Category Archives: america

Had a BLAST on the Fouth of July in the Sierra Foothills

Larry and I left to go up to the Sierra Foothills to visit my Mom and Bob on Friday.  Our destination was Pollock Pines, which is off hwy 50, ten miles east of Placerville.  On our way up there we stopped at Terre Rouge winery in Amador County.  One of the things I really like about this winery is that they allowed us to bring in our dog, Elmer Fudd.  He was on a leash and they have their own dog that roams around.  We sampled a few wines and liked their Syrah blend the best.  We had been there last February, enjoyed their wines and got on their mailing list.  In April we found out that they were having a photo contest to see who could come up with the best picture for their wine label called Tete a Tete, which means “head to head”.  Shortly after Larry and I had our brunch at The Epic Roasthouse in SF this spring, Larry sent in a picture that we had taken of Narsai David, local wine and food producer and connoisseur and the chef, Jan Birnbaum.  We captured a great picture of the chef and Narsai at the end of the meal discussing how things went.  This picture is what Larry submitted it to this contest.  Well, to our surprise he won!  So on our way up to my Mom’s we stopped and picked up our case of wine.  Yes we won a whole case of their “Tete a Tete” Rhone Blend!

To hear more about this story I’m going to lead you to Larry’s article.  We got to Mom and Bob’s and enjoyed a quiet afternoon sitting in the sun; it was still 90 degrees up there at 5:00 p.m.!  Mom made dinner; baked chicken breast breaded with toasted onions, coleslaw (a family recipe) and a zucchini and cheese casserole.  That night we watched the Bank Job.  Mom fell asleep; I tried to keep up with all the characters.  All in all I think it was a B- movie.

On Saturday after a nice walk we got ready to go meet our friend Al at the 4th of July parade that Pollock Pines has every year.  It was cute.  Nothing to write home about, just plain cute.  There were the horses, little leaguers, and the fire trucks.                                 

There were some very cool old cars and of course the statue of liberty.  It got a little strange when a dune buggy or two went by and a truck pulling a bulldozer.  Well there were some interesting things but everyone was throwing candy to the kids.  I even got some too!  Afterwards we went to some friends of mom’s – Lydia and Andy’s house.  It’s a 2-bedroom cabin with a very large backyard that includes a deck with a Jacuzzi and a very inviting swimming pool.  We kicked back some beers and visited while just hanging in the pool.  It was very refreshing.  We went back home and took a little nap.  We had a nice bbq dinner, which consisted of skirt steak, salad, baked baby red potatoes and frozen fresh lemonade.  Larry opened the bottle of Tete a Tete we had just picked up.  Very nice, full-bodied, very rich in fruits, not much tannin – ready to drink.  For dessert we had Dryers 1/2 fat ice cream flavor called Red, White and No More Blues.  Very good, vanilla ice cream blended with strawberries and blueberries.  Of course we had a little chocolate syrup and some had whipped cream as well.  Afterwards we sat and watched another movie.  This one was not very uplifting, Dought.  Very well acted, not too long, but difficult subject matter.

Sunday morning I slept in until 10:00!  I woke up to Larry watching Wimbledon men’s final match.  It was crazy; Federer and Roddick were tied in the 5th set and were on the tiebreaker for the match.  They were so evenly matched that it didn’t get finished until nearly 11:00.  I was rooting for Roddick, but I like Federer too.  We packed up and left to head home with a few stops along the way.  Mom and Bob tagged along in their own car.  We headed back to Amador County but went to a different part that we had never been to.  Our first stop was C.G. di Aire.  I had never even heard of this winery.  Arriving we found a sign that said, “watch out for rattlesnakes” and “no dogs in tasting room”.  Since we had Elmer with us, and it was warm out we had to hook him up to one of the picnic benches.  No big deal.  Their outdoor area is beautiful and very peaceful.  There is a nice waterfall that leads to a Koi Pond with lily pads.            

Quite a number of picnic tables in the shade and lots of room for children to run around.  The building itself wasn’t too exciting.  The folks behind the bar were nice; they answered all of our questions.  There was no tasting fee.  The winery is not at the tasting room but is about 16 miles n.e. In El Dorado County.  At the winery they have facilities for events.  They had a Rose’ and Sauvignon Blanc that we really enjoyed.  They also had a Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and other red varietals for us to try.  I enjoyed their Syrah the best, but everyone has their own tastes.  They do not allow limousines.  They have a nice schedule of tasting events throughout the year.  Each month they have a “Tasting with the Winemaker”, for example this Saturday the 18th they are having a vertical wine tasting of Petite Sirahs.  If you like Zinfandels mark August 15 on your calendar they will do a vertical tasting with their Zins.  The winemaker/proprietor is Chaim Gur-Arieh, Ph.D.  In 1998 he and his wife bought the 209 acres they have there and developed 40 acres of it.  He designed his winery to have gravity-feed into the tanks and has new technology to helping him to make his wines.  Afterwards we drove about 3 minutes down the road into Plymouth.  There we had lunch at Incahoots.  They offer pizza, bbq, and sandwiches.  A perfect menu with a lot of different items.  Mom had the pulled pork sandwich; Bob, Larry and I got their BBQ sampler plate, which includes tri-tip, sausage (we got spicy), chicken, and pork and beef ribs.  Their baked beans are the best ever.  It’s a Santa Rosa style where they are cooked on the grill and pick up the mesquite flavoring.  The last winery we went to was Nua Dair, which is Gaelic for New Oak.  The winemaker/owner, Mark McMaster, was in the wine making/barrel room to greet us. 

Mark is a UC Davis graduate and makes wine in his spare time, as he runs his own CPA firm.  I’m sure we could have brought Elmer inside but we had already tied him up outside.  There was no tasting fee and we tried his Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Zinfandel, Barbera, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon.  All of his wines are 100% of that varietal.  I liked his Barbera and Syrah the best.  The area outside offers a couple picnic benches, nothing much else.  We enjoyed our time with Mark.  We said our goodbyes to Mom and Bob and we each headed off towards our perspective homes.  On our way we stopped at Chocoholics Divine Desserts chocolate factory in Clements, which probably has maybe 1,000 population.  Very nice store, we bought some chocolate raspberry sauce (no fat!) and had a chocolate milkshake (fat!) and walked through the self-guided tour of the factory.  They offer tours for larger groups too.  It would have been perfect if the factory was active, but being a Sunday it wasn’t.  Chocoholics is famous for their “Body Frosting”.  They even have a couple games to play with the chocolate frosting such as; Truth or Dare” and “Strip Chocolate”. 

We got home before 6:00 and had a nice light dinner.  The cats were happy to see us and they didn’t leave us any surprises!  Good kitties. ☺   The weekend was great; it had a bit of everything and that is just what I needed!  I hope all of you had a Happy 4th of July celebrating “The Land That We Love”.