Going off the grid

Pinot Noir among the pines...

Had I been able to fit the kitchen sink into that stuffed-to-the-gills car, I promise you I would have. We were heading to the woods and I was prepared for just about anything. What I left behind turned out to be the best part of the trip... That and the Pinot Noir we had, but I'll get to that in a moment.

On our way to camp, we stopped in Boulder Creek. From Johnnies Super we picked up firewood and Popsicles. As we set off back on the road, I instinctively checked my phone. No service. Gulp... But with the firewood precariously resting on my lap (I wasn't driving) and the peach Popsicle half eaten, I realized I felt unburdened. I had left texts, calls and emails behind.

This feeling of freedom was made more real once at camp. The smell of pines, silence of nature and laughter of friends reminded me why camping was a favorite vacation of mine as a child.

The first night's dinner was hot dogs done over the fire and chili I had made the day before. On our second night, we had burgers. I could write now in length about how EVERYTHING seems to taste better cooked outdoors, but I won't. Instead I'll tell you what we drank. It was Rodney Strong Russian River Valley 2011 Pinot Noir.

I am a sucker for Russian River Valley Pinot and Rodney Strong is a tasty and modestly priced option. It is food friendly but more than that. It was wilderness friendly. It was the perfect compliment to the the toasty, earthy, happily dusty campsite. I even had a few sips with my S'mores, which was admittedly not a perfect pairing but my taste buds were happy all the same.

I hope your summer includes some time away from the grid. Bring some Pinot Noir with you if you go. Regarding my packing, we didn't use most of it. I learned that I'll let go of a lot more before we even hit the road next time.

A little more about Pinot Noir (pee-no nwahr)
Pinot Noir is nearly black in color. The berry clusters grow in a pinecone-like shape. These attributes of the varietal are reflected in its name--"pine" and "black" in French.

Historically associated with the Burgundy region of France, Pinot Noir is now grown around the world. Known for being fickle and difficult to grow, Pinot Noir producers tend to be some of the most passionate you'll find.

Incredibly food-friendly, the Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs are known for having plenty of dried flowers, earthy and red fruit (think pomegranate, strawberries and rhubarb) attributes.


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