Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Idyll of Erica

We managed to hit some traffic on the way into C-ville, including a HUGE accident that totally blocked 29 South. Mair and J Morgan were laughing because if it's not massive traffic from a Coldplay concert or some such, there's always SOMETHING that gets in our way when we visit. They don't usually encounter more than a slowdown. Ha, ha, the Urban Gods hate us!

Anyhow, it all got a lot better when we arrived in time to go out for dinner at Downtown Thai (they don't have their own website, but this link gives their address and price range). The food was scrumptious, and we wandered around the Downtown Mall for a while before heading home, enjoying the mild weather.

The next morning we had out usual breakfast: coffee, cinnamon rolls (!), and scrambled eggs. We took it easy, and in the afternoon, we meandered over to the Barboursville Vineyards for a tour and some winetasting. We discovered why Virginia wine, despite Thomas Jefferson's dearest hopes, didn't take off until the 20th century. Apparently our soil has more microbes that kill European vines than one can legitimately shake a stick at. We've now discovered that by either hybridization or by grafting, we can grow European varieties of grapes on American soil. Now THAT is some delicious American ingenuity right there.

The aging room for their award-winning blended, Octagon.

The estate is notable, too, because Señor Jefferson designed a manor house for the Barbours back in the day, but it burned down in a fire on Christmas Day in 1884, and the ruins were never rebuilt. The picture I posted yesterday is from the ruins, as is the next one. There's a tiny image of the way the estate once looked on this page, but it's rather unimpressive compared to the ruins themselves.

We bought the requisite $4 goblets for the tasting, and we got to try almost everything they make. We had a lot of fun comparing impressions of the wines, and most of them were quite good, honestly, so it was a delight to just hang out and sample for a while. We ended up going in together to get 5% off our order, and Hubster and I are proud owners of their Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay Reserve, and Philéo, a fabulous dessert wine. Mair and J Morgan had already given us their Reisling a while ago, so we have that to drink, too.

That evening we ate my birthday dinner at The Shebeen Pub. I knew I wasn't going to cook something fancy the next day after our drive back and all, so it was nice to celebrate that night. We had the Baked Brie appetizer. Hubster had the Steak Pie entree, and I had the Sadza Cakes entree which was amazing! J Morgan's entree was the Sosatie, lamb and pork marinated in tamarind and tumeric and served with mango chutney and a yogurt dipping sauce. Food so good, it makes me want to cry. And eat, duh.

Somehow we managed to wedge our stuffed persons through the car doors and get home where Mair suggested playing Phase10, a card game with many rounds, and many opportunities for Erica to lose. Big time. Still, we tibbled a Barboursville Merlot all evening and by the time I lost, it was midnight and everyone said "Happy Birthday," and all was well with the world. And then we all crashed because it was a long, winey day.

After church the next morning, we came back to the casa and made pizzas. We made one vegetable-heavy one with zucchini, summer squash, onions, green pepper, and tomato topped with cheese. Delish. Then we decided to hit up the King Family Vineyards to spend the afternoon sipping their estate Chardonnay (theme?) and watching a polo match. Check this sweet action (click to enlarge or the horse will kick you):

It's an entry and a half to think about this region of the country that has SUCH a different culture from most other areas. But that's not this entry.

It was a perfect day for sitting out and watching, though, so we spent some time after the game just talking and enjoying the sun and the breeze. It was a great birthday.

It's the peeps that get you through year 24.


Mair said...

Wow. You make us sound like such classy people to visit. As if visitors weren't banging down our door already...hehehe.

It was a blast to have you both, especially on your birthday.

Now, go spray yourselves off with rubbing alcohol and take some vitamins because as of Monday, I've been fighting with a terrible head/chest cold virus thing. BEWARE.

Mair said...

p.s. My face actually looks rather slim in that picture! Did you photoshop???!?! hehehe. Just kidding.

greg'ry said...

Love you blog site. But quite oppositely I do not care for the black background. I can't even read the posts. Maybe it's my age, but I do remember learning that in the development of web sites one should stay away from dark backgrounds with white letters because they cause way too much fatigue to the reader, and more often than not, people will close the web because of the difficulty in the reading.

but I love all of your pictures and creativeness, including the creative writing even though I did not read for too long because of the blackness.

Don Quixote said...

I have always been a fan of Cabernet Franc. You don't see it very often, but it has the body of a Cabernet Sauvignon without the strong bite. I bet you will enjoy that one!

Mair said...

It must be your computer screen. The background is green, not black, on mine!