Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Winery in the Twilight Zone

The winery we went to last night was actually a delight, but getting there is surreal. It sits in the hills about 25 minutes from my house. You start by taking a county road to a little town with a stop light and a row of houses along the road. You turn right at the lounge with a martini glass on the sign and go a few miles to another little gravel road marked only with a green sign the size of a check book. You go another seven miles and turn left on another gravel road even narrower and barely a marker, and then right onto a narrow gravel drive that winds through trees and vines until it ends at the winery. During the day, the drive is bucolic (can you tell I've been reading Thomas Hardy?), but at night when it's dark and raining, every scraggly tree that overhangs the road becomes a gremlin, and every drifting pocket of fog becomes a poltergeist.

The creepiness of the trip made entering the lit-up dining room with stone walls and a fire in the fireplace and friends at every table all that much more welcoming. For two and a half hours at least, we sat for a five-course meal and glass after glass of various wines poured by the maker himself. He rang a bell with each new bottle, and then explained what he was about to pour, where the grapes were grown, etc. He was an agricultural biologist in Oregon in a previous life and is now living his dream.

His wife is the chef, and she explained the appetizer--double-crusted pastry filled with ham, cheese, spinach--the Caesar salad with fresh dressing, the individual meat loaves stuffed with figs and plums, the veggies, and then one of the best and darkest chocolate cakes I have ever tasted. During the entire meal, their Brittany spaniel walked around the tables hoping for a crumb or at least a pat on the head.

It all made for a lovely evening, and on the way out, we all reserved the place for next year.


Gina said...

Sounds heavenly, I love places like that!

dive said...

Wow, Robyn.
After a fabulous night like that, you're surely risking even Christmas dinner itself to be a letdown.

The journey up there sounds like the wonderful ride from the station to the castle in Young Frankenstein.
"There … there wolf; there castle."

lynn said...

Sounds gorgeous. Which Hardy are you reading? My favourite is Jude.

RICH said...

Sounds like a delightful time Robyn. I hope your head didn't hurt too much this morning ;>)

I like little out of the way places like that. It just makes for a great experience.

Robyn said...

Dive, the ride really was like that. At least weren't in the back of a hay wagon. "Roll, roll, roll in the hay."

Lynn, Jude is my favorite as well. I read it most recently just over the summer. the last few days I have been reading synopses for the altered book project.

Rich, my head was fine this morning, but last night it was a little sensitive.

Robyn said...

Gina, we are surrounded by out-of-the-way places like that. It's a lot of fun exploring.

Old Knudsen said...

You're a brave soul going out anywhere around christmas time, the pressure turns people into buywolves.

dive said...

"Buywolves". Hee hee. Brilliant.

Sassy Sundry said...

Sounds wonderful, even the spooky ride (I like being spooked).

Anonymous said...

I know here- she buys it all at Marks and Spencers.

Molly said...

It sounds wonderful. But you have to wait a whole year to go back??

Robyn said...

Old Knudson, there was no chance of becoming a buywolf (great term) because it wasn't retai. the perfect outing.

Sassy, the trip out is all part of the experience. When someone mentioned paving the roads, the owner was dead set against it.

Molly, the place is booked. It's amazing, except in the summer when it is nice but not nearly as special.