Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Atumn in the Valley

The grapes are in, and the mornings are getting chilly. The sweet fruity smell of fermenting wine permeates the air. It's my very favorite time of the year.

Our home looks out at the Northern portion of the valley with beautiful hills in the background. Autumn mornings are usually bright and sunny. Because the air is so cool, the Hot Air balloons are still flying as late as 8:00am. There's nothing more peaceful in the morning that standing in your kitchen at 6:00am, sipping tea before the kids are awake watching the beautifully colored balloons drifting over the valley. Once in a while, they'll land in the empty lot behind our house - the girls always love to watch them land and see all the people getting out the basket. It's amazing how long it takes to get the balloons all put away after they land.

The hot air balloons aren't the only things that have beautiful colors. The trees are turning all the colors that everyone looks forward to, but the grapevines provide the best show in the valley. The leaves are a kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges, reds and Burgundies.

"And the Wine is Bottled Poetry..." That's what the sign says as you enter the upper portion of the Napa Valley and it's right. Before Eric and I were married, I worked at one of the larger, more famous wineries, giving tours and pouring tastings. It was during this time that I learned to love wine. I'm not one of those "wine snobs", I'm just as happy with a $2 bottle of "two-buck-chuck" from the Trader Joe's as I am with a 20 year old Cabernet. It's the taste that matters, not the label. The most amazing thing about the wine at this time of year though, is the smell of the newly fermenting grapes. You don't even have to roll down your windows when driving upvalley to get that luscious smell to waft into your car. It's kind of sweet, a very unique smell that someone should find a way to bottle. The Neuvoux Beaujolais should be on the shelf soon, they kind of have that "newly fermented" smell to them. Try one with your Thanksgiving turkey - you'll love it!

Yes, these are the reasons I love Autumn in the Napa Valley. Everyone talks about the "lifestyle" here, but I just like life here - I think I'll stay awhile...

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