A wine for every elevation; the scenery and the weather: toast your visit to a national wonder with a wine that matches.
Water snaking over sheer granite walls--it gets hot in August in this crown jewel of parks. Crisp and citrusy, Sauvignon Blancs are refreshing and often carry a minerally limestone edge that echoes the scenes of the day.
CHARLES KRUG 2010 (St. Helena, Napa Valley; $18). Enough refreshing time and bright peach to shed trail fatigue; pear, melon, and delicate white blossoms to relax into the night.
EHLERS 2010 (st) Helena, Napa Valley; $28). River water over limestone, with a crisp gamut of citrus, fresh herbs, Asian pear, and a whiff of jasmine.
RUSACK 2010 (Santa Ynez Valley; $17). Wet granite right in your glass, plus crisp lemon-lime, a touch of stone fruit, and pithy pink grapefruit zest.
Pair Olympic Peninsula with Pinot Noir
In the mossy rain forest that is the western Olympic Peninsula, modern myths of vampires persist. A fitting match is Pinot Noir. Look to the also-damp Willamette Valley in Oregon for earthy versions that give up evocative layers of forest floor and bewitching spices.
ELK COVE 2008 (Willamette Valley; $29). Underbrush and spice lead to dark, juicy cherries, with lively orange peel on the end. SOTER 2009 "NORTH VALLEY" (Willamette Valley; $30). Gentle loaminess conjures a spongy Layer of downed leaves; exotic cloves and star anise, black tea, dried cranberries, and violets capture mystery.
STOLLER 2007 "SV ESTATE" (Dundee Hills; $40). A nose of black truffles in earth gives way to layers of lush cherries and spice.
Pair Grand Canyon with Petite Sirah
When the cliff drops 6,000 feet below you, vastness shifts from theory to reality. Come the end of the day, with a steak over the coals, you need a glass just as big: Petite Sirah. Most outsize red of all, "Pets" harbors massive tannins, but the good ones also show deep, dark fruit, espresso, and violets.
DASHE 2008 TODO BROTHERS RANCH (Alexander Valley; $35). Dusty cocoa and brown sugar coat jammy berries and cherries seasoned with dried herbs, with enough chewy tannins to stand up to the place.
QUIXOTE 2008 (Stags' Leap Ranch, Napa Valley; $30). Since you've skipped the pricey lodge room, this should be your splurge. As epic a wine as I've tasted--inky and deeply berried, with alluring layers of chocolate, espresso, and savory herbs. Tannins the size of the earthen walls in front of you, but wrapped in velvet.
VINA ROBLES 2008 "JARDINE "(Paso Robles; $26). Peppery, herbal aromas give way to a lush rush of multicolored berries and a touch of chocolate.
BY SARA SCHNEIDER | PHOTOGRAPHS BY JEFFERY CROSS
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|Date:||Aug 1, 2011|
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