lulu, hillsider companion

lulu, hillsider companion

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Caldwell and Jorgeson on El Cap, New Clairvaux's Albarino, and preparing to head for the coast for a few days

Let's start with something uplifting this time: Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's incredible attack on El Capitan's Dawn Wall, which is now in its 19th day. Don't know how many of you might be following this adventure, but even if you've never given rock climbing or mountaineering a second thought you can hardly have missed the national (and international) coverage that this amazing climb is generating. Caldwell, from Estes Park, Colorado, and Jorgeson, from Santa Rosa, California, are attempting a free climb of Yosemite's El Capitan's "Dawn Wall", a 3000 ft. more-or-less sheer granite face, meaning they are using nothing except their own hands and feet in the attempt, employing ropes only as lifelines in case of a fall, of which there have been a few. This is a feat that has never been accomplished, and one which many, if not most in the climbing community believed never would. Whether it will is still in some doubt, but the likelihood is growing much stronger now that Kevin has regrouped, finally overcome the brutal and dangerous pitch 15 after nearly a week's delay in trying to get past the treacherous area, and caught up to Tommy. Both climbers are now pushing for a summit within the next day or so, or so it appears. We wish them the very best of luck, and hope to see a successful summit this week. If you would like to see more in-depth reporting, and from a guy who has serious climbing credentials of his own, as well as some phenomenal photos of the climb in progress, go to Tom Evans's website: just google El Cap Reports. You'll be hooked...

We've written recently about several Norcal wines that have caught our attention, and we have mentioned New Clairvaux's barbera and their albarino, as well. We recently had a bottle of their viognier, believing that, based on the quality of the barbera and albarino, it was also likely to be a well-made and varietally true wine, and so it was. The viognier is fresh, fruity, forward, and just slightly firm toward the finish, a sign that it might take another year in bottle and develop some complexity. However, that being said, and also acknowledging I like the viognier a little more stylistically, I have to say that I believe that New Clairvaux has a potential gamebreaker in its albarino; I like that wine a lot, and I like it more every time I have it. Aimee Sunseri, New Clairvaux's winemaker, apparently has a feel for the grape, and she does a remarkable job with it. Having had the opportunity to enjoy several bottles by now, and to get responses from friends whose palates I respect, as well, I feel very comfortable recommending it highly; it's very versatile as a wine list addition, because it is equally enjoyable as a cocktail or aperitif wine as it is serviceable with many menu items in most restaurants. Try it; you'll be glad...

And, happy to say, we've convinced ourselves that it's time to head for the coast for a few days of recoup and regroup. I intend to email our friends in the Emerald Forest tomorrow to reserve a cabin in the redwoods for a couple of tired-out north-valley types to hide out in for a while, drink some good wine, eat some great seafood, and just hike, read, and watch the ocean roll in. It makes life seem sweeter.

I'm out for a few days. Take care.   

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