The Image Goddess

Wine (and related photos)

The Bay area is blessed with many things: among them great weather, geographically dramatic and fairly abundant open spaces, friendly people (well, except sometimes when you encounter them behind the wheel), relatively progressive politics, and two major wine-producing regions in Napa and Sonoma counties. Though the Goddess's taste buds tend to prefer wines from southern France (e.g. the Rhône Valley, the Languedoc, Madiran, Cahors and Bordeau) - and let's not forget the pleasant surprises coming out of Chile and Argentina these days - she does appreciate the beauty of the local vineyards and their oft-successful efforts toward excellence. (Though I must add that most could benefit from going a little easier on the oak!)

A number of the photographs on this page were taken during an August 1999 tour of several Napa Valley wineries, including most notably Joseph Phelps, which makes good Rhône-style reds here in California (but don't show up for a tasting without a reservation); and Prager, a tiny winery which makes the best cabernet and the most fabulous and unusual ports the Goddess has ever tasted. The latter is well worth the visit, for you won't find Prager wines for sale elsewhere. Other images include the Clos du Val winery, also in Napa, and grape bunches & sunflowers on the Prager property.

Many of the below photographs were also taken during our August-September 1999 visit to southwest France and its many winemaking regions (Madiran and Cahors in particular). We were really given the royal treatment in Madiran; it seems they don't get many Americans at their wineries. Tant mieux! In between swirling, sniffing and swilling, the Goddess snapped quite a few shots of the striking and in most cases ancient vineyards she visited with her most excellent minion, and as well of the many varietal grappes (that's French for bunches o' grapes) she encountered growing in various parts of southwest France. She was also taken with the sweet wine - a.k.a. vin moelleux - local to Auch, which she was moved to photograph at the Château de Bonas flanked by local fruit and flowers.

See if you can discern the photos taken in California from those taken in France - bonne chance!

dmnlagrezette wineglasshandcem napagrapes1 napagardenchimneyrock
madiranvinescape bonasgrappes josephelps1
napabarrels theltlfountsm287 caveavinsmadiran
bonasgrappeszoom madiranvignedeliberte madiranflrwagn
dmnlagrezettestatue dmnlagrezettechateau napasunflower
vinesoverheadconc2 grapesleafprager madiranwinepress
closduval1 vineslivermoreroad vinesoverheadconc
napapress bonaswinepear madiranwinepress
wentebarrels grappetannat mikuwentebarrels
winerycafetables closduval2 bonaswinepear2

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All images copyright Cynthia Mitchel 2003