“In my mind, I’m gone to Carolina… yes I’m gone to Carolina in my mind.” My father used to play this classic James Taylor song, amongst others, while he did the dishes after dinner. I would lay awake in the loft over the kitchen in my sleeping bag and listen. Sometimes he’d whistle. I’ve never been able to whistle. But while he couldn’t teach me to whistle, my dad taught me other things. Of tremendous importance to this particular story, he taught me to prioritize, and while we’ve often had different priorities in our lives, it’s a skill I’ve always been thankful for.
This weekend had been all about my son, Titus. While “momma” had a get-together Saturday morning, Titus and I paid a long overdue visit to the Joslyn Art Museum, followed by a stop at El Mejor, my favorite bakery in Omaha, where we bought pastries to take to several of my students who were volunteering up at school. Titus and I, of course, also shared a pastry. Sunday was more of the same. Our plans to visit the Durham in the morning were thwarted by their clearly posted hours of operation, so we struck out for the zoo, and Titus, momma and I spent a morning between the aquarium and the desert dome before heading back towards home, stopping at Loui M’s on the way for a terrific burger and fries. And all the while, in the back of my mind, I knew that later on, the Tarheels would square off with Kentucky, a matchup for which I was very excited.
Titus went down for his nap and I, daddy, went for a 9-mile run. Then I came home and showered and prepared to watch the game. It was a rough one for both teams in the first half, with clumsy basketball, missed shots, and silly fouls being the general themes by which the story was being written. Of course, no doubt, Calipari and Williams would each right their proverbial ships at halftime. I was enthralled and ready for the second half, when a little voice, not so much inside my head but next to it, asked “Weren’t you going to make dinner?”
My wife has many terrific qualities. Timing has never been one of them. Yes, I had promised to make dinner, hadn’t I? Could it wait until after the game? Not if I wanted my son to go to bed at a reasonable hour. And so, with slight reluctance, I left Titus and mommy to watch the rest of the game while I went upstairs for the second half to make dinner. On my way, I grabbed this bottle of wine.
It had been a great day, and I wasn’t going to let this ruin my night. I put on James Taylor’s greatest hits in the background, popped the cork, and got to work. In the kitchen with three burners blazing, two cutting boards and four knives at the ready, I went to town on a vegetable medley that would eventually be a beautiful companion for the chicken sausages I was making. And a beautiful companion to the experience of cooking dinner was this wine.
Undeniably young yet seemingly ready to drink, the Q Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 offered so much more than I had expected, given its very low cost of around $18 per bottle. On the nose, blackberry, cinnamon, and almost aggressive alcohol, while on the palate a richness and full body laced in dark cherries, oak, more cinnamon, vanilla, mild spices, raspberry, red currants, and more. The deep ruby hue is clean, the firm yet gentle structure undeniable. For the price, this wine offers a tremendous QPR, easily one of the better I’ve seen lately under $20. It was a brilliant companion for cooking, later for dinner, and eventually for sipping at while I read The Lorax and several other books to Titus before bed. So I missed the second half of the UNC game? * My bracket is busted anyway. And I got to make dinner for my family. Like my father taught me, you gotta prioritize.
* Didn’t want to disrupt the story here with a technicality, but with 16 seconds to go, I did run downstairs to my man cave to watch the very end of the game, where UK’s Monk hit a three to tie it up, only for the Tarheels’ Maye to hit a deep 2-pointer to win it. Thank you, honey. I appreciate you letting me see that. Go ‘Heels!