Day 2: Sonoma, Wine Country and UC Berkeley
San Francisco Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
I started the day late as i woke up at around 11am, probably due to the clubbing and the alcohol the night before (though i only had but 1 beer). So it must have been travel fatigue.
Anyway, my friend very kindly brought me to Wine Country, Sonoma Valley specifically as he said it's not too commercialised like Napa and that the people there are generally more laid-back. Before setting off, we had in-and-out burger which my sister back home was raving to me about. I had the cheeseburger with animal style fries. Wasn't too bad, but not really to my liking.
So we drove to Sonoma, and on the way encountered a jam, so only got there at around 2pm when all vineyards would close at 5pm. Time was of the essence, so we quickly got down to serious wine tasting. First stop was Iron Horse, a vineyard with very good chardonnay apparently. We had a couple. The only thing i can say is that drinking from the vineyard really beats drinking off the shelf of a supermarket. Obviously. I guess standing on top of a hill with acres and acres grape vines spread out neatly in rows beneath your feet is a splendid feeling. I felt inspired to sit down and paint something out of the picturesque landscape i saw. If i could paint. It was just an inspirational moment.
Anyhow, it turned out the chardonnay was indeed quite delightful. There were a few which tasted light and "mineralry", kind of like a clear citrus taste, which i found unique and refreshing. But the one i was really impressed by was their '05 with a splash of vanilla and apple. It was such an olfactory experience! I've never breathed such fragrant wine. It also had a full-bodied taste,and the best part was that it was not too dry. So everything was right about it. I then bought 2 bottles. The folks there were really nice and waived the tasting fee for us.
Next up we went to DeLoach for its famed pinot noir and carbernet sauvignon. They were kinda oaky and too dry for my liking, but then again, red is always an acquired taste. Takes one to know (and love) one. I still prefer chilean reds so i didn't get anything from there. Service was excellent though. We were offered bottled water and crackers peppered with a debate on the US elections. It was great.
After Wine Country, my friend brought me to his alma mater, UC Berkeley. I was surprised by how small the campus was, though, i was told a lot of significant moments in American history occured on campus grounds. For example, the free speech movement was started in Sather Gate. A lot of Nobel Laureates also hail from Berkeley. And although i didn't manage to spot any (i suppose NLs don't work on Sundays), i saw many parking lots reserved for NLs which was pretty cool. I then had a comprehensive campus tour conducted by my friend, and i must say i was very impressed by how much he knew the campus. After the tour we went for some french food takeout in campus town. Not too shabby, but not the best i've had either so nothing much to comment on. We also went for some bubble tea at this place near the "Asian Ghetto", which is a street corner that sells all sorts of Asian food at low prices. My friend also reminded me that around 43% of SF is made up of Asians, and a big precentage of the UC Berkeley community comprises of Asians as well, so i guess the Asian Ghetto is an absolute necessity, though the name sounds rather curt.
On the way to and from SF, we drove past the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and the Richmond Bridge. All pretty cool bridges, but i was wondering how come people only go see the Golden Gate Bridge when the Bay Bridge is much more of an engineering marvel than the former since it is much much longer. Anyway, this is what wikipedia told me:
"The Golden Gate Bridge had the longest suspension brigde span in the world when it was completed in 1937 and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and California. Since its completion, the span length has been surpassed by eight other bridges. It still has the second longest suspension bridge main span in the United States, after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City."
Come to think of it, i might have watched a documetary on how the Golden Gate Bridge was built, but i can't really remember. The scenary was splendid though, and i do plan to go back to it for a closer look later on this week.
Unfortunately, i still couldn't bring my dSLR with me as i very carelessly forgot to bring my battery charger, which really sucks. I took a few pictures with my cellphone, and will be posting them when i get home.