“Hitting the wall.” LaStoria Block 303 Zinfandel 2016

Ten years ago, I helped to put on a conference in Kigali, Rwanda, for the first time. It was intense, with many of the logistics being handled on the fly, and a constant stream of decisions coming my way at a rapid pace. I served as everything from material schlepper to lecturer, name-tag distributor to opening remarks maker to gopher and more. When we got done, my partners and I felt amazing and knew we had done something great. Then I had some ice cream, went to bed, and was sick for the next two days from sheer exhaustion.

In yesterday’s post, I detailed VinNEBRASKA’s latest event, which I was proud to be a part of. It’s hard for me to say if it was the work of VinNEBRASKA, or perhaps the consecutive late nights, the weather reverting from mild springtime warmth and bud bloom back to frigidity and snow, or something else entirely, but yesterday my body again fell apart, beginning with an otherwise excellent run being interrupted nearing mile five of ten with a reemergence of my nagging calf injury which, I fear to say, may be the end of my half marathoning aspirations this spring. I’d been running strong, and at a solid pace, when I felt sharp pain tear through my right calf, stopping me immediately. I looked down at my watch in dismay, then out the window, then up to God. This couldn’t be happening. I’m supposed to pace the Lincoln Marathon in three weeks.


I did not have the luxury of ending my day there, however, so I limped home and showered, and then Sonja and I went and got the kids from Nana’s so we could all attend the Nebraska State Holocaust Commemoration, the committee for which I’m also on — busy weekend in our household! Sonja already wasn’t feeling the best as a result of our late night previous, and on the way there we remarked to one another that we had scratchy throats and felt fatigued and achy. I tried to put it out of my mind. We got the kids picked up and headed to Lincoln.

The Nebraska State Holocaust Commemoration is an important event to our family. It’s where I met my late friend, Lou Leviticus, so many years ago, and where until recently I would escort his lovely wife, our friend Rose, until she moved to Israel a few years back. I see old friends there every time, and while my role on the committee is small, the event is a cherished part of my life. One of the things I value about it is the presence of the survivor community, which of course cannot be taken for granted. As things went, however, neither of my diminutive spawn was in the mood to be cooperative in the broad, echoing chambers of the Capitol Rotunda. Zooey’s cry could be heard echoing through the lofted stone rooms of Nebraska’s massive capitol building, and Titus repeated “I don’t WANT to be QUIET” enough times that soon Sonja and I escorted both of them out so that other guests could enjoy the solemn event in greater peace.


Titus, not being quiet, but enjoying himself.


Zooey, downstairs, on the move. 

I apologized to my wife for thinking this was a good idea, and collectively we missed most of the ceremony before bundling up the kids and driving back to Omaha. By this time, we were thoroughly exhausted, and our bodies feeling worse. Mine was faring better than Sonja’s, so when we got home I cooked some simple food and had what I suspected would be my last glass of wine for a while, unless this cold doesn’t actually come on. I had a bottle of La Storia from Trentadue’s Block 303 Alexander Valley Zinfandel 2016 left over from Friday night’s event, and having just spent some time with Miro, Trentadue’s winemaker, had some fond memories to pair with it.

A luscious Zinfandel, what Miro has done with this that I admire so much is to give it balance. Most Zinfandel is hyperbolic I think, erring towards intense fruit and spice, high alcohol, and other extremes. This one is smooth from start to finish, with generous chocolatey notes overlaid upon a bed of black and purple fruits. Silky, flavorful, this is one of the best Zinfandel’s on the market in my opinion, and Miro Tcholakov is one of the finest winemakers I’ve met. I greatly appreciated his participation in VinNEBRASKA this weekend, and I highly recommend this wine.


Buttery pasta with a little parmesan, meatballs, and caramelized onions was the sort of comfort food Sonja and I both needed. After dinner we tidied up a bit and went upstairs. I read Fox in Socks to Titus and we put the kids to bed. Then, running on fumes, we met in our bedroom, watched a little John Oliver, took some NyQuil, and found sleep even before the sun set. I think Mollie put it best, her posture indicating how all three of us were feeling; we had clearly hit a wall.


It was difficult getting out of bed this morning, but I managed. My throat is scratchy, my head groggy, and my nose runny. Today I turn 37. I fear that the beautiful wine I had hoped to drink tonight for my birthday may have to wait, should my sickness not subside and my senses not improve over the course of the day. Should this be the case, I’m happy in the knowledge that I had one of the best Zinfandel’s I’ve ever had last night, and that can tide me over until I’m able to enjoy wine again.

Cheers to a speedy recovery for Sonja and I,


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