Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Winey Tasting Notes: Cracking The Code With Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc

My recent trip to northern California included a 2 day stay in wine country. As I've said before, you have your pick of billions and billions of wineries to tour and sip at. It's enough to make you want to unpack permanently. But, The Winey Hubby and I did have to eventually return to Ohio..so we picked a few wineries to visit. Not one to make anyone/thing ever feel left out, though, I spent the rest of the vacation sipping only wines from California. This way, even if we didn't make it into the actual winery, I got to sip my way around the area.

18th green at Pebble Beach.
Photo by Winey Mom.
Adoration of green by Winey Hubby.
That's why I was sipping a Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc (2010, 12.8%, Rutherford, CA) about 2 hours south of Napa, in the utterly enchanting town of Carmel By The Sea on the Monterey Peninsula. (Yes, THAT town - the one that Clint Eastwood used to be mayor of!)  One of the absolute prettiest towns you'll ever see: fairy tale type houses, adorable shops, amazing restaurants, all leading toward the end of Ocean Avenue and a breathtaking beach. (The Winey Hubby thought the breathtaking factor was largely due to the fact that you can actually see and walk to the hallowed ground of Pebble Beach Golf Club...but we all have our priorities in this life.)

The famed Lone Cypress,
17-Mile Drive.
Photo by Winey Mom
So after a day of driving 17-Mile Drive - truly one of the most gorgeous drives in this country - we wound up back in town and ready to eat. For our dining pleasure, we decided on PortaBella Restaurant, right on Ocean Avenue. Everyone there speaks with a French accent (loved it!!) and the restaurant itself is pure charm. Once we got seated, I took up the wine list and started reading. And reading. And reading. (Typical of these little gourmet restaurants in California - so for those of us of a certain age, ahem, do NOT go without your reading glasses. Just saying...) With the help of our waiter, I finally decided on a bottle of the Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc. Little did I know I was in for a lesson - with a quiz to follow!

The bottle arrived, and the first thing our waiter did was to uncork it and present me with the cork - making sure I could read the message on it. Very cute. Ribbit! I get it. But then, he turned the bottle around and showed us a top secret code on the back label. TFWYHF. He made us guess what it meant. Living in Ohio, I immediately tried to fit TBDBITL into it, but it didn't work. (Don't know TBDBITL? Sigh. OK, it stands for "The Best Dam Band In The Land" and it refers to the Ohio State Marching Band. But this is waaay off track here.) We kept trying but.... he finally took pity on us and cracked the code: "Time's Fun When You're Having Flies". Wait for it - it took us a minute, too. And then we just laughed out loud!

The label also had the very helpful instruction "Open Other End" on it. I can only assume that this does not apply for your FIRST bottle, but could become necessary on later uncorkings.

Now for the wine itself. It had a bouquet of peach and flowers. It tasted of citrus and apricot and flowers and was light and crisp in my mouth. The finish was of minerals and lime. At no time did I taste or get a whiff of flies (or frogs). And it was absolutely wonderful with my salmon and mushroom risotto.  A great wine to sip on its own or to take to the table. One to buy!

Just goes to show that you never know what you're going to get when you walk into a beautiful little restaurant in a picturesque seaside city. A romantic dinner. An amazing meal. Or a lesson on how frogs party. Travel is such fun!

Cheers!

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