Winters California, about 20 minutes East of Davis California...a simple little town, never heard of it until Friday night, September 3rd. We had just spent a little more than 4 hours to drive to Davis, from San Jose. That is just about twice as long as it should normally take. The traffic was caused by a 'Jack-knifed Big rig' on I- 80 so at Vacaville it was a total parking lot. The weather was 105 outside and we were moving at about 1 mph. So we pulled off the road, and contacted my concierge service for a different rout. 30 minutes later we are at our destination, The Hallmark Hotel, in downtown Davis.
We checked in and were introduced to a very lovely local wine from the Turkovich Family Wines and they are located in Winters. Mark and I enjoyed the glass of Tempranillo, a lovely full bodied red. I was ready for just about anything by then, but was surprised to find the wine, so smooth. Mark enjoyed the same type, and from there we devised our goal of taking our 21 year old niece 'tine wasting' oh I mean Wine Tasting the next day.
You see we were in Davis to visit my niece, and Margo's godmother. She is a senior at UC Davis, and wanted to show us the sites of this college town. At the same time, Mark and I were going to take advantage of the godmother-god daughter sleep over and enjoy our own night out after we dropped her off. But first we ate at a wonderful little restaurant. Tucos Wine Market & Cafe, our niece said the food was good, and the service slow, but worth the wait. She was right! Little Margo enjoyed a tasty Buffalo Burger, Mark ate the Ravioli, I had the chicken pot pie, and Claire enjoyed the black bean nachos. We all shared the chocolate cake souffle....Actually we all loved the chocolate cake souffle, good thing we only ordered one. From here we walked to Claire's apartment, the abode for two budding artists of different mediums. Claire is the photographer, and her roommate, Andrea, the painter. This was Margo's glimpse into the world of roommates and university. Of course her glimpse is rather stilted, only because she got to hang out with her god mom, and have the best bubble bath ever and stay up late, and then sleep in and then awake to draw with real oil pastels. Now that is everything a 7 year old would love to do.
We too had a nice night, and woke up to a relaxed breakfast, and then a walk to the coffee shop for that strong cup of joe. We all met at the farmers market. This is a great farmers market, you smell all the spice, the fresh fruits, the laughter...it is an adventure of sorts to wonder around there. It actually makes me quite jealous, because it is like returning to a small town from many years ago where families met and played at the park. There is a group playing big band music and a singer lending voice to those tunes of old. "Hey Mark, you want to dance?" He says no, but we dance a few steps anyway. And then we all spend the next hour sitting on the grass watching children chase balloons.
At last it is time to move on to the afternoon adventure of wine tasting. We arrive at the Turkovich wine tasting room and enter. We are the second group to arrive, and are pleased to discover the wine and cheese tasting is free! Claire is excited to experience her first wine tasting and we begin to teach her to swirl that wine. She practices with the whites, so she is ready for the reds. Next we show her the legs of a wine, you know the legs that drip down the sides of the glass letting you know how much sugar is in the wine. Meaning the more sugar the higher the alcohol content...it is one of the showy techniques to wine tasting, but has nothing to do with the flavor. We decide to pair the cheese with the wines, and the fun begins. By this time little Margo is involved in playing her smurf games on the I-Touch while we continue in our wine tasting festivities. Claire is a quick study and learns the aeration techniques of wine tasting, you know where you almost gargle the red brew to figure out the subtle flavors that make the red wine so complicated. Next we see the wine maker, and start talking about Winters and wine, and how he got to be doing what he is doing. He had graduated from Cal Poly, and trained at a few other wineries, with the purpose of opening the Turkovich Family Winery. Their tasting room was just opening, and we found out they also made their own cheeses. So we drank, I mean tasted, learned about his family business, and enjoyed the process a bit more. You see Tine Wasting.... I mean Wine Tasting is all about family, and process, and discussion about what you like and don't like of the wine. It is about the smells, and flavors the cups of red provide, and the enjoyment of the flavor. These are the things we want to teach Claire, that there is much in such a little taste to ponder. Sort of like there is much in life we all ponder.
Claire had a great time, we had a great time, and Margo was rewarded with ice cream because she did not complain once while we were Tine Wasting according to her. If you ever head up to Davis, be sure to drop by Winters and try some of the wines at Turkovich Family Wines...