Wowza. What an unmatchable event. The venue alone was breathtaking. Driving the grapevine, past Castaic and Pyramid lakes, the rolling hills turned lush and green. Turning off the 5 freeway in Frazier Park we immediately noticed that here, just at the one hour point in our drive, we were entering a unartificial mountain community that was canopied in snow not long ago. One where most houses only dotted the hillsides, many were “decked out in decks”, surrounded on all four sides by trees and…for us…the promise of wine tasting in Pine Mountain.
I’d been hearing, and advertising, this event for the past couple of years but this was the first time I was able to attend it myself.
We parked our car along the road, walked a few feet and were then ticketed, wrist banded and strung with beads while we waited with the other 1300 guests to enter the sold-out event. Music, from at least two different stages, wafted down and greeted us.
My husband Eddie, acting as photographer, could also manage to carry a tray for all the promised food goodies. I had my wine glass holder around on my neck but kept my hands free for collecting notes.
The weather reports predicted cool temps, and photo above looks shady, but that was only a brief cloud cover in an otherwise cloudless day. (Which in Pine Mountain is not the same thing as Santa Clarita. Our wine paired well with day-long temperatures in the 70’s.)
Now, onto the wine:
We enjoyed, in no particular order, Julie’s Vineyard 06 Pinot Noir from Byron, friend Shawn Halahmy’s first bottling of SHAI, everything that owner Victor Abascal and friend Terri Templeton poured from Vines on the Marycrest, winemaker Barr Ross’s Chien Tachete 08 Pinot Noir, Pianetta, Cantara, Kenneth Volk Vineyards 08 Verdelho and 07 Pinot Noir, Augie and Raquel Hug pouring Hug Cellars, Palmina’s Dolcetto, Wild Heart Winery’s Pour L’amour 06 Rhone blend, Brucher Winery, River Bench 07 Estate Pinot Noir, Summerwood’s 06 Diosa Rhone blend, 06 Syrah and 05 Cabernet, Cambria Estate Winery Benchmark Break Vineyard Pinot Noir, and Hope Family Wines lineup of the Treana blend, Liberty School Cabernet and Cando 07-08 mixed vintage.
Which we did pair with:
Hitching Post’s artichokes and a crostini, TIFA chocolate, Pine Mountain Pizza Company for Artichoke/Pesto for me and Pepperoni for Eddie. We also enjoyed the continuous Crab Cakes on the grill, homemade French Fries and Bar-Be-Que chicken Pita sandwiches. Water bottles, spittoons, napkins, picnic areas and all other items expected at a grand wine tasting were readily accessible.
In closing, the final highlight was running into friends we hadn’t seen in awhile (The Brileys, Shirley, the Arman family, retired police and fire) friends we had seen last week (Mary, Victor) meeting and making new friends (Terri, Craig, the Kealings and more.)
Of course, as the day wore on, and we wanted to sober up for the drive, we took another “lap” around the course where friends now where telling us what to try…always the fun part of the day for us. So we sobered up during the third lap and enjoyed our drive away from the Pines with the promise that it wouldn’t be a year before we’d return.
(FTA disclosure: Eddie and I were guests of event, not of any winery.)