Archive for August, 2011

For those of you unfamiliar with the world of R/C flying, a pattern competition is a graceful display of pilot skill where predefined sequences of difficult aerobatic maneuvers are flown using two-meter long radio controlled airplanes weighing under 11 pounds. Maneuvers are objectively judged by scrutinizing the geometry and scored accordingly.

This contest was some of the first flying I’ve done in more than two years. It was also some of the best flying I have ever done, and it felt wonderful to get back into the sport. The first day was gusty with winds out of the NNW at 15 knots. Approaches into the airfield were difficult as the wind gradient was steep and trees were causing a great deal of mechanical turbulence. The second day was calm and uneventful. It was nice to catch up with old friends from out of town. Tom Gilkey and I had some great conversation between judging the Advanced class. Masters pilots Mark Woytassek and Vincente Bortone gave me some great constructive criticism and helped me perfect the top hat maneuver with 1/4 rolls, as they literally wrote the book on it.


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Kenwood Vineyards was founded in 1970 on what was the Pagani Brothers Winery. The estate sits on a twenty-two acre vineyard, but Kenwood also sources grapes from dozens of vineyards in Sonoma Valley. The 2009 growing season began with a dry spring followed by a mild summer, which lowered yields but produced good grapes.

The Kenwood Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has a smoky nose of oak and a hint of vanilla. It opens with dried berries, cigar box, spice, and a whisper of mineral flavors on the palate. Rounded tannins give way to a modest herbal finish. This red is fairly well balanced, but slightly high in acidity with a medium body. It’s an easy drinking wine that would pair well with a variety of cuisine.

-86 points

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