This summer I celebrated a milestone birthday. I turned 25 years old on July 13th. It was fabulous. I spent the entire week from the 10-15 doing anything and everything I wanted, because it’s my birthday. I took time off work. I read a book. Ok, that one isn’t anything new, but I actually finished that book. I slept a lot. I also went on adventures. My first adventure was with my best friend, Chelsea. We don’t see each other very often. We live in different states, and have work responsibilities and family stuff that keep us from meeting on a regular basis. We talk every day, but it’s not the same. We made a plan in college that we would try to go on one trip every year. This does not count “Hey, I’m free this weekend, are you? Wanna drive down/Can I drive up?” No. These are planned trips to places neither of us have ever been where it’s just us. We reconnect and have fun.
This year, that trip fell on the weekend before my birthday. I wanted to go to the beach. We didn’t really have time to plan to go somewhere far away, like Miami or Savannah. But neither of us have ever been to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It is a two-hour drive from both of our houses, so we would be meeting in the middle and neither of us would be driving farther than the other. Perfect. The trip was nice. It was totally worth it. I only got to the beach for an hour, and it was cloudy and crowded. Like really crowded. An hour was perfectly fine. The sun did come out that day, and we spent the sunny time lounging by the pool, taking naps and reading books.
Between the beach and the pool, though, we did other things. One other thing that I wanted to do this year was to go to a vineyard. We went to Nassau Valley Vineyards in Lewes, DE, and did a tasting. Now, what’s fun is that even though we were together, it was an individual tasting of six wines. She got six and I got six. If you’re doing the math, we got to have twelve different wines that day. We both fell in love with their Peach Ambrosia, Indian River Red Blend, and Naked Chardonnay. Peach Ambrosia has no grapes in it. It is made only with peaches. Y’all. When I tell you, it was the best. It really was. It pairs amazingly with ginger snaps. The peach really pops. Indian River Red is a fruity red blend that goes down really smooth. We tried two Chardonnays. One was a traditional Chardonnay barreled in oak. The other, naked Chardonnay was barreled in stainless steel. It was much brighter and cleaner than the traditional.
We had a great conversation with the guy who led our wine tasting. If I remember correctly, he was the husband half of the husband-and-wife team who operate the vineyard. Such a good guy. We talked about wine, chocolate, beer, bartending in New York. It was great. When we told him that we also like to drink beer, he mentioned that Dogfish Head Brewery wasn’t too far away, and we should visit. Sounded like a great plan to me, so off we went.
We originally wanted to do the Brewery tour and the tasting, but the tours were full. Like, completely full. There were so many people hanging out, playing bocce ball, and drinking at Dogfish Head. It was a relaxed and fun atmosphere. I would go back in a heartbeat. We did the tasting. Four beers each, but only two choices. On the tasting card, everybody got to taste the summer brews of Festina Peche and Namaste. Of those two, I preferred Namaste. It had a bit more body than that Festina Peche. Festina Peche was way too light for me in taste. Of the two choices, I went with Midas Touch and Birra Estrusca. She tasted Theobroma and an Indian Brown Ale. We both hated the Indian Brown. Too dark. Too weird tasting. Not good. Birra Etrusca was ok. It was a bit bitter for me, but she thought it was ok. Theobroma and Midas Touch were clear winners. Midas Touch has a such a crisp taste, slightly sweet, but a good heaviness. Theobroma, we expected something different. Theobroma is an ancient sweet alcoholic drink. Think dark chocolate. So, naturally, we expected something dark, bittersweet, hints of coffee and chocolate. It was a nice amber color, definite hints of chocolate, some nuttyness, but no coffee.
We rounded out our trip with various foodstuffs and bingewatching Disney Channel, just like our college days.
The day of my birthday, I spent with my other best friend, Jessica. We got together and drove out to Haymarket, VA for a wine tasting at The Winery at La Grange. This was a six wine tasting, but you only got six choices. They are a smaller operation than Nassau Valley, but they also have a wine club. So, there are wines that are only available to wine club members. If you’re wondering, yes, I am now a wine club member. I couldn’t help myself. They let us taste their 2012 Tannat and a 2013 Tempranillo. Tempranillo has been my favorite grape for about a year now. It comes from Spain, and it is just so good. It’s warm and earthy. Think dark berries. I love it. The Tannat is the same way, but a bit different. There is a heaviness there that I really enjoy. The other wine that really stood out for both of us was the 2013 Cuvee Blanc. There is a spicyness to it that made it perfect. Our tasting was led by a so sweet southern guy. His parents are from Louisiana and Alabama, and you can really hear it in his voice. We went back recently for a wine club party, and got to try their in-house sangria. They make a white and a red. The red tastes like mulled wine, which isn’t bad at all, but more a winter and hot drink taste than a summer/cold drink taste. The white is amazing. We also took ourselves on a little walk beside the vineyard, and got some photos of the 2015 grapes. Those should make for some excellent wines. It has been a very hot summer.