From Oakville, California, USA to Oakville, Ontario, Canada
16 2011on May
at 1:53 pm
in Wine Pairing
Far Niente President Larry Maguire checks in from the road with this guest blog post. Oakville, Ontario, Canada may be across the continent from Oakville, California, USA, but we’ve got the love of fine wine and great food in common!
I love technology and especially the cool program Google Earth. Never was a program written that so addresses my fascination for maps and geography. As a kid in school, cartography was my favorite project. I loved the small details required of map making and had huge boxes of colored pencils so I could get my maps just right. There were occasions when I would take on the effort to create 3D maps from papier mâché. Classmates would give me that sideways smirk, unmistakably accusing me of being the teacher’s pet or a classic brown nose. So when Google Earth was unveiled, I was an early adapter. What better tool could a vintner obsessed with single vineyards find? I could zoom in on my favorite vineyard, fly over its knolls and into its canyons. I could even see if the vineyard we were interested in buying was actually healthy. Very cool.
As a vintner involved in making wine from 7 different vineyards in Oakville, you can imagine how many times I have typed “Oakville, Ca.” into the search bar on Google Earth. Nearly every time I search, I seem to forget that there is also an Oakville in Ontario, Canada. Predictably I get a roundtrip, transcontinental flyover as I head east and then back west after amending my search to Oakville, California.
But this week something remarkably different happened: I actually flew to Toronto, Canada and drove the 45 minutes southwest to the shores of Lake Ontario, to Oakville, to conduct a wine dinner at the remarkable restaurant, Jonathans. This charming town is graced with some of the most beautiful lakeside homes you will ever see and a sophisticated main street that I would like to bring home to Napa Valley. I must say that the real surprise with this visit was the incredible food prepared by Chef Michael Spudowski. While I have been a vintner now for 36 years, I suspect an argument could be made that I am also a professional eater. I can assure you that a deconstructed peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with pain perdu and topped with foie gras was about the most spectacular food paring that I have ever had with our classic, late harvest gem, Dolce. Wow.
So, the next time I'm on Google Earth and mistakenly search for vineyards in “Oakville, Ca.,” I'll stop for a moment to once again cruise the streets of Oakville, Canada before "flying" back to Napa Valley. I suspect I'll pause for a minute to recall my taste memory of that extraordinary meal.
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