Returning to the gym this a.m. reminded me that taking time off from any routine requires—no, make that forces—a re-entry reality.
Vacations are supposed to be a relaxing break from the norm. Mine was. I got plenty of exercise hiking along the North Coast of Mendocino and wrestling fish off the bottom of the ocean. But I didn’t spend much time thinking about wine, which was a good thing.
Getting back to daily tastings today, with the focus for the next couple of weeks on the 2005 and 2004 Cabernet vintages, takes time and can be taxing, especially the first day back. Just like trying to lift weights after a week off. The muscles are sore.
I was happily anonymous in the villages of Albion, Mendocino and the town of Fort Bragg. I only encountered a couple of readers—one is a good fishing buddy, Bob Quinn, who lives in Mendo, and the other being U.S. congressman Mike Thompson, who volunteered to cook at the world’s largest salmon barbecue at Fort Bragg on Saturday.
There I dined on picnic tables with thousands who turned out to support the event, which raises money for salmon restoration. For those who don’t know, the West Coast salmon fishery is in dire straights; this year the entire commercial and sport salmon season was cancelled. The salmon for this fest came from Alaska, I was told.
I managed to avoid even thinking about critiquing or rating wines and on Saturday washed down the butter-drenched garlic bread and salmon with a 2007 Parducci Sauvignon Blanc that was light and refreshing. It would have been impossible to consider reviewing a wine under those circumstances. We were seated a few feet from the huge grills, where the salmon were being grilled, filling the air with even more smoke than the dozens of fires that were burning throughout the county the past week.
There’s a world of difference between analyzing wines in blind tastings and drinking them for enjoyment and I’m happy to say I haven’t forgotten where one world ends and the other begins. Now it’s back to work.