Let's talk about how much I love the Wild West.
My first interaction with this section of the USA was purely educational, taking place in Mr. Hallock's AP US history class as we went over Manifest Destiny, the Dust Bowl, and the Homestead Acts. I happen to know that the Wild West is extremely romanticized, as also pointed out by such masterpieces such as All the Pretty Horses and One Million Ways to Die In The West. (That mustache song, though...!)
Though my knowledge of the truth behind the west has increased, I can't stop admiring the way the tumbleweeds dance like fairies across the earth or how the way the mountains turn red just before sunset. The breathtaking backdrop is one just one of the reasons why I watch and re-watch Thelma and Louise, Smoke Signals, and Fievel Goes West over and over and over. It epitomizes adventure and the search for one's self! We can all relate!
So naturally, when I heard that the Shelter Social Club was transforming an old motel into the Western themed "Alamo", I started pondering a trip up to Los Alamos. When I got the invitation for their "Say Hi" event, and learned that the joint had a wine tasting room on site, I made like Rosamund Pike in a David Fincher movie.
Los Alamos is a tiny town, with the main square comprising of one funky street that stretches into the horizon like a big, black fruit roll-up. The Alamo sits directly off the road in a giant "U" of hotel rooms. The rooms themselves are bare-bones and beautiful, just as the cowboys would have wanted them. Along the white walls are black and white drawings of farm animals and the floors are layered with cow-hide rugs. The bathrooms have clawfoot tubs, and are perfect for bathing your babes.
In the center of the U sits Municipal Winemakers, a tiny shack with open windows and a popcorn machine. Wine tasters can sample Muni's selection, and then take a glass outside to lounge in the grass, enjoy some live music, or watch their children play on the swing. Or YOU can play on the swing. Do whatever; that's definitely the vibe of this joint. And if you don't want the popcorn or tortilla chips offered as snacks inside, you can quickly dash over to the market next store and grab some beef jerky//golden oreos//dill pickle chips or WHATEVER your sunny day snack might be!
I was alone, but not for long. After my first glass of Pale Pink, I made friends with Santa Barbara locals, some of the visiting artists, and Tommy, one of the band members who offered me up some of his mason jar n' tequila. We sat in the sun and watched women bob their bodies with babies on their hips. Blonde ladies in long dresses swirled in the grass and a small child wore a cape. The husbands chased their kids while overhead-free folk such as myself did nothing but watch and listen. I didn't know that Santa Barbara had its own genre of hipsters, but they definitely do and I'm going to steal all of their outfit ideas!
What I drank: Muni's Pale Pink Rose. It's made from hand-picked Grenache (40%), Syrah (22%), Cinsault (17%), Counoise (12%), Carignane (5%) and Mourvedere (4%) grapes.
Where it came from: Santa Barbara, 2015! It was made in the fourth consecutive year of a terrible drought (another forgotten element in the romanticized west). This means that the harvest was early and low yielding. The drought is sad for the earth but great for creating an intensely concentrated fruit.
After they were picked, the delicate little grape-ies were wrapped in a freshly-laundered blanket and serenaded with Iron and Wine. Okay, actually they were destemmed, crushed, and soaked (skins on) for four hours, but the process was just as gentle as the one I jokingly mentioned. And in the last step, the little guys were fermented in oak barrels, which is essentially like an antique crib for wines anyway. I'm sure that was quite cozy.
What it tasted like: On the nose this wine is a spiced spring cobbler made by the sexy hippie who lives next door: vivid with scents of nutmeg, cardamom, strawberry, and sandalwood. The strawberries follow you into the mouth, dancing in that tipsy fashion as if they too were on their second glass. Then comes a brief tartness with hints of citrus and dried herbs, all finished off with bright minerality.
Pale Pink is flirty and intriguing, like a first girlfriend who is invited to your family's lakehouse but is still required to sleep in a separate bedroom. It is perfect for outdoor gatherings, music festivals, and BBQ salmon. If you choose to enjoy it in the morning (YOU'RE A ROCKSTAR AND INVITE ME), it's a lovely lil brunch wine, and would pair nicely with quiche or chilled fruits.
Today's moral: Cowboys are cool and still look badass when they drink rose.