Last week was spring break for the students, so I spent a few days visiting beautiful Sonoma County to see my old mentor and visit my old non-profit.
My favorite doctors and dentists were busy at work last Tuesday, so I had the chance to drop in, observe a few cases, and deliver the good news. When I was still at this non-profit, I felt like I was always walking among giants - people who were brilliant, well-established in their current careers, and seem to have everything in order in life. The doctors and dentists I worked with came from big-name universities in undergrad and grad - Brown, MIT, Columbia, Yale, etc (one of them might have been a Harvard grad...but I can't remember). I felt so small and insignificant. That feeling probably won't go away, ever. There's always someone better and smarter.
I stayed with my mentor and her husband, who live in a fairly nice part of town and own a gorgeous house. Their house makes a U shape and the courtyard overlooks a public grassy area with a little creek. It's currently frog-breeding season (apparently), so there are a bunch of little tadpoles swimming around the creek. I woke up every morning (armed with claritin) to see this:
My only regret is that I did not take pictures of the vineyards in the autumn. A lot of the vineyards in Sonoma County are grown in fields of rolling hills or in pockets of nearby mini-mountains that turn different shades of red, orange and yellow in the autumn.
I visited two local wineries and picked up a bottle of 2011 Magnolia Lane Sauvignon Blanc by Kunde (fruity and refreshing) and received a bottle of 2010 Durrell Vineyard Pinot Noir by Chateau St. Jean as a gift. The bottle was $55 and boy, do I feel guilty. It was really delicious though. My mentor told me to share it with my med school friends, but it's so delicious I don't want to share. Well, we'll see what my friends are like when I get there. I'll share it with a good friend. The server at the Kunde Estate was awesome. He talked a little bit about his own experiences brewing beer, ciders and wine. I learned about the difference between using oak and steel barrels to age wine and about the acidity and alcohol content in white wines.
People always rave about Napa County wines, but I'm pretty happy with Sonoma County vineyards. The customer service and friendliness is much better, in my opinion.
My mentor and her husband are Italian, so they also had me try Fernet-Branca. The taste wasn't as fearsome as they made it out to be - surprisingly smooth with a hint of peppermint - but you could definitely feel the liquor going down.
Part of me wishes I stayed longer, but that's alright. I'm planning to go back in June.