Thursday, 16 August, 2001 - Philadelphia - San Francisco
I went to work in the morning and got things cleaned up and in some semblance of order before leaving. Luckily at this time of year things are pretty quiet in the office so there shouldn't be too much going on next week. Around 1:00, I grabbed a cab to the airport and checked in for the flight to San Francisco. John Conger was out in San Francisco on business earlier this week; Jennifer, Kathy and Marc were flying out from Philadelphia later in the afternoon.
We landed around 4:45 PDT and I caught a cab into the city. It got a little backed up approaching downtown but I got to the hotel around a quarter to six. We're staying at the Hotel Metropolis which is in the "Tenderloin District" downtown. It is one of the up and coming areas, with a bit of a rough edge about it - two blocks from either the upscale business hotels and trendy restaurants and the Triple XXX Peep Shows. My room is small but clean and modern chic.
The plan was that John, Jennifer and I would have a late dinner after her flight got in, and Marc & Kathy would join us at a bar whenever they arrived. I left John a message at his room, and around 6:15 he called and said that Jennifer's plane was delayed and she wouldn't get in until after midnight, so we went to dinner early. We went to Farallon, a very trendy seafood restaurant with an undersea motif - tres Disney. They gave us a lovely "amuse bouche" - a very small mug of a creamy legume soup. We had tuna carpacchio and foie gras to start and veal and stuffed quail for our entrees along with a nice Merlot. We each had a glass of dessert wine and the waiter gave us little spoons of chocolate mousse. Yum!
We decided to find another bar in which to wait for Kathy and Marc - just up the street was a Morton's of Chicago, so we went there. We ordered 1997 Silver Oak Cabernet and had just about finished it when Marc and Kathy arrived. They hadn't eaten so they ordered scallops and a steak and 1997 Jordan Cabernet. Jennifer called around midnight - she had just arrived at the airport, so we headed back to the hotel and agreed to meet in the lobby at 8:30 in the morning.
Friday, 17 August, 2001 - San Francisco - Napa/Sonoma
I got up early and had a croissant and coffee and packed up my stuff. We all checked out and got our cars - John had a white Jeep Cherokee and Marc & Kathy had a Malibu sedan. We went through the city and crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Jennifer had made an appointment for us to tour Spottswoode Winery and we were running a bit behind, so we called to let them know we would be a few minutes late.
Spottswoode is a family-owned winery in St Helena (middle of Napa Valley). There were six other people on the tour and they were already there, sampling the Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc. We joined in and our guide, Paige, showed us their new on-premises wine-making and storage facility. We tried a barrel-sample of their 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon - delicious - and then went back to the veranda where we tried the 1998 Cab. I bought the 1993 Spottswoode Cabernet when I visited the winery in 1996, and John and I agreed to split a case of the 1998.
Pennsylvania is a difficult state for shipping wines - the alcohol imports are controlled by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and they do not allow direct shipments to consumers from wineries. Some wineries have relationships with third party shippers and will make arrangements for their customers; others require that the buyers take the wine with them and arrange their own shipping. Luckily, Spottswoode is able to ship to Pennsylvania, so we paid for the wine and continued up the valley.