Summertime in Northern California, and the living is easy! A beautiful Saturday, warm but not too warm, breezy but not too breezy, you get the idea. The kind of day to put those crushing home prices in perspective. Some of the family was available for an outing, so we went with our strong suit: we went wine tasting. So that we didn’t waste a drop of the gorgeous day, we decided to check out the Steven Kent Party on the Patio. A perfect triple threat: fine wine, fun food and great music!
We arrived at the Steven Kent winery to find a mystery. The parking area was jammed with cars, although we did find a spot. We ventured into the tasting room, expecting to find wall-to-wall people. Nope! A nice smattering of wine tasters, but no real crush of people. Out on the patio? Same story. A nice crowd, but plenty of tables (with umbrellas, yay!) still available. We never did figure out why all the cars were there. Maybe it was “drive yourself to wine tasting” day?
Our next mystery was really more of a puzzle. Do you remember those math problems from school? “Sally has two apples and Mark has three apples….” Well the tasting program for the day was a bit like that. We could taste a flight of wines in the tasting room for $15, but couldn’t subsequently take our glasses out to the patio. Alternatively, we could skip the tasting room and move out to the patio. There, wine was available by the glass or the bottle. With every bottle purchase came two free (to keep) plastic wine glasses, but additional wine glasses were $3. I think that somewhere in the pricing formula we needed to divide by pi, but it all became a blur pretty fast.
We chose a 2014 Vin Gris and a 2012 “Dakota” Grenache. Oh, yes, and an additional glass (there were five of us), all multiplied by Plank’s Constant and divided by pi. The price was convoluted but not unreasonable. Both wines were ideally suited for an afternoon on the patio. The Vin Gris was light and playful on the tongue, while staying away from any too-sweet notes that could have taken us in a Kool-Aid direction. I spent most of my time with the Grenache. Amazing balance, helped out by the 20% splash of Petite Sirah. A good sipping wine that worked well with our cheese and meat plates.
|Cheese Hat optional|
Oh, yes, cheese and meat plates! The food truck called Cheese Therapy was participating in the event! This is a great food truck choice, especially if you have Type 1 diabetics in your group (we brought two). The menu is simple and awesome: artisanal cheeses and deli meats, with hummus and veggies. A bit of baguette, too, for those carb and gluten lovers (in short supply at our table). A fun plate of food that paired perfectly with our wine. Add some fun cheese hats and you have fully covered the cheese genre. Well done!
|The Silver Threads|
Rounding out the idyllic scene was the band The Silver Threads. Blues, rock, country (think Tom Petty), these guys weren’t afraid to take on the standards that left them nowhere to hide. Happily for everyone, these guys had the skills to back up the set list. Good harmonies, tight tempos and a lead guitarist that brought a hush to the crowd during solos. The crowd was pretty reserved at first, but everyone quickly responded to the performance with enthusiastic applause.
We sipped our way through our two bottles of wine, snacked through the two “Plowman” cheese plates (plus some additional water buffalo Taleggio cheese!) and listened to the band’s entire set. Every sense satisfied, we cleared our table and headed off. What a great way to spend a summer Saturday!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?