How many times do you hear a song and get so moved by the lyrics that every single cell in your body explodes?
It's been a long time since I heard this song. Tonight out of the blue, my adoring husband decided to take me to the open mic night at a local pub and this song was covered beautifully by two very talented musicians. It triggered in me some very deep and fond memories of the time I studied in California and the many weekends that I shared with two of my best friends, Warren and Susan. We would drive to Dana Point and stop at the same cafe to talk about our dreams, expectations, politics, relationships, arts..etc etc. I believe we all have those precious times in our lives when our future holds no limits and where tomorrow promises to be brighter than today. How far we've all come. Sometimes, when I look back on my life, one of my golden moments was my time in California.
But life does move on and I live in London now. And whilst I still like to think there are no limits to my future, I've been around the block enough now to appreciate how precious the present day is - the future may still unveil itself as an unfriendly spirit who makes me drop my cakes (I'll save that story for another time). So today, to link my present to my past, I decided to pick up a Californian wine from my local fine wine shop.
Living in Europe, there's very little excuse to pick a Californian wine, because we get flooded with good quality, affordable European choices (I write this pre-Brexit!). California has built a reputation for price and quality polarisation over the last few decades. They make high quality wines at prices to match and their low priced wines tend to be unremarkable. The best of their wines seem to have a distinctly Californian character - refreshing, innovative, well balanced and full of ripe fruit, as if made out of the California spirit itself. One of the most praised wine making regions in California is the Sonoma Coast and their wines are easily fetching £30-40 a bottle. It took us a while to find a mid-budget offering but eventually we did - Grace Bridge California Pinot Noir 2015, at a happy family price of £14.50 a bottle. The producer is Scotto Cellars - a large but family-owned producer, now run by the fifth generation of vine-growers, based in Lodi in the Central Valley. Composition is around 95% Pinot Noir blended with small amounts of Alicante Bouschet and Syrah. On the first note you can smell strong vanilla instantly and a hint of cinnamon. It tastes of ripe cherry and raspberry. This wine is for me on the light-bodied side although the label said it's medium bodied. But it's very refreshing and fruity with a smooth finish making it a very good choice for summer and best with chicken and lean pork. We loved it very much especially as London is now hitting 30c every day!
Speaking of California wine, even here in old London town, I have received an offer of some Bin-End special deals from Hong Kong, so its definitely worth taking a look if you are planning any summer parties. One vineyard that caught our eyes was Sebastiani.
Sebastiani Pinot Noir 2013 is an award-winning wine and really highlights the flavours of the Sonoma Coast. At HKD 78/bottle it's definitely a very good deal. On the list there is also Sebastiani Sauvignon Blanc 2013 at HKD 78/ bottle and Lincourt Pinot Noir 2013, again from another award-winning vineyard. If you are interested in the deal please contact Joseph at Montrose Fine Wines and tell him that Clara sent you! (his contact details are on the offer sheet opposite >>>>)