Archive for the 'Wine' Category
First day back running AND blogging. Hope no one has been waiting on pins and needles for the Tri-Cities marathon relay report. Here it is.
I took the first leg of the race and for six miles I maintained about a 10:20 average–a few seconds slower than the 10:17 I needed in order to meet Bill at the halfway exchange by my 2 hours and 15 minutes goal. Bill waited for me at mile 6.8 to take pictures and to check in with my progress. Apparently, even with his glasses on he mistook this woman for me and took several great shots of her until she got close enough for him to see that she was someone else’s wife.
He claims her running style is exactly like mine. If you know who she is, let her know we have pictures for her.
After the seven mile mark, I slowed down. Most of my remaining miles were run at my usual average, and I met Bill to pass on the timing chip in 2:23. Contrary to his pre-race jesting (that he was going to walk it in if I didn’t reach him in 2:15), he ran hard and completed his half in 1:49, only four minutes slower than his goal. We ran this marathon, jointly, in 4:11:56. That’s my fastest 42K!
In retrospect, I think I started too fast. My first mile was under 10 minutes and I just couldn’t keep it up. I’ve got a lot to learn about being a strategic runner. Most often my only goal has been to have fun. This wasn’t so fun for me, but I’m still committed to gaining some skill and strategy in my running, banking on the idea that once I do, I’ll actually have MORE fun than ever before.
We’re at the Shilo Inn watching the World Series. It’s San Francisco 2, Detroit 0.
Tomorrow morning we’ll be beating four hours in our first relay marathon. Or we’ll be chalking the experience up to a little extra training and a lot of fun. Bill told me on the way here (which, by the way, was a five hour car ride in the POURING rain) that if I come in later than 2:15 he’s going to lallygag back to the finish line. Apparently, there’s no point in his running hard if we can’t hit our goal. I have to admit I’m shocked to hear him say so, not that I don’t completely understand. It’s just that Bill is usually Mr. Do Your Best and Leave It All Out There.
Maybe he doesn’t want to waste any post-race wine-tasting energy on the race itself if he won’t get to brag about it. I plan on bragging about it no matter how it turns out.
Anyway, give us a mental shout out if you think of it tomorrow morning. At the very least, I’m hoping to run my fastest half marathon since I was in my twenties. Notice I said “fastest” and not “best” since, as I always say, the best races are the ones in which you feel the happiest–and that has to with more than mere speed.
Cheers to you on your Sunday morning run, too, wherever/whatever it may be.
we still love Rattlesnake Hills’ Hyatt the best–I’m sipping on some now.
Today, Bill and I spent five hours driving from Boise to Walla Walla, most of the time listening to a recorded version of the Hunger Games. Although we’ve tasted wine all over the world, for some reason we’ve never made the effort to get to Walla Walla for a tour. And truth be told, we didn’t have much time this afternoon, but we’d done a little research and had our hearts set on tasting at a few specific wineries.
Before I give you the detailed lowdown on two of my new faves, let me share what I learned today. Every single time I go wine tasting, I learn something new about wine-making, or a specific varietal, or the wine industry. Here are my newly acquired facts as of today:
- Carmenere grapes, originally from the Bordeaux region in France, are “hard grapes to work with.” Bill and I were surprised by this because in Chile we drank Carmenere wine almost exclusively. I erroneously assumed they were a hardy grape since they survived near extinction and then turned up so plentifully in South America.
- Reds grow well in the Walla Walla region, but wine makers in Walla Walla get their white wine grapes from the Columbia and Yakima Valleys.
- Walla Walla wines are hella expensive. It’s important not to feel guilty if you decide not to buy a bottle after you’ve already paid the $5 tasting fee.
So now for the wineries. We discovered a couple of gems and tasted plenty of fabulous wine.
DaMa Wines: We chose to visit this winery because this is a girl-powered business. Dawn and Mary (thus, DaMa, for the first letters in each of their names), and their business manager Judith, make, market, and sell their wines with the help of a fluffy white dog named Grace. If you want to give them a try, they’ll ship you a bottle or two. I liked the:
- Chardonnay, a fresh, fruity, not overly oaked wine with notes of apricot. At $21, it’s a good value for Walla Walla.
- Cowgirl Cab, which is actually 79% Cabernet Sauvignon and 21% Merlot. I picked up a taste of those chocolate covered cherries you always get from people who don’t know you well at Christmas. I love those things. I missed the price on this one but I think it was in the low 30s for a bottle.
- Merlot. Yum. We bought a bottle of this for $25. Smooth and sultry. You should try it.
Spring Valley Wines. OK, this was a chance to taste wines we would never buy, but you may be less frugal than we are, so I felt I should sacrifice myself in the service of those who can slap down $50 for a bottle without blinking. All of Spring Valley’s wines are red, and all of them are 2009 vintage. They’re named after family members and are to be tasted with the benefit of the whole family history. They are fabulous, complex, and rich–each.
- Mule Skinner Merlot.
- Uriah Bordeaux Blend.
- Katherine Cabernet Franc.
- Derby Cabernet Sauvignon
- Fredrick Blend (Cab/Franc/Merlot/Petit Verdot/Malbec)
- Nina Lee Syrah
Interestingly, we learned that the Uriah Blend is actually sold in a gas station in Bellingham. What the flip? A gas station?
We rushed out of town by 2pm because we wanted to get to Zilla by 4:00 so we could spend a little time at Hyatt Vineyards. As I mentioned above, Bill and I love Hyatt wines. We discovered them at the liquor store down the street from our house, of all places. Since we don’t drink hard liquor, we didn’t have much occasion to visit the State liquor shop, but one day we wondered to one another if they carried wine, and we wandered in. We found a Hyatt 2005 Cab for about six bucks and took it home. And loved it. You don’t often find a really good wine for a really good price.
For a couple of years, we’ve enjoyed shopping at the liquor store down the road. And then 1183 put all the State liquor stores out of business, and we’ve had trouble finding our favorite wine.
Today we bought a case at the winery!
We made a couple of other stops today, but these are the three most memorable. What are your favorite wines, friends? Don’t be stingy, share what you know. Cheers.
We landed in Boise, ID today at about 4pm. Our first stop was the Sierra Trading Post, where I bought three new outfits and two new pairs of shoes, including a pair of Brook’s Defyance (3), my running shoe of choice.
We’re settled into our motel room now, checking email on our respective netbooks and watching Ichiro (on TV) play for the Yankees (sigh, sniff).
Tomorrow we plan to hit Walla Walla AND Yakima for some wine tasting. Wine is among my great loves (I know, there are many of them…. I love a lot of things/people/creatures). How about if I keep notes on my favorite tastes and make some recommendations in my next post? What do you like? Red? White? I’m looking for a new house red now that the liquor stores in Washington have closed and I can no longer easily get Hyatt’s red label wines.
I’ve tasted wine on 5 continents, and I still think Washington wines are the best. Whether you’re a runner or not, you’ve gotta love wine! Stay tuned.