“One of those days.” Napa Cellars Merlot 2014

By the time I got home from the class I taught last night, it was 11:15pm, and soon after little Zooey was crying in her crib. I got to the gym with about four hours of sleep under my belt this morning, driven by a combination of enthusiasm for life and pre workout go-juice. I lifted, chatted with the guys, and got my happy self to school in time to prepare to teach for the day. I taught, had a pretty good day with kids, a few fun exchanges with colleagues, and a few unpleasant email exchanges (in which I explained to one of my superiors why they were obviously wrong to want what they wanted) and headed off to practice, where I ran and enjoyed the company of people who enjoyed being where they were.

Tonight I got home and was greeted by my son, seated at a stool in the kitchen like a big boy, his mother cooking chicken, his sister cooing softly to herself nearby. “Get a glass of wine,” my wife told me. “I want to show you something.” I grabbed a bottle I was excited about and sat down to be presented with an album from the last year, our fourth “Gudgel Family Album” from as many years of marriage, going on five. Scrolling through, I found images of our family that made me smile and reminisce, remember, and think. Today was one of those days, a busy day, a hectic one, slowed down when I got home by the abundant blessings of my life.

As I scrolled through the album with Titus by my side, I sipped at this beautiful wine. The 2014 Napa Cellars Merlot is really impressive. The QPR on this label have always been killer, but a Merlot with this sort of age-worthy character is something that isn’t easy to find. Terrifically structured, the tannins coat the mouth but, after a decant, mellow to allow the wine to take on the silky, velvety texture for which we love this varietal. Robust, I get the expected blueberry and black cherry flavors, along with a hint of that ever-present vanilla that seems to find its way into every high quality Merlot I try. Hints of cocoa on the finish complete the experience.

Yesterday, I bought a magnum of 1982 Groth Merlot that I was assured had good provenance. I only hope it has aged as well as this 2014 from Napa Cellars is bound to do. As we sat in the kitchen this evening eating dinner,  I poured Sonja a glass and reminded her that we visited their tasting room on our honeymoon. “I know,” she told me, smiling.

After dinner, we took a walk, then put our kids to bed. Checking my email, two people who are special to me had reached out to tell me about struggles in life. I wrote back, empathizing, encouraging, and reminding them that we all struggle, me especially, me today, and telling them that things may improve tomorrow.  My hope for them both is that things improve, as I suspect they will, and that their tomorrow may be as satisfying as my today has been.

The last of the sun peeks over rooftops afar as I sit typing this in my office, sipping at the last of a truly delightful bottle of Merlot. Today was just one of those days. A day full of difficulty, triumphs, failures, struggles, relaxation, work, play and everything else that makes life so wonderful. It was a day of good things, and bad. A day of human interaction. A day made better by wine.




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