It seems that the older I get, the more I’m starting to really prize the phenomenon known as “Leap Day.” Why? It’s simple. See, I’m the kind of girl who doesn’t take rare opportunities for granted. It’s no secret among my friends that celebrating the New Year (every year) is my favorite thing all year. I love the sense of new beginnings and fearlessness and clean slates that seems to come with every new year that dawns, and it only comes once a year.
I also have been known to plan a whole evening around a blue moon. Yes, I’m serious (and no, I don’t mean the beer, though it’s delicious). Rarer still than once-a-year NYE, a blue moon rolls around just once every two and a half years or so (if you’re not familiar, it’s the second full moon in a calendar month). Last time there was a blue moon happened to be (much to my delight, as you can imagine) on New Year’s Eve 2009 – and that won’t happen again until 2028! If you’re like me and you enjoy rare occasions such as these, the next blue moon occurs on August 31st of this year – plan an amazing summer evening accordingly!
So, all this should go to explain why I love “Leap Day” so much. Because it only comes around once every four years, and so I believe it should be treated as such. What does this mean, exactly? No one thing in particular, honestly, except that I think it’s the sort of day you should do something fun, surround yourself with people (or one special person) you love, and make the most of the rarest day I can think of.
This year, my bestie and I did just that. What better way to celebrate Leap Day 2012 than by tasting glorious bubbles on a rainy day in the Napa Valley? We couldn’t think of anything else, either, so we headed out to Domaine Carneros to do some sampling. Though Cass had been before, somehow I never had, and I was pleased to see the cozy little tasting room with welcoming decor:
I honestly was quite surprised to discover that they do more than just sparkling wines, and then a bit embarrassed to be a native and not know. Anyway, we’d definitely arrived with bubbles on the brain, and intended to leave much the same, so two sparkling samplers were what we ordered, red wines be damned.
First up, I tasted the Ultra Brut:
which was, as you might expect given its name, extra dry and crisp.
At this point I should tell you that yes, I know the pictures look nearly the same in all the photos I took of the sparklers we tasted. I show them to you all the same because they are different, and because I think sparkling wine is gorgeous, festive, and celebratory, and because I want to. Wine number two was the Vintage Brut Cuvee, which we both tasted:
it’s a classic, perfect glass that would go with anything. Speaking of going with anything, we decided early on that in addition to the almonds with which we were provided, we should opt to select the pairing of a Sparkling Cheese Plate, which consisted of cashews, dried apricots and pears, crostini, and three mind-blowing cheeses (Carmody from Bellwether Farms, Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery, and Midnight Moon from Cypress Grove). Honestly, it was one of the best decisions we made all day:
Our next taste was the Vintage Brut Rose, which was delicate and divine:
For her last taste, Cass chose the Vermeil Demi-Sec, because she has a fondness for wines of a sweeter variety than I often do:
But, as I had with my first taste, she let me try hers as well, and it wasn’t sweet so much as lighter, with a bit of a honey finish, and delightful. It would make an amazing mimosa, though I’d be just as happy to drink it solo. Best of all, we must’ve had some Leap Year god (or goddess) smiling down on us, because we were offered a taste of the exclusive, limited quantity, La Reve, which is another rose. “La Reve” is French for “the dream,” and it didn’t disappoint:
Before we left, our server offered to snap a photo of Cass and I with this large format bottle, which I normally might’ve felt a bit silly doing, but it is “Tourist in My Own Town” after all, right? And anyway, it was my first time there, we’d been thoroughly enjoying ourselves, and we almost never remember to have someone take pictures of us together…
As we were leaving, I realized I’d nearly forgotten to take a picture of the lovely grounds. The rain had cleared up, but it was still overcast…even so, what a beautiful day in a beautiful place:
I have absolutely no idea what next Leap Day will find me doing. Thankfully, I have either four years to come up with something as delicious as this year’s was, or I’ll do like I did last week and just concoct something fantastic on the spot and savor it. In the meantime, there’s a blue moon on my horizon this summer, and then, of course, another New Year’s….cheers!