Pollock & Vaughn in Carneros
There is no time of year better than this moment (mid to late October) when the vineyardlands of California are more beautiful. What makes them so compelling right now is a rich combination of order and chaos.
Driving though Carneros today I witnessed that annual display of orderly rows of vines cascading up and down knolls and hills all painted by a chaotic wash of greens, yellows and the occasional disease-inspired red leaves.
It is nothing less than stunning.
Let’s face it, summer in the vineyards is somewhat monotonous from an aesthetic perspective: long rows of near identically green colored vines. Winter, while more interesting in the vineyards with the display of naked vines and their undercarriage exposed, still is not up to duplicating the torrent of beauty this small window in October brings on.
This time of year might be my favorite. I’m also partial to Spring because it delivers both baseball and a fitting climate for the resumption of Rose consumption. But in wine country, Spring can’t match fall for the explosion of beauty that seems to arrive so all-of-a-sudden.
The difference between this season’s vineyard displays and those we find in the late spring to early fall months always strikes me as the difference between Pollock’s most famous works and those of the monochromatic modern artists that emerged in the late 19th century and became most rampant in the early part of the 20th century.
If your inclination is toward music, think jazz vs. Broadway musicals. Digging down further, think Oscar Peterson vs. Bernadette Peters or Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble vs. Hall & Oates.
Pick your comparison. You get the idea. Better yet, if you are in the region of Northern California get out on the road right now and find a wine valley filled with hills, knolls and moderate to older vineyards. You’ll be inspired.