Monday, May 22, 2006

An afternoon at Tarara

Went to Tarara’s Winds and Wine Festival on Saturday. This was kind of a spur of the moment decision helped along by the nice weather in the afternoon. Tarara is the closest winery to us, so a lot of planning isn’t required to head out there. We arrived around 4 which gave us two hours to watch kites, taste wine, eat some food and enjoy the music and surroundings.

While Tarara puts on a lot of these festivals and their marketing makes them a large presence in Loudoun County, their wines, in my opinion, are decidedly average. For our $12 admission fee, we got their standard tasting (usually $5) which included three whites, four reds and a rosé. Among the white wines, the most appealing to me was their Charval, and almost equal blend of Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc. While I’m not much into white blends, this one is pretty good and makes for a nice, unpretentious deck wine. However, I can find better values for its $12 price tag. The Pinot Gris was my wife’s favorite, but I think there are better ones, even here in Virginia. (Barboursville makes a nice Pinot Grigio.) The less said about their $20 Viognier the better.

Tarara still makes their Wild River Red, which is a unique blend of several varietals with a little bit of blackberry, resulting in a sweet dessert wine, served chilled, that pairs well with chocolate. Their Cameo, the rosé, made from Pinot Noir, is a nice, not-too-sweet blend that would pair nicely with spicy Thai food. Finally, I found their Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon unremarkable, with possibly the latter showing the most promise. Perhaps their reserve tasting (for $5 more, which you had to pay to taste their Chardonnay) would have put their better foot forward, but we opted out.

In other news, Ally has made peace with the moon bounce. Last spring, we went to a church picnic where they had set up a moon bounce, which has become de rigeur at such events. Naturally, we thought she’d love it but in fact she was terrified. We’d never seen her cry from fear as much as she did when she came face to face with that air-filled monstrosity. I think the experience left her with conflicting feelings. Here was this thing she was supposed to enjoy, and she saw other kids playing in it, but she just couldn’t help being scared. Every time we’d see one, we would try to encourage her to go in, to no avail. Okay, everything in its own time.

So, we get to Tarara and there’s the dreaded moon bounce, surrounded by eager kids in their stocking feet waiting their turn to hop around in 1/6 gravity. We took Ally to it, and at first she wanted no part of it, opting for the monkey bars and slide instead. Then, we asked her one more time if she wanted to go in. To our amazement, she said she did. Now, she’s done this before, only to get cold feet when it came time to enter the inflatable bête noir.

Not this time. She eagerly took her shoes off and went right in with five other “little” kids. I think this helped her, not having to share space with “bigger” kids. She had a blast, of course, and one more fear has been conquered.


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