“Happy Valentine’s Day 2018.” Frank Family Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Last night, as I cooked dinner, my amazing wife entertained our children in the kitchen, rather than the play room, so I could spend the time with them as well. We hadn’t tried that before. It was tricky in some ways; I had to share counter space and Titus drew on the kitchen island in crayon (again). That gave us pause about our plans to replace it with a nicer one, as Zooey looked on in fascination.  While we spent the time together, we realized we didn’t have dinner reservations for Friday night, our anniversary, but rather than adding that to my already lengthy to-do list, Sonja just made them on her phone. In the end, it was a great new experience, sharing my usual solitary cooking time with the entire family. Billy Joel was there too, of course, as usual.

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While I cooked, I sipped at a bottle I’m to be writing an article on this spring. It’s from Frank Family, a tremendous winery now celebrating their 25th year. Sonja and I see — and regularly buy, their wines around town. That said, as I put together a dish of seasoned hamburger, diced tomatoes in garlic, and caramelized vegetables over pasta last night, I was enamored with this one, which I had never before tried.

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The 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Frank Family Vineyards is the epitome of what a Napa Cab can be. As dark as a shadow tinged in red, the gorgeous bouquet of pie cherries and oak-imparted scents met my nose long before my nose got anywhere near the glass. Silky smooth with elegant structure, generous blackberry and supple black cherries mingle with flavors of vanilla and oak upon the palate. It drinks impressively now, but is certainly age-worthy. Later paired with food, the already wonderful flavors exploded upon the palate. This is a terrific wine, one of the best I’ve had in a long time. I was thankful to have my wonderful wife to share it with.

As I finished up the meal, Sonja looked at me. “I’m going to go get Tylenol,” she told me. I was nonplussed by this information. She continued, casually, as if it were an afterthought: “I’ve been having hip pain lately.” “Ok,” I told her, not looking up from stirring the sauce. “Like when I was pregnant,” she finished. She now had my full attention. I stared, frozen in place, until she looked up an our eyes met. She smiled. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I took a pregnancy test today. We’re good.” I breathed again. Then I looked at Zooey, smiling up at me from her high chair, snot running down her upper lip, and Titus, disgruntled at having had his crayons taken away, looking around for something to throw on the floor in protest. A third wouldn’t be so bad, would it?

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This morning I got up at my usual time, about three minutes before my alarm was to go off at 4:30, and came downstairs. I wrote a card and placed it on the Keurig, our usual spot, and now I sit at the kitchen island, the one with the crayon marks all over it, smiling and thinking to myself how lucky I am to have the family I do. Whether we stick with two or someday add a third… or even a fourth, I feel so incredibly blessed to be a father and a husband. Happy Valentine’s Day to my wonderful partner and wife.

Cheers to our loved ones,

Mark

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