Kevin is a childhood friend who I’ve keep in touch with over the years and it had been over five years since I last saw him; that was in Las Vegas and pre-kids. It is well known that time speeds up the older we become and children add an extra accelerator. He was only here for two days and so we packed in a lot in that limited time.
We ended up having to meet at the restaurant Puerto 27 as his plane arrived at the same time we had a mandatory kindergarten meeting. There were no children allowed so we dropped them off with friends and upon picking them up I also picked up my buddy Peter and we went down to collect Kevin. Of course we ended up drinking a few beers, watching the sunset and unfortunately see the Warriors continue to lose the magic they’ve had all season against Oklahoma. We dropped Peter off and stayed for a few Pliny the Elder’s and a bit of conversation.
The next morning we were off to Napa. Since I had recently quit my memberships at Viansa and Artesa I had to do some study to figure out where I would be taking him. Aside from Viansa and Artesa the usual places are Cline, Jacuzzi, Domaine Carneros and Clos du Val. I thought we’d go farther into wine country this time but was surprised to learn how expensive Napa has become. Everywhere now charges a tasting fee of between $15 – $40 and they want you to do some type of tour. I was curious about Darioush, Quixote and Frog’s Leap but thought the better choice would first be V. Sattui since it is one of the most popular, the wines are always very good and they can only be bought at the winery which makes the experience extra special. We arrived at 10:30 well before the crowds and hordes of tipsy bride’s maids and had a nice tasting of which we each bought six bottles each.
I wasn’t sure where to go next so I asked our servers opinion and he said the Castillo di Amorosa would be an excellent choice. This castle is also owned by the Sattui family so not much of a surprise that it was recommended but it was an excellent choice indeed. Under normal circumstances I’m reluctant to drive that far into Napa / St. Helena because it will make the drive back about an hour or so longer. Our server also mentioned that we should do the tour and that was also a great suggestion.
The castle is pretty fantastic and it was definitely worth the $40, especially because there is a tasting at the end. The wines however were not spectacular and we did not want to pay extra for the reserve. It’s pretty incredible to think about the lengths that Dario Sattui went to make the castle as authentic as possible. The majority of building materials were authentic, bought from crumbling castles and shipped to Napa.
The following day was a blitz tour of San Francisco. We started off at Twin Peaks and were lucky to have avoided the fog as well as arrive right before all the busloads of tourists. It was then off to: the painted ladies, Haight-Ashbury, a sausage from Rosamunde grill which we ate at the Toronado along with Pliny the Elder. After lunch we went down Lombard street then over to Pier 39. The hordes of tourists gave Kevin the creeps and we had run out of time so it was back to Pacifica. We made a pit stop at Winter’s, the pier and Devil’s Slide brew house and he was off.
I wonder if it will be another five years before I see Kevin again? What will have changed? It amazes me how quickly the time has gone since the carefree days of 8th grade and now my 40th birthday quickly approaches.
Life is short and friendship is one of the most valuable aspects of this brief experience. I am now certain that the adage which says, ‘If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.’