Zhadi's Den

Random essays on wine, writing, moving to San Francisco, surfing, cats (exotic and otherwise) and zombies...depending on my mood.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Wine Weekend - the Final Finale

No, really! I swear it!

When last we left our wine guzzling heroine, she had left Darioush Winery and was snoozing happily on the bus, headed towards the next and final winery of the weekend: Silverado Vineyards (also referred to as "The Disney Winery" by locals because of its former affiliation with the Walt Disney family...

I woke up just as we were pulling into the driveway of yet another spectacularly beautiful winery, with a wide expanse of lawn in front that was bordered by brilliant orange-gold Marigolds. The nap, along with a bottle of water I'd had before drifting off (and I understand there's a photo of me sleeping on the bus...grrrrr...) cleared my head and I was ready for more tasting. Even more imperative, however, was the need to find a bathroom. I was one of the first off the bus, right after Robert.

I paused to smile at him; he'd taken to complimenting me on my clothes. He loved the belt I was wearing, an unusual leather hip belt with a huge brass buckle that skimmed the hips and set off the silk Indian sari fabric skirts I wore most of the weekend. I intended the smile to be a hit and run sort of affair, but it resulted in a walk over to the marigolds, arm in arm with Robert. Other than the urgency of my bladder, I was delighted. I held Robert in a certain amount of awe and was happy to spend time with him. He told me about a dinner he'd gone to where the salad dressing had included marigolds. I can't remember the exact quote, but it was something along the lines of "Be sparing with the vinegar, generous with the olive oil, and wild with the marigolds."

Kevin took our picture in front of the flowerbeds; he liked the way the oranges and golds of my skirt picked up the color from the marigolds (I still haven't seen the picture and hope to get a copy of it. The one of me sleeping will NOT be posted, however). Other people wanted to have their picture taken with Robert, so I dashed off with Gayle to find the bathroom before joining the rest of the group on a beautiful terrace overlooking the vineyards.

We drank Silverado Sauvignon Blanc and bottled water, sat on chairs or along the brick wall lining the terrace. They weren't quite ready to serve lunch yet, so some of the group stayed on the terrace and relaxed, while a few of us went on a short tour of the facilities. The vat rooms were remarkable because of several huge stained glass windows (pictures to follow), truly spectacular.

Lunch was served in the expansive tasting room. I don't remember precisely what we had, only that it was delicious, as was most of the food on this trip. The wines were a Chardonnay and a Merlot and again, my memory of them is sketchy. I know they were both good; nothing I'd toss in a dump bucket, so to speak. But for me, lunch was about listening to Robert, who sat at our table, regale us with stories of his relationship with Gloria Swanson, which started during the filming of SUNSET BOULEVARD, and talking to him about Billy, whom Robert considers one of the most brilliant people he's ever met. Robert had tears in his eyes (which set off my waterworks) as he expressed his fears about Billy's health and then tapped on his glass for attention so he could make a proper toast to Billy Brackenridge, who should have been there with us. Here, here.

The trip back to Oakland Airport passed by quickly. At least it did for me, sprawled out as I was across two seats in another contented nap. Malcolm, after dropping everyone else off at the Southwest Terminal, graciously drove Gayle and me into San Francisco to a downtown hotel, where Dave was able to pick us up without fighting the Bay Bridge traffic.

I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to go to one of Robert's wine classes again, let alone do another field trip. If not, then I'm content to enjoy the wine weekend as the once in a lifetime experience that it was. Thank you, Billy!


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