|Surrounded by his team, David Coffaro blesses the grapes.
I have written on a previous occasion about how I believe that the Universe conspires with us every now and then, to bring about a joyful synchronicity in our lives, such as the events that led to me to meet my long lost cousin, Syd, many years ago. I like to think of these tidbits of happy life experience as little jewels scattered along the often difficult path of life. They serve as reminders for us now and again, of the myriad and rich ways that we humans all interconnect, as we weave, in a seemingly haphazard fashion, in and out of one another's lives. This past week, I was fortunate to be present for just such an experience. I just happened to show up at the right place, right on time.
|Monica and Clarke
I wrote at this time last year, that fall in Sonoma County is a magical place to experience. When my besties, Monica and Clarke came to dinner two weeks ago for a homemade pizza-on-the-grill party at my house, they brought a bottle of wine that gained my highest admiration once we started sipping. Monica and Clarke have great taste in wine. And not only do they share a great palate, but they have a knack for searching out small and singular wineries that make outstanding wines which are also sold for fair prices. This particular bottle was grown and bottled not far from where I live, I was most pleased to discover. Down the road a stretch in the beautiful Dry Creek Valley, David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery is making some mighty fine wines.I called the winery the next morning and Dave answered. After talking with him for a bit, he suggested that I stop by the winery tasting room at my convenience and try some wines. He and his assistant winemaker, Matt Wilson, make over 20 different varietals, so there is a lot to choose from. I told him that I planned to pay a visit on Friday, and he said that they would be busy starting the harvest that day, but to check in with Cindi in the tasting room. This year instead of my Canon Powershot, I grabbed my Canon 50D Digital SLR (she cackles happily to herself), put on a pair of jeans with my new green cowboy boots for fall, and headed out into the sparkling late summer afternoon with the sunroof wide open.
Wine tasting in West Sonoma County, is generally speaking, a whole different experience from wine tasting in Napa. West Sonoma County is off the beaten path, and thankfully absent are the ostentatious and grandiose winery tasting rooms where tour buses frequent and gift shops abound. They are often filled with throngs of tourists, all vying for a chance to taste some wine from some poor beleaguered soul behind the tasting bar.
When I wandered into the unassuming tasting room at the David Coffaro Winery after taking some photos of the gorgeous views of the vineyard just outside, I was greeted by Cindi with a warm smile. Two couples from Pennsylvania where just finishing up, and I had the place to myself. Cindi began pouring and as I savored, and she began answering my many questions. Dave had a background in finance, she explained, but discovered his true passion was in farming. He began growing grapes many years ago for other winemakers, but he eventually transitioned into making wines for himself, and boy howdy, am I ever glad that he did.
As I continued my tasting, Matt, the assistant winemaker, approached me and having seen my enormous camera, tentatively asked if I would be staying a little longer? My curious expression led him to explain that the first of the Zinfandel harvest was being brought in, and they had neglected to arrange for a photographer to document the annual gathering of the crew and the blessing of the grapes. An elated me... Miss Wannabe Professional Photographer, could barely contain her enthusiasm for the proposed project. I explained about the Salvation Sisters blog, and my wish to do a blog post on the winery... so a deal was struck.
To further add to the synchronicity of events, Matt it turns out, is from the same very small town where my son, Jordan, now lives in the scenic and mountainous Plumas County of California. I wrote about my travels to see Jordan this past spring when he and his firefighting friends grilled baby back ribs for me. Matt moved to San Francisco after graduating from high school, where he attended culinary school. In 2005, he began working for the David Coffaro Winery as a cellar hand. When the assistant winemaker left to pursue his own winery in 2006, Matt became the assistant winemaker.
With all hands on deck in front of the wine press and a huge bin of the freshly harvested grapes, Matt uncorked a bottle of the 2009 Sparking Pinot and poured a toast for all. Dave made a blessing and offering to the new harvest, and then we all cheered and clinked glasses with one another. I took photos as fast as my camera would go while trying to drink the delicious bubbly at the same time... a challenge, but one that I would eagerly accept again.
Pat Coffaro, Dave's wife, and Cindi, kindly gifted me with a bottle of their 2009 Block 4 to take home. I had tried it in the tasting room prior to taking the photos and had given my two thumbs up to the silky and fruity blend with bright flavors. So I suppose that this bottle represents my first paid gig for photos. Wonders will never cease. And in the future, if anyone should ask… I will work for great wine.
Linda's Heirloom Caprese Salad