“So it goes.” Chappellet Merlot 2006

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This image is a good representation of what I do most mornings around 4:45AM, wading through the sticky notes that contain my thoughts about the wine I had the night before and attempting to put them into something coherent on this blog. To the left, the bottle inspires me, and to the right, my-pre workout gets me moving. Tap-tap-tap. Tap-tap-tap. Hopefully this makes sense. 

Yesterday morning, I texted Sonja asking if I could make dinner. I’d been inspired by something I’d seen and had the time to cook. I’d also grabbed wine that morning from the cellar, what I described to Sonja as “a badass Merlot”. I spent the day a bit excited about getting into the kitchen and finally getting to pull the cork.

After a quick trip to the grocery store and picking up the kids from daycare, Titus informed momma that he did not want to help daddy cook, so my family went upstairs while I got after it. The first thing I wanted to do was season and soften the meat, so I rolled each piece in coarse Hawaiin red alaea salt, which had been a Christmas gift from Sonja, and then in ground coffee before soaking it in red wine vinegar and cooking it on low.

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The next move was to prep vegetables and cook up a fresh vegetable topping to combine with the meat over pasta when it was all done. Leaks, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and more found their way into some simmering olive oil while the pasta and beef came into their own. In the background, Billy Joel’s Storm Front album played, a request I’d made of Alexa, and I sipped at a glass of this “badass” Merlot.

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It’s the unshakable structure that gives this wine life twelve years into the journey, with long chains of tannins running smooth across the palate. A restrained nose, the edges are garnet, the wine inky until held into the light, whereupon it reveals itself to possess a deep and beautiful ruby hue. Notes of black cherry, blackberry, hints of vanilla, coffee, and a touch of earthy-leathery-something… the wine is what I was hoping it would be. At first afraid to emerge from twelve years of hibernation, oxygen and time eventually coax it out, and it is certainly worth the wait. Decanting gives it a chance to get in rhythm, and paired with food it really shined, with blueberry and a velvety quality more characteristic of the varietal popping out when they meet the salt of the dish I had prepared.

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It took me the entirety of Storm Front to prepare the meal — which I’ve concluded is a good way to keep time. “So it goes” was just wrapping when Sonja, Titus, and Zooey appeared in the kitchen, somewhere between hungry and hangry, looking expectantly at me as I put the finishing touches on things. Titus climbed up on his stool at the kitchen island and looked up at me.

“Hey Titus, know what?” I asked him.

“What daddy?”

“The guy who made this wine is also named Titus. Isn’t that neat?”

“Yeah.” (I’m not sure he understood.)

“Want to smell it?” I inquired.

“I want to drink it!” he replied.

“Let’s stick to smelling it for now,” I told him, then followed it with: “Someday soon.”

Our family sat down to dinner, Sonja and I sharing the wine, the food and, at last, our days with one another. They had been long and, for both of us, relatively tumultuous. But they were over, and it was time to relax, to eat, and to enjoy our family. So long as I get to end my days like that, I’m pretty sure I can get through just about anything.

Cheers to ending the day right,

Mark

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