“The Definition of Week.” The Week in Wine, August 26 – September 2, 2017

This week was, in a word, full. It was so full in fact that I let some things go. For example, this is the first blog post of the week, which almost never happens. Another example is my lagging communication time with people I love. After five days of teaching, night classes, practice, and a meet on Saturday morning followed by so many errands, I was completely out of gas. By the time the Husker game was on last night, I was yawning, and on multiple occasions in the second half, despite the close score, I had to be awoken by those around me. I switched from beer to Coke in the second half, hoping the caffeine would do it, but in the end, my week just caught up with me, and I spent half the night asleep on the couch. (Good thing I have a good chiropractor.)

But the things that life is full of are beautiful things. This week, several students brought me to tears with stories they shared with me. I helped a young lady study for a test, and watched her visibly learn the vocabulary we were studying before my eyes, which was an amazing moment.  On Friday night, Sonja and I shared a bottle of wine on the couch, and some wonderful memories. My University class, the one I taught, went very well, and I got some nice feedback from a student about my tech-less policies during class time. Yesterday, tons of my runners set PR’s on the course, despite a bit more heat than would be ideal. I had a lot of rich human interactions throughout the week, the kind that drive and inspire me. And, of course, I also had some good wine. So in all, it was a pretty great week, if a tiring one. Now, let’s talk briefly about the wines:

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This Pinot Noir we picked up years ago, while in Boston for a friend’s wedding. We appreciated their vinifera, though at the time we were unfamiliar with the source, the Suisun Valley, which we now know fairly well. Light upon the palate with prominent menthol and dry black cherry notes, we shared the bottle and memories on the couch Friday night. I’d end every week just like that if it were up to me.

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Keswick Vineyards is a brilliant producer. I featured their 2013 Cab (above) in my annual Cab review last year, and am increasingly impressed with the wines they produced in Virginia. Dark, rich, bold, each wine in this vertical was quite different, but each was of great craftsmanship and enjoyable unto itself. I’ll try to make time to do a full feature on these four at some point in the near future.

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Yesterday, at a tasting at The Winery, one of my favorite Omaha-area wine shops, it struck me how absurd it is that I have never visited Frank Family Vineyards. I’ve driven past them, and I love their wines, really really love their wines, and yet somehow I’ve failed to make it happen. Maybe soon. In the meantime, I’ll keep drinking their fantastic wines, such as this Zinfandel, which is not only a beautiful expression of the varietal as it is often made in Napa, but also boasts a tremendous QPR. I highly recommend this one.

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I know, I know… I’m supposed to hate this wine now that it’s owned by the evil empire. And I want to hate it, but this, the 2015 vintage was poured for me yesterday and, if I’m being honest, it’s still pretty damn good stuff. I don’t want to support the wealthy with my money, so I probably won’t buy it in favor of putting my funds into small, family operated wineries, but nevertheless, I won’t turn a glass of this stuff down when offered.

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One thing that jumped out at me about this wine was the plush fruit balanced with tremendous structure, and the second was that I favored this less popular varietal to their Cab Franc, which isn’t usually how I roll. In the $15 a bottle range, this Argentine Bonarda from the Durigutti brothers is young and supple and very, very worth trying. A very nice wine, very new world in style, and very reasonably priced. I recommend it.

Another week in the books. Another beautiful spell of humanity and interaction and love and great wine and poetry and family and productivity and usefulness and all of the other things that sustain my soul. What a great way to define “week” eh?

Cheers,

Mark

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