My father turned 70 years old today, and tonight I took him — as well as my mom, my wife, and our son, out for dinner. He ordered a terrific steak at Gorat’s here in Omaha, and he paired it with a gin and tonic. I was ready for that, and hey, at 70, you do what you want. When he had his first heart attack, almost thirty years ago, his doctor told him to alter his diet. He did so by ceasing to put tonic in his gin for a while. This is one of my favorite stories about him, bordering on mythology, and to an extent I’ve modeled my own life after that. I have always admired people who live life on their own terms.
Dad was born in a tiny ranch house in the Sandhills of Nebraska, a house we still own, though at the time it had no plumbing and no electricity. Over time he became a businessman, known for his candor, generosity, and hard work; he’s the first store owner I ever knew who gave all of his employees health insurance long before any President mandated it, simply because he knew it was the right thing to do. We haven’t always seen eye to eye on things, and we still don’t, but I’ve learned a lot from my dad over the years, and I certainly admire him.
Tonight for his birthday, Sonja and I gave my dad a card, two bottles of gin, and a manila folder that contained information about the condo that we rented for the family for a week on a beach in Florida. He’s drinking the gin now and looking at the condo on Google Maps, but for my part, well, I never really liked gin, so I opened up a bottle of Cab to drink while together we start to plan the family vacation.
I’ve selected a Napa Cab from Coombsville. Coombsville may be all the rage right now, but the area has been part of the Napa viticultural scene even longer than my dad has been around. The vineyards that Jon Emmerich of Silverado Vineyards uses to craft GEO are located there, and are more than a hundred years old. I didn’t have to get anywhere near the glass, much less swirl, to be enticed by the richness of the powerful and wafting nose. The wine itself is a sensation upon the palate, perhaps most remarkable in that it lacks nothing, and is among the most easy-drinking Napa Cabs I have encountered. Dark to the point of blackness in the glass, I get flavors of black cherry and black currant, baking spice, hints of vanilla, and the delicate leather of a lady’s glove. I’ve come to be a huge fan of Jon’s wines over the last six months or so, and this one only reinforces my appreciation for his craft.
Though young, the 2013 GEO from Silverado Vineyards drinks beautifully right now, yet is sure to cellar well for decades more to come. (I had the chance to try one of Jon’s older Cabs a while back, a 2001 if I recall offhand, and I can attest to how beautifully it had aged.) This is a superb wine, and I recommend it very highly. The last time I tasted it, I was so impressed that I took it in to Spruce in San Francisco to share with a somm I know there. This time, it’s pairing beautifully with a man I love, getting a bit older, but still ornery and stubborn and, I hope, sure to cellar well for decades more to come. Happy birthday, Dad!