Bears do it. So do ground squirrels and marsupials. Even the western diamondback rattler makes a habit of it.
Hibernating, that is.
And apparently, so do I.
(I, however, was buried in the madness of moving, working, and studying — not the earthy hollow of a winter’s den.)
But now that the Southern California sun seems to have eclipsed the cloudy skies and cold rains, I figured that the arrival of March meant it was high time for me to emerge and pick up my Local Gypsy adventures where I last left them.
And I could think of no more appropriate way to mark this rebirth than by a daytime frolic in the Santa Monica Mountains, with vivacious friends and an abundance of wine.
Did I mention wine?
While Malibu’s wineries may not revel in the international acclaim of Napa Valley or Hollywood’s halo illuminating Santa Barbara (think Sideways), its Los Angeles County terroirs are blessed with microclimate conditions conducive to quality cultivation of this sacred vine.
So, on an unseasonably warm and sunny Saturday afternoon, three lovely ladies who define spectacular — Courtney, Naz and Stephanie — and I piled into my road trip-hungry Subaru Outback. We headed north up the PCH to take in the sparkling Pacific Ocean and soak up some local sacrament.
After thirty or so profoundly colorful minutes trading stories of our latest love interests and dating debacles, professional pursuits and international journeys, we made the strategic call to preemptively fill our bellies with something other than sulfites. We pulled over at Coogie’s Beach Café and ordered a peculiarly random assortment of dishes, including an artichoke and brilliantly crisped sweet potato fries.
And while each of the four of us was equally eager to begin the bacchanalia, trust me when I say that, collectively, we have a magnificent ability to talk…and laugh…and eat…and talk…and laugh…
Before we knew it, 4:45 p.m. had arrived. And the last tasting at Malibu Wines was scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
We raced out into what was now a much cooler late afternoon, screeched out of the parking lot and wound our way up Kanan Dume Road until we hit Mulholland, and eventually Malibu Wines — just as the sun was sinking behind the harvested hills.
I was surprised at how spacious the winery’s tasting grounds were, dotted with ample tables, fountains, as well as vintage wagons, cars and a watertower.
Shivering as I surveyed the entirely outdoor setting, I vowed to come back another day at an earlier hour to take full advantage of a long lazy and wine-hazy day.
In the meantime, there was just one way to warm up.
Friendly, fetching staff assisted us as we blazed through the eight Saddlerock and Semler selections.
Several so-so white and red varietals were followed by three particularly luscious Cabernets, which made us very happy.
And as the sky darkened and the grounds’ lights began to glow, I knew that spring had finally sprung — vibrantly.