Real and Imagined Pleasures of the Vine

“Should one contemplate the importance of an experience if it is real or imagined?  If the real experience is cloaked in an aura of imagined pleasures, which is more important – the real happening or the imagined pleasures?  Or, does it really matter?”

My most memorable experience in wine tasting was in the Stags’ Leap region of Napa Valley. This small unmarked boutique winery was nestled far back into the hillside and tucked under the rocky palisades.  One had to have “faith” just to be able to find this charming and hidden treasure.  With a name like “Quixote” why should the journey be any less exciting than the discovery.  This most pleasurable and entertaining spot was anointed by the famous and somewhat eccentric Austrian artist “Friedensreich Hundertwasser” as a place of mystical powers and good fortune.  The winery is the only structure designed by him that is located in the USA.  That uniqueness extends to the luscious wines that are produced here.

The aura of the locale plus the magical quality of the architecture blends to present a truly remarkable experience for a novice wine taster.  I must confess that I have very limited exposure to the wines of California and have only lately arrived at the doorstep of rich and robust Cabernets.  It was with amazement that I first sniffed and then “chewed” the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon release.  Not that I was able to discern between the blackberries and the cherries or the oak and anise….the amazing fact was that this wine simply coated my palate with a warm rich and velvet finish.  It lasted long….. and pleasantly departing only when I was longing for another sip.

Quixote Winery focuses only on the Petite Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignons….and they tease the palate for more.  They offer two labels – Quixote and Panza….Don and Sancho would be pleased!  All of their fruit is sourced from the family’s 27-acre, organically-farmed Stags’ Leap Ranch estate vineyard planted in 1996 located between Stags’ Leap Winery and Shafer Vineyards.

It was a special treat and unique experience to enjoy their winery and wines on a clear and bright September morning.  If you are out their way, be sure to call for an appointment and directions….remember, the journey is as exciting as the destination.  Real or imagined, this visit offers true pleasure.

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