Thursday, our last day of “civilization”. With a late appointment we all had the chance to sleep in and do any gift shopping we needed to catch up on. With an hour drive in front of us up to Arroyo Grande Valley and the infamous Talley Vineyards we got started, arriving just in time for lunch. We were greeted by Brian Talley, 3rd generation proprietor and philanthropic over achiever. First act was to get bottles flowing and join his entire team for lunch in front of the tasting room. Not just any lunch, Talley is privy to 150 acres of their own vineyard’s and just as important 750 acres of produce. Everything we enjoyed on table came from within 2 miles of us and was carefully curated by the house Chef and what an invigorating meal it was. We were then met by Eric Johnson, the winemaker and huge SF Giants fan who could have possibly still been celebrating the World Series victory from the night before. Or perhaps he was just that happy to see us!!! After a tour of the vineyards and a bit of Q & A we passed by the solar panels which provide 80% of Talley power to the barrel room where we sampled the 2013 and 2014 chards and pinots from barrel. Even on a calm day the wind was blowing in the vineyards proving how important the Pacific (which was 5 miles away) is to this environment. Also just as intriguing as the tasting we learned that Napa cabbage surrounded many of the vineyards and that strawberries and cabbage are good for 3 harvests a year as wine is only good for 1, too bad we can’t reverse that stat. After barrel sampling 8 wines we headed to the tasting room to hit some bottled beauties with Brian. Talley wines are flashy and there is a judicious amount of new oak used for structure and age ability but still never over 30% new. What’s left is depth of flavors with brilliant acid and an incredible hazelnut, lemon cream on most chards, while lavender and wild raspberry salted candy fruit on most pinots. A common theme of briny gravel compliments both reds and whites and these wines have proven over the years to be awesome with age. We left Talley and the affable Brian Talley yearning for more, knowing we had just tasted another of the best the central coast has to offer.
A slow brooding drive back to the hotel was mysteriously interrupted when I made the mistake of asking the group if there was anything we had omitted during or visit. Joy, the “quietest” of the group perked up and said, yes there was one thing missing. We had passed by an emu and ostrich farm on the way in and out of town each day. Joy had never seen an ostrich and wondered if we could stop for pictures on our way home. Always a giver, I of course answered yes and we pulled over for photos, yet Joy wanted to get up close. We found that the cost was $5 to feed the birds and none of us wanted to go with Joy who jumped out of the car and yelled “I’ll pay, but they better be (like) Alive!” As Mary volunteered to accompany Joy all we could hear inside of the cage was shrieking and giggles. To this date we’re not sure if the noise came from the girls or the birds. Our last dinner was a newer spot that opened last year from a chef who has worked the local area for years doing catering and finally opened his own shop. Industrial Eats has a menu of homemade pizzas, super cool local shareable appetizers with old world classics like cassoulet, mussels with chorizo, salmon rillettes and on and on. I ran into the chef in front and asked him if he had any rabbit or fish. “Hell yeah!” came the reply and I asked him to whip anything up he wanted. 20 minutes later came black cod with miso and Mexican corn on the cob and stuffed rabbit loin with mincemeat. As if that surprise wasn’t enough, Chad Melville arranged to drop off wine glasses for us all with some older vintage Syrah. All of the winemakers donated at least one bottle for the feast and Dick Dore dropped by in person with 2 Julia’s pinots from 2007 and stayed for dinner. The night wasn’t complete until the entire establishment sang happy birthday to Gina and we all sang kumbaya on the bus ride home. Thus the end of herding cats through California…..all 10 people who didn’t know each other are still driving me crazy with a text message trail that I don’t think will ever end until I promise to plan another trip for them next year.
I always thought the juicing diet would be so different.
May 2015, Italy hide the swine and wine, here comes Uvaggio wine tour part due…..#Uvaggiotravels