Monday, October 29, 2012

Ashland for Plays, Food, and Wine

We made a short trip down to Oregon's mecca for theater, food, and more and more, wine. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has been growing and changing under the direction of Bill Rauch and we have enjoyed watching the transition. We try to see at least 7 plays a year and our last three of the season were both dynamic, quirky, and one was just odd.
We stayed at the Winchester Inn two blocks from the theaters Saturday afternoon we started with and order for a bottle of Torii Mor's 09 Dundee Hills Select Pinot Noir  to be sent to our room for apres play, remembering late night in Ashland..., then we strolled down to the shoe store, Village Shoes, and scored a pair for Linda and a new set of John Fluevog's for me. Next, a stop at Liquid Assets for a flight of reds for Linda and whites for me. We both went off the plantation for some exploration. Linda did a flight that included a Ben Marco '10 Malbec, a David Bruce '10 Petite Syrah,(thank God his wine is better than his web site) and the '10 Ken Wright Pinot Noir (her fav). My whites were the Wente '10 Chardonnay, the Trium '11 Viognier, and the Gruet Blanc de Noir. I was most surprised by the Viognier! It was bone dry and had few of the fruity pears and associated tastes I am used to. Lovely in a very different way. Great match to Asian foods. While sipping we saw a new set of photos by Dan Elster and bought one! Of course this had nothing to do with our second glass of our favorites.
We strolled over to Sesame for a great meal of Thai food and we were treated to "just in time for the play" service. We walked up to the New Theater for "Party People", an exploration of the then and now of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords. Amazing play! Moving and exciting, and controversial enough that a few old white guys fled during the first act. They missed not only the point but also the dramatic ending.
 When we got back to the Inn we poured a glass of the wonderful Pinot Noir from Torii Mor and sipped it while discussing the play. I really enjoy their wines. They have mastered the art of the elegant and the '09 is no exception.
The next morning we arose early for a breakfast down stairs in the main dining room. Very elegant and refined, and they have great Latte'. We spent most of the day window shopping and again had a small lunch at Sesame before our first play, "All the Way". The reference of course is to LBJ's slogan All the Way with LBJ, and it was the second best play I have seen in years, the first being Equivocation, truly the finest work I have seen performed by any ensemble, anywhere, ever!
We had a wonderful dinner at Amuse and we split a half bottle of Belle Pente '08 Pinot noir. I have had this one a few times and loved the that it had some elegance and well balanced, with nice acidity  with complex aromas of mint, red berry, and smoke. Now it has taken a few steps back and is softer and more subtle, setting very well with the hanger steak and roasted root veggies I had, and also with Linda's Gnocchi.
Then...then, we saw, how should I phrase this? A play or three, all at once, all on top, stack up only to fall crashing, over and over, and over, melding and separating, blending and being blender-ed, then shaken and thrown back on to the stage. I do not recommend this play though I did find a few moments of pleasure wound up in it. Media, Macbeth, and Cinderella have as much in common and , well, imagine watching A fish Called Wanda, The Odd Couple, and The Matrix all at once. You do the math. My first inquisition upon leaving the Bowmer was "Why?"
We finished our bottle of Torii Mor in the room and I sat out on the balconey watching the full moon and stars.
In the morning  it was a slow trip north with a stop for  a latte' and to enjoy the amazing colors of fall.

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