Saturday, April 14, 2012

Many, mini-moons ago

In January, Dan and I decided that since our honeymoon was more of a honey-ride...and that we are living in a new, exotic land...we should explore this land that we now live in by doing/seeing (at least) one new thing each month...and that we should take some "mini-moons" (mini-honeymoons). When we can, we try to combine our mini-moon with our southwest-exploration.

So, in January, we headed up to Sedona for the weekend. Sedona is located about 3 hours north of Tucson; an hour north of Phoenix and about an hour south of Flagstaff. Sedona is famous for its red rocks, is located in part of the Coconino National Forest, and its vortexes. Hikers come here; spiritualists come here; 'regular' tourists come here.

I had purchased a Groupon for a one-night stay at a hotel that came with a wine-tasting voucher. The hotel was nice; the wine tasting was not.

It just so happened that there were 3 wineries located within a half-mile of each other. We went to the one that was part of the voucher. The wines were bad and overpriced. We went to the second (within walking distance). The wines were just as bad and even MORE overpriced. I was disappointed. I thought that surely there would be one good wine.... Not even the bottle of $45 "beautiful" wine (described by our host) was bearable. I describe this Sedona-area wine was "the wine that was offered to Jesus when he was dying on the cross - and he refused."

We decided to head back to the hotel, and then came upon the third winery - Page Springs. The grounds were beautiful. The tasting room is in an old barn that's been renovated to house several areas - an area to lounge - listen to live music, eat and drink, an area for tasting, and a large porch. Their wine was actually drinkable - mainly because they combine their grapes with grapes from California.

The wine was very acidic, had an undesirable aroma (no fruit, oak, cocoa, vanilla or anything else they usually say you can smell), and was almost on the verge of vinegar. We think that the wine was bad because of the growing conditions of the grapes - poor soil and too much sunshine.  [We have no idea if this is the cause; it is only a hypothesis.]

The landscape was absolutely breath-taking. What is so amazing about Arizona is the diversity in the landscape. As you will see from the pictures, the red rocks cause everything green to 'pop.' (because they are opposites on the color wheel - shout-out to Mrs. Leonard, my art teacher!) We went to the Chapel of the Cross, where we were able to hike for a while.

The weather wasn't great while we were there, so we didn't spend any time (seriously) hiking. It was overcast, rainy and in the low 50s. There was snow on the mountains surrounding Sedona, but we only got to see it from afar. The next time we go, we will definitely spend some time hiking.

We ate dinner at a great restaurant. The food was excellent and ambiance was incredible. I had read a review on TripAdvisor; it was near our hotel - so we went. It was in a strip mall, so it'd easy to write off as "lame." I am so glad we didn't! We both had delicious pasta and enjoyed the live music provided by a blues guitarist. He was incredible. It was very fun.

The next morning, we ate dinner at 'The Coffee Pot,' a restaurant famous for its 101 omelet combinations. It was worth the hype. We spent some time checking out art galleries and shops in Sedona. We found an artisan olive-oil and vinaigrette shop that was incredible. I think there were 25-30 flavors of oil and vinegar. If they weren't $15 a bottle, I would have bought more than just the safe garlic olive oil...which lasted about 2 months in our house.

And now - for the pictures! (There are none from the winery, dinner, breakfast, etc. because our batteries died while at our first 'attraction' - hiking at the Chapel of the Cross.)


talklady said...

can't wait for the blog about the cool aunt and uncle from California who came the next month!
Great photos, great people, great times - great job on this, Jess!

Farmgirl Chaos said...

Even though you had some bad wine....I'm glad you had fun! I wonder if our January weather was better than what you had.

Lastly...have I told you I found a wine I LOVE? Stella Rose. Yum!