Carmageddon is one day away. Do you know where your GPS system is? Those of you living outside the Los Angeles area may not know that our fabled 405 freeway will close between the 10 and 101 freeways for three days starting tomorrow, an event which has caused weeping and gnashing of teeth-against-steering-wheels for the past two months.
Having spent 20-plus years on the highways and byways of this glorious metropolis, I’ve experienced my share of personal Carmageddons. Conclusion: Weekend freeway closures are for wimps. Try driving from Westwood to the South Bay on a weekday, during afternoon rush hour, in the rain, and then tell me about Carmageddon.
To my fellow Angelenas who are thinking the world will end because they’ll have to skip their nail appointment in Studio City, I have five words: Have a Glass of Wine. In fact, have a glass of wine named after a highway. That’s right chicas. Here for your sipping pleasure are five wines named after roads and highways in South America, California and Europe. The antidote to impending doom and gridlock.
1. Camino del Inca 2009 Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
A wine after my own Peruvian-American corazón. The Camino del Inca, as you Spanish-speakers will know, refers to the Inca Road. Once the highway that connected the Inca empire, which spanned as far south as Argentina, Camino del Inca is the name of a vineyard in Salta, Argentina, whose estate vines grow on land that once formed part of the mighty kingdom. A glass of Malbec is the perfect accompaniment to a car-free weekend.
2. D2 2008 Columbia Valley, Washington
Although this wine hails from Washington’s renowned Columbia Valley, it takes its name from the famous D2 highway in Bordeaux, France, which I fondly refer to as Appellation Highway, as it winds through world-renowned appellations such as Médoc and Saint Julien, among others. Sigh…the mere name takes me back to France, circa 2006, when crammed into a tiny Peugeot with my husband, we castle-hopped with a few stops at small tasting rooms in 500 year-old cellars. Oui, le D2. A highway I’d volunteer to be Carmegeddoned on any day.
3. Ruta 22 Reserve 2009 Malbec, Patagonia, Argentina
The Ruta 22 is the highway that runs east-west across Argentina about halfway between the Mendoza region and the town of Bariloche. Survive Carmageddon by throwing a gaucho-themed parrillada. A juicy, grilled steak will pair wonderfully with the firm tannins in this wine. Not a meat-eater? Pour yourself a glass and enjoy it with a cheese plate and olives. Ponchos optional!
4. Highway 12 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County
If you’d planned ahead, you could have spent Carmageddon on California State Route 12, the highway that travels east-west through Sonoma County. Highway 12 is dotted with world-class wineries and surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery in Northern California. Notice how I’ve selected wines that go swimmingly with casual, summer foods. Hey, if you’re not going to be stuck in traffic, you might as well get outside and actually use your backyard or rooftop deck.
5. Ramal Road 2007 Pinot Noir Carneros, Sonoma County
Smack dab in the heart of Sonoma, Ramal Road is home to some world-class wineries and exactly 398 miles north of Carmageddon ground zero. My reason for choosing this wine, besides the fact that it’s named after a road? It’s a five-minute drive on surface streets to a wine retailer that sells it. 405? We don’t need no stinkin’ 405!
El disclaimer: Señorita Vino does not – repeat – does not, advocate drinking alcohol and driving on highways or any other surface, closed or not. The goal here is to enjoy a full weekend of not having to get in your car but instead chill at home with your hombre and amigas.