“We need to talk.” The Week in Wine, August 21-27, 2017

My first full week of teaching down, I am reminded of how much stamina is required to teach all day long. I easily hit 10,000 steps on my Garmin by noon most days, and 25K by the end of the day, with XC practice under my belt. Come Friday night, I was so exhausted that I fell asleep in the living room, holding a glass of wine, our dinner guests and my wife still in the room, chatting!

Maybe its the Midwesterner in me, or maybe its something else, but I like working hard. I feel as if I accomplished a lot this week, and while my 197 high school and 34 college students are sure to offer me as much opportunity to work hard as I could ever ask for, I’m looking forward to the challenge. I find meaning in my work, and at the end of a long day, I feel as if I deserve the wine I enjoy. This week, I enjoyed some really special ones. Here are just a few of the very best:

August 21-27, 2017


Napa Cellars is a place that Sonja and I visited on our honeymoon. The combination of quality and value make them hard to beat. This Merlot was a true “Suck it, Sideways” take on the varietal, a velvety monster with terrific structure and a beautiful profile of deep purple fruits and faint vanilla. We loved it.


Chateau d’Angles is my new favorite French producer, hailing from the south. A world-class winemaker and wonderful fruit made this G-S-M southern Rhone blend an intense, diverse, exciting wine. Cigar box, leather, and dry red fruits abound. I shared it with our guests on Friday night… until I fell asleep!


A stunner, this 2013 wine is the brain/love-child of oenologist Michel Rolland and my friend, winemaker Jean Hoefliger. An amazing wine, impeccably balanced favoring fruit for its young age, it is food friendly yet stands alone. Sonja and I shared a glass, and I look forward to having another soon.


The Debate wines are also the product of Jean Hoefliger, and are among the best wines I have ever had, full stop. Three single-vineyard 100% varietal Cabs, they come from three of the most storied vineyards in Napa, Dr. Crane, To Kalon, and Missouri Hopper, and are widely hailed in the wine world as masterpieces. Jean told me once that the best wine he’ll ever make will be “the one I make next year,” because “it has a chance to be perfect,” but having tasted through the 2013 Debate wines, I’m not sure he hasn’t hit perfection already. Best of all, the wines are meant to inspire conversation and bring people around the table. Each bottle comes wrapped in headlines from the vintage year, things like the Boston Marathon Bombing, Nelson Mandella’s passing, and the legalization of gay marriage. Things worth talking about, without a phone in our hands; wine can help that happen.

I didn’t drink much wine this week, as busy as I was, but what I had was pretty great! I hope you, too, are rewarded some nights with a good glass of Cabernet, and I hope also that wine helps bring you and yours around the table to talk. We need to talk. Ours is a nation in need of more genuine discussion, less tweeting, and a healthy pour of wine.




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