange soda, but packs more alcohol per volume than beer. While it may be the perfect combination for your average sorority girl, I think that I'll stick with hops in my malted beverages, thank you very much.

Sunday we traveled out to Yakima to do a little wine tasting. We decided to be judicious (we did have to drive 150+ miles home) and only visit 3 wineries. The first was a traditional winery whose name we recognized. Nice, but nothing too special, except for the fact that I think I poured half of my first taste into the water jug rather than the jug designed for that purpose (I think that this is the first time that I haven't finished a sample while tasting, but I wasn't into the chardonnay, and was looking ahead to the drive home). We selected the second vineyard for the clever names of the wines, and the wine tasted as good as the labels looked. We now have two of the largest bottles of wine that I've ever bought - a chardonnay (I liked theirs) and a cabernet sauvignon.

Finally, we visited Paradisos del Sol winery based on the entertaining description. When we arrived, we were a little surprised to just see a small house with kids and dogs running around the yard. We followed the "yes, this is a winery" sign and cautiously entered the kitchen of the house to find a sample table with half a dozen wine tasters and a wine maker vivaciously describing his wines and pouring samples. There were tasty snacks to accompany the samples, and as opposed to the other vineyards where you had to specify what you wanted to sample, and pay extra for the "finer" samples, here you had to sample everything ("just because you don't 'like rose' doesn't mean that you don't like this one"). Anyone who spends years developing the perfect wine to go with pizza gets my vote for favorite vineyard.

Next time I'm getting a group together to rent a van, spend the day, and picnic along the way. And I won't be bringing along any Zima.


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