After a relatively cool growing season so far here in California thru June and half of July the summertime heat has finally been turned up to full blast.
Summertime at my house means a real vacation for my wife and me in Lake Tahoe and taking our son to a two week summer camp an hour north of Napa Valley. On our way back we stopped at two of our favorite spots on earth.
Before we had a child, we stayed many times at Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga. Back then it was a quiet, rustic retreat featuring mud baths and one of the greatest pools in California. Well things have of course changed; Calistoga is now a hopping tourist town all year round with fine restaurants and tasting bars. Indian Springs has expanded and upgraded all of its facilities and added a restaurant and bar called Sam’s Social Club and is now an extremely popular destination for people from all around the world; and quite frankly should be. Things may have changed but the Olympic sized swimming pool built in 1913, remains without question the Star attraction. Heated year round from 82 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit from the thermal underground geysers, it is an amazing place to float away all the stress in your life, relax and rejuvenate the body and soul. Check it out at IndianSpringsCalistoga.com
I love Brix Restaurant and Gardens in Yountville and finally had the chance to bring my wife Kim on our way home. All the fruits and vegetables that appear on your plate are grown in view of your table outside and the food and service are outstanding. The owner, Valerie Kelleher also sells and pours her delicious Kelleher Vineyards 2014 Sauvignon Blanc here. I taste hundreds of SB’s per year and this is one of my favorites in the world and I could not wait to have Kim experience this beautiful wine with the fine Brix food. It was a lovely 80 degree day and everything on the menu sounded great; we decided to start with the yummy Tempura Green Beans and Truffle Fries. We then ordered the Dueling Wedge Salad and had the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich as our main course before moving to the garden chairs for our coffee after lunch. It was a great afternoon in life and I can’t wait to come back and you should too. Check it out at Brix.com
Kelleher has just released their small production 2014 Three Sisters Chardonnay; only 110 cases made. Here is the review from its talented winemaker Craig Becker…"Our Chardonnay shows great depth of flavor, lenght of finish, aormatic complexity and a perfect balance between richness and finesse. You will find notes of white chocolate, brioche and orange blossom along with a hint of hazelnut."
On the subject of great Chardonnay; I have been blessed to be in the business of wine almost 40 years now and have met some of the nicest, talented and professional wine sales people from all over the globe. On April 10th the world lost a great one, my friend James Heinemann. James spent most of his career promoting and selling the wines of Rombauer Vineyards throughout the United States while creating special relationships with customers that helped turn Rombauer Chardonnay into one of the most iconic wines in the history of the Napa Valley. My friend James was the very best, #1, unique and incomparable. Cheers to you James, Kim and I will never forget you. Happy Trails!
Cheers to you! Ralph Sands