The trouble with Californian wine may be California -- the Freeway State.
Half the time I was trying to have fun and kick back; the other half I was desperately trying to burn up the alcohol I ingested so I could get back in the car and up the next on-ramp.
Here I am suffering through a dubious do-it-yourself Breathalyzer test in Griffith Park. I don't even think the test worked, but more on that later.
To tell it to you straight, my palate is no more a lover of the fat reds of California than my liver is. And I've been vocal in my disapproval of American wines, even when my liver for the most part would stay intact. Arising transportation issues made my outlook on exploring the local wine scene dimmer -- even in sunny SoCal.
So the idea of navigating my rental car from wine stop to wine stop in Sonoma, Santa Barbara and Temecula was dead in the water before it ever began. I drove to Mar Vista, and took a tour of some chateaux which were are simple, flat-roofed and hugging the ground instead. I took snapshots, not shots of wine, while I was there.
I wasn't even going to try to try California wine after coming all this way. It was my own stubbornness and fear of DUI, plus a wee bit of being a bad wineblogger (or else I wouldn't have created my first-ever video documentary on YouTube on the rather dry and sobering topic of postwar California tract housing and subsequently post it online to my other non-wine blog... Clearly a good wineblogger would've produced from this trip some insightful, if scathing, wine podcasts instead of researching residential history for a Mar Vista montage that nobody will want to watch).
A LIGHT AT THE END OF MY TUNNEL VISION
I may have been so busy forsaking Californian wine along with its higher than normal alcohol content that I didn't recognize this bottle of value wine that we picked up in Los Feliz. It came with a cute Retsina glass cellophaned over the top and was only $11.99 -- a no brainer for a spur-of-the-moment picnic wine. And that was before we tasted it. It wasn't bad!
In retrospect, I think my fellow wine drinker and I could've finished the bottle and I could've had the usual "full share" of my portion and not left the remaining wine you see here. It was a nice "light" Cali alternative.
It got the same thumb's up that my co-pilot gave me for putting the keys in the ignition. While DYI Breathalyzer tests can be tricky to administer and interpret, ultimately friends don't let friends drive drunk.
Which is great.
But as I said, me = bad wineblogger. I don't have any more details to give you on our experience with the wine than what is written and pictured here.
But I have more than that for my next post: I did myself and others a big favour by tasting and writing a note for a Chateau Montelena.