Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Frances Turns 80 Redux

Three Grazianos

Looking back, great getaway for Fran's birthday
Thursday of last week we drove to Healdsburg. We went via a Sebastapol and a pretty drive along back roads in the Russian River Valley. We did some wine tasting along the way, including a stop at Hook and Ladder Winery [Link] for a tasting. This new winery is owned by the De Loach family. We were the first people ever to come in for a tasting there and the wines were amazing! Healdsburg resident, tech writer and blogger Dori Smith [Link] had made some recommendations for dinner. She was right on the money and we ate at Cena Luna [Link] in downtown Healdsburg. The food there was great and the wine reasonable. That night we stayed at the Haydon Street Inn [Link]. This was very nice, a good Victorian. But it was a cold night, the room we had had big picture windows and we did not find any heater in the room. Thankfully the room had a big down comforter on the bed. The shower in the room was very funky. Sue ended up showering in her mom's room. Breakfast the next morning was very good!

After breakfast Friday my brother-in-law, John Graziano, and I went to Williams Selyem [Link]. John is the winemaker at a great New York winery, Millbrook Vineyards and Winery [Link]. Both Millbrook and Williams Selyem, along with Pebble Ridge Vineyards [Link] (which includes Vista Verde,) is owned by a fellow named John S. Dyson [Picture Link]. Williams Selyem produces some of the world's best Pinot Noir, exclusively to their mailing list. Their winery has no tasting room. Lynn Krausmann is a winemaker there [Link] and she gave John and I a tour along with extensive tasting both from bottles and barrels. Since this was early in the morning and I had a lot of driving to do I can truly say this is the best wine I have ever spit out in my entire life!

After the visit to Williams Selyem we went back to Healdsburg. We went to a bike shop where we looked at bikes. Then we hooked up with Sue and Fran who were shopping. We went out for lunch and had some great Mexican food at a place John knew from one of his previous visits to Williams Selyem. Then we did more wine tasting as we headed south to Petaluma. We stopped at Rochioli Vineyards [Related Link] and Arista Vineyards [Link]. I will leave the Petaluma portion of our trip for another posting.

New digital Nikon
We bought a new digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 8400 [Link]. I have been looking for an advanced non-SLR camera that shoots Camera RAW [Link]. Few do. This one does. This model was recently list priced at just under $900. We found it being clearanced for just under $400. Susie can take it to London with her and it is small and light enough for me to carry on my bike, unlike my D2H [Link].

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