“The darnedest things.” The Crane Assembly Disciples 2016

One of the most amazing things about having a toddler around is observing the acquisition of language. While we watch Zooey learn to crawl and, more recently, start to stand, we listen to Titus start to repeat the things he hears and, on good days, put them into complete sentences. Because they both spend many days at daycare, they often surprises Sonja and I when they get home. Last night, Titus counted to ten in Spanish. I’d never heard him do it. Then we asked him what color his placemat was and he answered “rectangle”.

I’d made dinner when I got home from my last meeting, as fast as I could, cooking up some brats on the stovetop and throwing together some pasta and caramelized vegetables. The wine has really been piling up lately in the kitchen, with new samples arriving almost daily, sometimes in large amounts. With a meeting or class every night this week, I haven’t had time to move it to the cellar, so I just grabbed the box on top of the stack last night as I cooked and opened it up. I got lucky — it was from one of my favorite winemakers.

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The 2016 Disciples red blend from The Crane Assembly is a wicked wine. Dave Phinney doesn’t do subtle; drinking this wine is in some way akin to having Dave stand next to you and scream “I make freaking awesome wine!” in your ear. A perfect ruby in color with tame aromatics, the formidable fruit profile is laced with ample oak support, boasting a rare simultaneous appearance from blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry. Vanilla bean and cherry cheesecake notes round it out. After dinner we took it with us to watch a show before bed. Like a philosopher on his second bottle of wine, it seemed to get darker as the night went on, the brightness of the initial fruit profile mellowing substantially.  Silky smooth and young yet made to drink, it’s great to see a master winemaker like Dave Phinney digging into new projects with such immediate and fantastic success. I recommend this one to any fan of Orin Swift wines or Prisoner zins, both of which previously were Dave’s.

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Later, sitting around the dinner table, we continued quizzing Titus. He wants to go to the “ki-wo-pwactor” tomorrow, and of course, to watch more Sesame Street. The conversation may have been briefly redirected at one point, meaning Sonja or I may nearly have articulated a complete adult thought, when Titus blurted out “I’m a bigot!” Already making eye contact, a blend of amusement and horror crossed Sonja’s features, and I assume I mirrored them. She turned to him first.

“Do you mean you’re a big kid?” she asked him.

“Yeah,” he responded. “I’m a bigot!”

We won’t be leaving the house until he corrects his pronunciation of that one, I thought to myself.

Cheers to the acquisition of language,

Mark

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