Monday, March 30, 2015

No Sleep Blues

My hat is off to those of you who claim you can get by on four hours of sleep.

Not me. I'm a nine hours of sleep per night type, although I'll make do with eight when necessary. I don't toss and turn as a rule and I'm a stranger to insomnia.

But damned if I didn't wake up at 6 a.m. and never get back to sleep this morning. Later in the day, when I told someone I'd gotten up at 6, the response was an incredulous, "A.M.?"

I tried taking a nap mid-day between appointments and even then, my body was having none of it. There was nothing else to do but carry on fatigued.

So after interviewing a Parisian-born artist, I said yes to being a passenger for a drive to downtown Opal and Granite Heights Winery. And, just for the record, they have no granite to speak of. Quartz, yes, flint, plenty, but no actual granite.


The owners were an interesting couple who grow grapes and make wine in their spare time. He's a patent attorney and the winemaker when he's not doing lawyerly things. She runs the tasting room and the vineyards.

What was refreshing about them is that they're not doing it for their livelihood, which allows them to make decisions based on their beliefs and not the almighty dollar.

Consequently, no weddings or events. Very few festivals. No grand tasting room for photo ops and bachelorette parties.

In other words, smart people passionate about wine growing and making.

Their tasting room was in an old white clapboard house with large windows with views of the vineyards. We tasted through the available wines listening to them tell us about the learning curve on making wine.

The winemaker was an unabashed fan of Petit Manseng, singing the praises of the grape, particularly with salty foods. He'd even held a tailgate party to serve chips, barbecue and turkey with gravy to prove how well it paired with salt.

Sipping the beauty while noshing on cheese and crackers was just further proof while we listened to the winemaker describe their new wind machines, designed to keep cold air moving off grapes on nights when the temperature drops precipitously low.

After procuring a bottle of the Petit Manseng as well as one of humility 2010 (I love the lower case "h"), an appealing red blend, we bade the owners farewell.

Time for an early supper at Black Bear Bistro in Warrenton. The restaurant itself was a warren of rooms, each leading to another, down stairs, past three separate bars, through doors until we began to feel like we were in a carnival fun house. To add to the oddness, different music played in each room.

The entertaining host - a theater major I'd wager - led us to a room with stone walls, cheesy paneling, a black ceiling and a huge fireplace with Christmas decorations still on the mantel. We were the sole occupants.

As it turned out, it was Macaroni Monday, no doubt a local favorite, but we decided to pass. The menu was written like a story with blurbs between menu items explaining that the chef had gone to the vegetable patch (cue salad listings) or going upscale (steak on the salad). Menu humor.

My companion couldn't resist beef stroganoff since it rarely shows up at restaurants. The beef may not have been as tender as some like it, but I also noticed the bowl was emptied shortly, including the dollop of sour cream it arrived with.

I admit to a pedestrian choice of chicken salad but in my defense, my brain was also operating at 40 30 20% power after so little sleep and pointing to the first thing on the sandwich menu was easy.

As we ate, the floor above us reverberated as if they were having a dance party upstairs (they weren't), adding to the cacophony of competing music stations.

Or maybe the Karma fairies were trying to keep me awake.

I'm proud to say I got through the drive home without nodding off, but part of that was taking in the splendor of the sunset as we made our way away from the mountains.

But if I'd been asked to summon proper nouns or recall dates, it could have gotten embarrassing. As it was, I just stayed quiet for the most part.

To those who know me, that may be as noteworthy as my brief night of sleep. To sleep, perchance zzzzz....

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