"Wine is bottled poetry."
This famous quote by Robert Louis Stevenson is written on a large wooden sign welcoming you to Napa Valley. On one of our last visits to the region, I insisted we pull over to take a picture. As much as it made me feel like a tourist, I do write a literary food blog, after all, and any time poetry has this much visibility, it makes me smile just a little bit.
Stevenson articulates some of the pure beauty of the wine making process. Like a good poem that reveals nuances each time you read it, a good bottle of wine opens the longer it decants and flavors you detected at the first taste might be different an hour later. If you open a bottle in 2014 or 2016, it will change. Wine is a beautiful, changing, living thing.
Months after turning 21, my husband and I enrolled in a wine tasting class with a few friends and began our wine journey. Those first months, we learned the difference is between Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, oak and neutral barrels, and how to pair wine with food. From our first picnic and tasting up at Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez, we knew wine was going to be part of our lives.
We tend to make it to northern California at least once a year, and although Santa Barbara will always have our heart, we've fallen in love with Napa and Sonoma, too. Given my close personal relationship with wine country, I'm especially thrilled to welcome today's new city guides.
If you're craving a good meal and a good glass of wine to go with it, Napa and Sonoma have what you need, as well as a variety of cozy bookstores, delicious restaurants, and enough ice cream to make you feel like a kid again.
If you're planning a trip to wine country in 2014, be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide for Wine Tasting.