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Yountville Daze

By M.L. Hilton

(YOUNTVILLE, CA) -- The Indian summer has been holding, and holding me in its spell. Sunday’s temperatures after a short spate of rain jumped to the 80’s. I briefly saw my vintner neighbor as he was watering my roses – roses he actually planted (that’s another story). He said he is looking down the barrel of several more weeks of harvest and that they were only a quarter picked by Sunday. The brief rain which to me smelled so fresh the next day, gave him a bit of a scare.

I dispatched household duties, okay I avoided them, and wandered to Yountville for afternoon repast. My favorite Sunday breakfast place is Sally Gordon’s café. Strong morning coffee laced heavily with cream, a big newspaper and something wonderful to eat while crowded out on the small porch if possible, with bicyclists, dogs, and other lazy bones like me.

I lucked out on a patio spot this weekend, mostly because I arrived so late in the day. I ordered that down home food favorite done winecountry-style: grilled cheese sandwich and potato salad. Of course, this was a three cheese with garden fresh tomatoes (yellow) on artisan bread and a very light and delicious potato salad – meaning hardly a hint of mayo. I was served a Luna Pinot Grigio laced with D’Arvo Raspberry syrup and read and ate until I became drowsy and the sun rolled down my back with the small beads of perspiration.

Sally wants to sell and I am worried that Gordon’s will go the way of that other great Yountville cafe, the Diner. Once a thriving breakfast place with always a huge wait (worth it) now turned into another wine tasting bar with oh-so-chic offerings. Probably fabulous, but just not the same.

My typical stop after Gordon’s is the Pioneer cemetery just up the street from the café. Sunday, I only paused briefly to read the ancient headstones before wandering down Yount Mill Road. It may seem a bit macabre, but it reminds me that my days are not so hard, nor my aging so fragile, and that healthy babies are a blessing no matter what era you live in.

Only an occasional car spoiled the hot sounds of the day – the sporadic bird call, the rustling of leaves caused by lizards and other denizens of the underbrush, insects floating in spinning clouds above the vineyards which still linger in a mysterious green cloak. There are spots of autumnal color but they are largely still at bay.

Perhaps I will rue the short season on the slopes this year, but for today a glass of wine, a messy sandwich, an old graveyard, and a hot walk down a vineyard lane are enough.

Gordon's Cafe & Wine Bar, 6770 Washington Street, Yountville, CA 94599 tel. +1 707.944.8246
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