Spring Break 2017: Moab, Utah

2017 has been more of the crazy busy that 2016 was. I did take off some time recently to hike Mt. Peale and Black Mesa but other than that, I’ve been head down working hard on making a house happen (and on that front, I’m waiting around on an “as built” appraisal right now…).

Last fall, my friend Kelly moved to California and left her van at my place until she could figure out how to get it moved out there with her. I volunteered to drive it out over Spring Break. My roommate, Katherine, was starting her break in Moab so I joined her and her friends for a couple of days.

On my way out to Moab from Ridgway, I discovered, when I was pulled over in Norwood, that the tags on the van were expired. This lead to some handwringing between Kelly and I as we tried to figure out what our best course of action was. Since the courthouse in Ouray was closed on Fridays, we decided I should just go for it and we’d deal with potential tickets when and if they came. Because of this delay, I reached Moab a little bit later than I’d hoped but it was Thursday night and I had more than a week of freedom ahead of me.

We’d hoped to get permits to hike Arches National Park‘s Fiery Furnace on Friday morning but alas, all of the permits were gone until Sunday but I’d need to head west before that. Since Katherine’s friend Brittney had never been to the park we hiked to Delicate Arch and then out to Sand Dune Arch. The weather was windy and cold so it wasn’t until we got out to Sand Dune Arch that I finally started to feel like it was break. Scrambling around sandstone makes me grin like a fool and that really helped kick off some vacation!

 

I mentioned that I really wanted to go to Back of Beyond Books and Katherine wanted to go to Gear Trader. Out of character for all of us, we went shopping. Much to Katherine’s surprise, I spent money: I bought books, a (super sweet) hat, and a new MSR pot since mine seems to have disappeared. The sun came out and the weather warmed up so walking around town felt awesome. Once we were done shopping, we started floating ideas about where to go next. I suggested Cable Arch but that wasn’t getting much response. Katherine suggested visiting Castle Valley so I suggested that we go out there and taste wine at Castle Creek. We caravaned out of town, pausing to get water at Matrimony Spring, and headed for the winery.

Tasting at Castle Creek is only $1 for 4 tastes (thanks Utah law, you can only do 4 tastes but if you plan with your friends you can taste them all). Since we’d stopped at Red Rocks, we visited the Utah Museum of Film and Western Heritage. I’d never stopped before but was pretty fascinated with all of the movies and commercials that had been filmed out there! I knew about a lot of them but there were several that were total surprises!

Back in Moab, we grabbed dinner at The Spoke and then headed to the brewery to pick up some beer and have a pint before heading back to camp. The blustery weather had returned so we were happy to not have to return to camp yet. It seemed to be outdoors social media weekend in Moab so I was able to finally meet Dave W. and catch up with Mike R.

After a couple of beers we headed back to camp, where much wine and beer were drunk and campfire smoke inhaled and we all headed off to sleep. It poured overnight making getting the van out of our sandy camp spot somewhat interesting but it was time for me to be heading off towards California!

Wine Tasting: Ginkgo Forest Winery

While out and about getting ready for Christmas, my mom and I passed Ginkgo Forest Winery‘s tasting room on N. 30th. I thought it’d be fun to do a tasting so we headed in and sat down at a table. The tasting room attendant was a little busy but was really friendly and did everything she could to make our visit awesome including bringing over a map of the Wahluke Slope AVA so we could see where the grapes were grown. Mom and I employed the ever useful tag team tasting technique to make two tastings of 5 wines ($6 for the flight of five) cover the 10 wines they had open.

ginkgo forest winery

Whites:

2012 Viognier

2008 Gewürtztraminer: Neither the Viognier or the Gewürtztraminer were amazing but neither were they horrible.

2012 Ginkgo Blanco: Both mom and I found this to be realllly sweet. I sometimes like my whites with a touch of sweetness but this was a little cloying even to me—it was almost dessert wine tasting!

2010 Riesling: This was my favorite of the whites. They said it was a “sweeter” Riesling but I didn’t find it too bad.

Reds:

2008 Pinot Noir: This wine smelled a lot more promising than it tasted, in my opinion. Then again, I think I might have been permanently spoiled by Willamette Valley pinots.

2011 Coalesce: The Coalesce was a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah. For a blend, I found it to be a little coarse.

2010 Malbec: This wine was delicious with big bold flavors. In fact, it was so bold Mom kept trying to tell me it was the Syrah (see below) but it was wayyy better.

2010 Syrah: About this point in our tasting, the wine maker himself came over to pour our wines. He was very proud of his award winning Syrah. It was pretty darn delicious, he was right. Not as good as the Malbec of the same vintage (see above) though.

2010 Barbera: Barbera was a new varietal to me. I enjoyed this wine but as is often the case with a new varietal it kind of takes your tastebuds by surprise and you don’t know how to process it. I’d totally drink this again though.

2010 Cabernet Franc: Yum. I really liked this wine. It was smooth and immensely drinkable.

I was kind of sad I wasn’t going to get to try their Cabernet Sauvignon since I’ve had some really good ones out of Eastern Washington (plus it’s one of my favorites) and the Wildwood Blend (it is 20% of that delicious Malbec). Mom and I debated for a bit and we decided the Wildwood was worth a chance and bought a bottle. She later decided to give it as her white elephant gift** in a family gift exchange. Fortunately, I drew “#1” in the exchange and gleefully made the final steal of the game. A Seahawks blanket or a bottle of wine? I think the right choice was made:

Ginkgo Forest

Oh, and the Wildwood? It was delicious.

 

**White elephant gift exchanges should be permanently banned.