More from our vacation...
Some quick tasting notes:
1. Decant complex reds. Seriously, I didn't think decanters were anything more than lovely glass pitchers for wine. Until our laid back, but keenly knowledgeable pourer at Ridge taught us the difference. He poured us a tasting of wine that had been open for a day and decanted, or aerated; and wine that had just been opened. Turns out, there is a huge difference in taste. So much so that I now think seriously about drinking a red that has just been opened (for me that is serious thought). Complex reds: Zinfandels, Cabernets, Petite Sirahs, Syrahs, and any other reds that are heavier blends.
2. The glass does make a difference. Again, I doubted this to be true, figuring it was just some marketing ploy by Reidel. Our pourer gave us a red in two different glasses and asked us to smell, then taste. The difference in smell was so pronounced between the two glasses, I didn't even have to taste the wine to know that it would be better in the proper glass (in this case, it was a Cabernet in a glass with a larger bowl vs a glass with a smaller, narrower bowl).
And Ridge wines? All fantastic, and you can get most of them anywhere in the country. The tasting room is located in Dry Creek Valley, a gorgeous drive from the crowds of St Helena. Highly recommended.