Week 8. Off the Beaten Wine Track: On the Oakland Wine Trail

IMG_0569Oakland California hosts an annual event called “art and soul” and so seems like the perfect place to explore my namesake “wine and soul.” Who would have thought that Oakland would be a thriving place on the urban “winescape”? Being an urban wine experience it does not allow you to dance in the vineyards, smell the wet vines after a rain or let Mother Nature take you to your happy place. Still, the experience is just as soulful and maybe even more when it entails a trek to a warehouse district to find the romance in a bottle of wine while the BART train roars past you. So on this particular jaunt I kept is short and simple and visited two wineries: Dashe Cellars (one of my favorites) and Urban Legends Cellars (new to me.)

This week I’d like to share my experience at the latter. Like Dashe, Urban Legends is the product of a husband-wife winemaking team (Steve and Marilee) who put love into their food-friendly wines. The number of wines they make is dizzying and had me frightened. How can they make so many different wines from so many different varieties? My first taste put my worried self at ease as I could see the respect for the grapes in the wine. While listening intently to their story of becoming winemakers, I felt gratitude. I am grateful for all the places my love of wine has taken me, all the connections made, all the stories told, and all the inspiration that nestled in my heart.

I wasn’t looking to buy wine that day but ended up buying a bottle of “Cuvee Lola” which Steve and Marilee made in memory of their calico cat that passed. They describe it as “multi-hued, spicy and complex” – like her. This is one soulful bottle of wine, a delicious Rhone style blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre with a splash of Petite Sirah. The resulting wine is balanced with spice that would go well with the suggested herb-crusted rack of lamb. (I am counting on that.) By the way, it they are pouring the Teroldego, just say, “yes” to this rare variety that makes a dark and delightful wine. To further pique your interest, check out this article.

Upshot: My first expedition on the trail has wet my appetite and so cannot wait to try the others. Campovida and Stage Left Cellars can you hear me calling? Listen closely and you will hear me coming. Anyone want to join me?


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