“Momma can play the guitar.” Ledson Redwood Valley Zinfandel 2011

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We told Titus and Zooey that we were getting a piano, and we were pleased to hear Titus say “I’m going to play the piano.” That is the idea. Over time, his thoughts on the matter evolved substantially, until he informed us that Momma would also be playing the guitar, and Daddy would play the drums. Apparently we’re forming a band. When we asked what Zooey got to do in this family band, Titus replied “Dance”. Zooey does love to dance, bopping around in her high chair whenever a song she likes comes on.

I left school a little early, a luxury reserved for those who have last block plan, so that I could meet the piano movers at the house. It was snowing outside, which is rare for April in Nebraska, though it was not especially cold. I had received a great report on the movers from the woman who sold me the piano the day before, and I was impressed with the care they took with our new piano. With efficiency they got it into our home and set it up. It was costly, but pondering that I had none of their equipment or experience and was liable to throw my back out again, it was well worth it.

Quickly, for those who might geek out on something like this, our piano is a Brown & Allen square grand piano, 7′ in length, and in beautiful condition. Brown & Allen, I have learned, built pianos in Boston between 1850 and 1873, when Allen left the company. My family is partly from Brown County, and my Grandmother Helen’s maiden name was Allen, so that’s fun as well. A few of the keys are sticking, but we know it needs to acclimate to our home. Then we’ll go about seeing if we can’t find someone to tune it. All of this, of course, makes me think of my recently departed cousin, Chris, who I know would have thought that this piano was amazing, and who would probably have enjoyed restoring it for us.

That morning, I had put a roast in, a bone-in pork roast that I was really excited about despite realizing too late that I’m out of all of my favorite barbecue sauces. I put the roast in at 5 o’clock in the morning, realizing I wouldn’t want to try to make time to cook the night the piano was moved in. The roast simmered on the baby back ribs all day long, and when the piano was in and the kids were home from daycare, we showed the piano to them and sat down to a meal.

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In addition to the roast, I grabbed a bottle of wine from the cellar. The 2011 Ledson Redwood Valley Zinfandel was perfect. This is about as much age as I ever let my Zinfandels reach, and it had a maturity about it, along with a mellowness of temperament, that worked well with a slow-cooked barbecue pork roast. Slight bricking has occurred, which doesn’t hurt it at all, and a palate full of leathery red currants, dry raspberry, an autumnal spice rack, and hints of blackberry and vanilla made it both complicated and yet still easy to enjoy. It has a refined quality that most Zinfandels do  not, and stands as evidence that the vintage has far less to do with the wine than does the  winemaker.

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I’m excited to have a piano in the house again. Though I never learned to play one despite my efforts, I so love the music that they make. I’m excited for my kids to learn to play, and excited for the time they’ll get to spend with their instructor, whom they love. I’m less excited to find and pay for a tuner, but that’s a “first world problem” that I certainly don’t have the audacity to gripe about. As always, thanks for reading! Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers to beautiful music,

Mark

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