Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt about the day I would get married. Not so much about the location back then, but more about what my dream guy would look like. And luckily for him, things turned out a million times better than my 9-year-old mind could have dreamed up. AND, he doesn’t have the heebee jeebee’s!
Location wasn't important to me back then but then again – I was 9! It is however, on the top of my list now that I've found The One, Mr. Right, the Omega to my Alpha, The Gate Keeper, The Founder of the Feast; you get my point, right? Any who, this past weekend, my dream guy and I visited half a dozen places in Napa Valley trying to choose the right location for our upcoming wedding; because like most of you must know, pictures on the Internet sometimes exaggerate a places true beauty or hide its real state of devastation. The first winery we stopped at was way too modern with nothing but a big fancy lawn with little or no real character. For those who want to invite everyone they've ever met, this place would definitely suffice. Bugs were a real issue here though. I know that I’m sweet but it was just ridiculous. Swatting bugs in your beautiful wedding dress wouldn’t make for one’s picture perfect day!
The second stop had the most incredible view in Napa, but unless you have cash to throw in a fire and watch burn, or refinance your home, it was unthinkable! The third stop that day was even worse than the first two. Located in an industrial area of Napa Valley, it was on the side of the freeway and full on resort. Who knew Napa had an industrial section? And though the convenience of having your guests walk from their room to the ceremony area sounds nice, it was exactly the opposite reason one goes to Napa if not for the beauty of the outdoors and for the love of wine.
Wineries number four and five is where things got complicated. It was like having to choose between a sexy, well-dressed ladies’ man with a ton of swagger and a country boy in jeans and a cowboy hat. Both places had their positives. However, I've lived enough to know that while the sexy playboy looks amazing on the outside, the country boy has all the qualities I'm looking for in a man and some I never expected. I clearly had some decisions to make! So before leaving Napa, we stopped at a large winery serving up BBQ with wine on picnic tables next to large oak trees. We wanted to discuss the pros and cons of each place plus - we were starving. The place reminded me of a field trip I went on as child where I had to bring a packed lunch. I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with juice in my lunchbox; not short ribs with Zinfandel. I was 9, remember? We made our list while sitting there and decided to sleep on it before making a final decision.
Since I was reminded so much of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on this trip, I decided to pair it up with a little vino as a toast to a great weekend in wine country. As usual, I chose 2 wines that I thought would work with the dish and along with a group of my friends, had a taste test. The wines were a 2009 Casa de Campo Torrontes from Argentina and Quady Batch 88 "Starboard" Port from California. Although both worked, we all chose the Torrontes in the end. Torrontes is a white wine varietal that is native to Argentina. This particular wine has aromas of tropical fruits, sweet melon and white flowers; just perfect for a Sunday picnic or Shakespearean Fest in the park. After a bite of the sandwich and then a sip of the wine I noticed the pairing unfolding in stages like scenes from a terrific movie. First, you taste the flavor of the bread, then the strawberry jelly heightens your senses and finally the peanut butter lingers at the end. The jelly even seemed sweeter and as one person put it, reminiscent of the strawberry cheesecake blizzard from Dairy Queen. The wine's acidity cuts through the oiliness of the peanut butter like a sharp knife and helps the flavors to last incredibly long. The wine's fruit stands up to the sugar from the jelly as well. And even stranger, different flavors emerged each time I took a bite. It was truly an experience and one worth trying! Cheers!
Wine featured in this photo: 2009 Casa de Campo Torrontes (Available at Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits $9.99)