One Day in Santa Barbara, This Happened…
I set the glass down and looked at Tom.
“Oh wow!” I exclaimed, smacking my lips.
He started to reach for the glass and I snatched it back. “Wait! I’m not done yet!” I said furtively. In response, he flashed me a grin of both amusement and impatience.
I raised the ash-blonde colored substance to my lips and took another sip. My tastebuds immediately stood to attention as the both crisp and sweet liquid coursed over my tongue and down my throat. It was spectacular. Now if only I was more of a wine connoisseur so I could know why.
I once again set down the glass. Tom quickly snatched it up before I could object and tried a sip. He nodded.
“That is really good,” he agreed.
I was happy for his affirmation that it was the most amazing wine ever (ok, that’s not what he said, but I’m sure that’s what he meant) as Tom knew much more about wine than I did.
“Ooh, stop drinking! We’re supposed to try it with the food!” I made a motion to grab it out of his hands, but he deftly maneuvered it away from my clutches. “Don’t drink it all,” I warned him menacingly as he took another sip.
We were in Santa Barbara, California for a New Year’s getaway. It was about a year after we’d started dating and Tom apparently still felt like he needed to impress me because he’d made reservations at the highly-rated Bouchon restaurant in Santa Barbara. The restaurant specialized itself by only using local ingredients and boasted an extensive wine list of vintages from the area.
It was the start of what would be the first of many getaways to the wine region of California’s central coast. But we didn’t know that yet. My obsession was just about to begin.
The food for the most amazing wine in the world was placed in front of us. We eyed it eagerly. We had decided to try their wine pairing menu instead of getting a bottle of wine and the appetizer I ordered was a goat cheese concoction. The beef carpaccio appetizer Tom ordered came with a Syrah. We had agreed to share, but I was quickly changing my mind.
I stuck my fork into the cheese appetizer and took a bite. Incredible, succulent deliciousness. Then…I reached for the white wine…and took a sip.
My eyes rolled back into my head in pleasure. “Mmmm-mmmmm,” I murmured as I swallowed. So good. I leaned back in amazement and looked at Tom.
“Is this what good wine tastes like?” I asked incredulously. “Why do I keep buying Two Buck Chuck?” Two Buck Chuck being the famous Trader Joe’s wine that sells for just $2 a bottle in California.
“I keep asking you the same thing,” Tom replied dryly.
I saw him going for more of the cheese appetizer and with a playful squeal, sparred his fork with mine. After agreeing on a diplomatic way to split up the rest of the appetizer, we eat and drink in bliss until our server popped back over to our table.
”How is everything?” she asked.
“Amazing,” I drawled out.
Tom lifted the glass of white wine. “What kind of wine was this again?” he asked.
“It’s so good,” I gushed and then figured I should tailor in my emoting before she thought I was thoroughly tipsy.
To my surprise, our server becomes just as giddy as me.
“Oh, isn’t it incredible?” she cooed and clasped her hands together in rapture. “It’s Kris Curran’s ’07 Grenache Blanc. Isn’t Kris great?” She looked at us expectantly. We stared back at her blankly.
“Oh! You don’t know who Kris Curran is?” she asked in surprise. “She’s a bit of a legend around here. She’s the winemaker at Foley, but this” – she gestured to the wine Tom was still holding – “is from her own label.” She paused, then exclaimed, “Oh my gosh! How long are you guys in town for?”
“Until Monday,” I replied.
Kris Curran’s fan club continued. “She has a tasting room in Solvang. You must go! It’s D’Alfonso-Curran winery. D’Alfonso is her husband’s last name. He’s a winemaker, too.”
Since she didn’t start gushing about him as well, I assumed her fan club of one did not extend past this Kris person.
We thanked her for her recommendation and she walked away.
I leaned across the table toward Tom eagerly. “Let’s go. Oh, please can we go?”
He laughed and nodded. “Good thing we didn’t make it there today.” We were going to go to Solvang before heading to our hotel in Santa Barbara to get ready for dinner, but became worried we were going to run out of gas getting up the huge hill to get to Solvang so we turned around. Tom was feeling risky and thought we could make it. Nope.
“It’s fate,” I said dramatically.
“That must be it,” Tom said with a smirk.
“Gimme that,” I said in retaliation and swiped the most amazing wine in the world now properly known as Curran ’07 Grenache Blanc out of his hand.
Our visit the next day to D’Alfonso-Curran Winery did not disappoint. The worker there shared our server’s adoration for Curran and introduced us to her Sangiovese, Syrah, and Gewurtzraminer. All amazing. Oh – and her hubby’s wine was delicious, too!
By the time we left, we had joined the D’Alfonso-Curran wine club.
That week after arriving back home, I went grocery shopping and now that I knew about the amazing wines out there, I knew I couldn’t go back to Two Buck Chuck.
So, I upgraded to Trader Joe’s $3 option and left happily.