“Cheese!” Steele Lake County Merlot 2015

You never really know if your kids are ahead of the curve or behind it. Sometimes, they seem brilliant. Others, not so much. Regular readers may recall that Titus, now two-and-a-half, both knows that mommy and daddy see a “ky-wo-pwactow”, and also when asked what color his place mat was, answered “square”. He counts to ten in two languages, past ten in English, and speaks in complete sentences. For her part, Zooey seems very much to recognize everything going on around her and is incredibly curious. I swear she says “daddy” but, through a mouthful of drool, it’s hard to know if she’s not just choking sometimes.

I have found, however, that language acquisition is often the product of necessity or great desire. Titus loves cheese, and learned to say that word early on, as an example. So yesterday, as I laid out a meal that consisted largely of cheese and charcuterie, along with some dolmas which Titus neither enjoyed nor troubled himself to learn to pronounce, he looked up at my camera and simply said “cheese!”. Then he started yelling about “want cheese”. For some reason, though he regularly speaks in complete sentences, I’ve struggled to get him to incorporate the word “please” into them. It is a work in progress.

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We paired our charcuterie and cheese with a beautiful wine last night. I’m a fan of Jed Steele and his Lake County wines, and the 2015 Merlot is really a nice addition to the canon. Brightened dark fruit profile of blueberry and blackberry, maybe some razz, it has a nice deep ruby color, and subtle smoky character that may be offset some by the presence of espresso notes. The wine is in balance and smooth from start to finish, with ample structure and a long, drawn-out finish. 15% ABV, 600 cases produced, it’s very reasonably priced in the $20 range. This one is another “suck it, Sideways” Merlot, and worth seeking out.

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I try hard not to compare my kids to others, nor to one another. The best parenting advice I ever got came from a friends who has two kids like me. He said “You’ve never met a healthy adult who couldn’t speak, walk, or go to the bathroom by themselves. It will happen when it happens. Don’t worry about the timetable.” I’ve always kept that close to me, and it’s kept me sane as I endeavor to become a parent. It’s amazing to watch young people learn to crawl, walk, eat, and, of course, speak. It’s amazing to be a parent.

Cheers to parents, and to their amazing kids!

Mark

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