“Most Sacred Ritual.” Steele Goodchild Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

The erratic weather of Nebraska has of late included snows in April, and promises to do so again this weekend, making yesterday’s high sixty degree temps a commodity not to be assumed nor unappreciated. I met a colleague after school to talk shop, then grabbed the kids from daycare and returned home. I put chicken on the grill, ran out of propane, and finished in the microwave, dismissing Sonja’s suggestion about the griddle in favor of nuclear efficacy and an urgent desire to take a walk before bed. The grill had done its job searing in the juices of the bird before gasping its last, and all told my chicken, beet, and feta salad with slivered almonds and poppyseed dressing went over well. A quick washcloth to the faces of my children, and Sonja and I were out with the stroller, walking along the easternmost edge of Hanscomb Park until nearly bedtime without so much as a jacket between the two of us.

Back at home and later that evening, Sonja took Zooey and I Titus and we got ready for bed. Titus wanted to read Ten Apples Up On Top — a book that confounds me for its non-Seuss-like characteristics, and after a quick round of tickles he was in his crib and I was back downstairs with Sonja, sitting in our favorite spot, doing one of my favorite things: conversing over a bottle of wine.  I know for many readers this may become a dead horse, and you’re free to ask me to put down my switch, but before I do, I wanted to share a picture I took last night that to me exemplifies just why our living room sofa and a bottle of wine is my favorite way to pass time in the evenings. Here it is:

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This is my happy place, a place of comfort and complete gemutlichkeit, a sanctum. Sometimes music plays in the background, others it does not. Sometimes Mollie joins us, and others she has better things to do. But as long as my muscles can begin to un-tense in the presence of my beautiful wife, with a glass of wine in our hands, my day will feel complete. We talk about our jobs, we talk about our kids, we make plans for the weekend or decide who needs to get the sitter. We typically put our phones away and just talk and reconnect, one on one, and it has become perhaps my most sacred ritual.

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The wine we paired with our meeting last night was a single vineyard from Jed Steele, his 2014 Goodchild Vineyard Pinot Noir. Black cherry in color with a classic if robust Pinot nose that I could revisit a dozen times before ever taking a single sip, the wine boasts chocolate and black cherry upon the palate, with hints of pipe tobacco and an elegant yet undeniable structure supported by firmer tannins than most takes on the varietal can claim. A finesse wine, it spend 16 months on mostly used French oak, and comes in at 14.3% ABV. 186 cases produced, the $30 price tag seems more than reasonable on this one. Sonja and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Sonja even remarked upon the wine and how much she enjoys Jed’s Pinot Noir, a rare compliment on the wine from someone who considers my obsession with fermented grape juice to be borderline unhealthy.

Tonight I will teach my night class, and Friday and Saturday we will be at VinNebraska all day. These are good things, but they will not allow for much sofa time. Perhaps it is in the interims that I become most thankful for our sacred ritual. Hearing my wife speak about the world, be it the globe or the world she and I have created for ourselves, reminds me of just how intelligent she is, and spending time resting at the end of another busy day is all but required for doing it again in sequence. I hope that you, dear reader, might have a similarly satisfying ritual of your own, and that perhaps it may even involve wine.

Cheers to our most sacred rituals,

Mark

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