“Coming to my senses.” Meadowcroft Riesling 2015

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Sonja and I had postponed our dinner at V. Mertz, our favorite restaurant, for another week. My birthday, long since passed sans pomp, sans circumstance, there was no sense of urgency for either of us, and the lingering effects of a cold continued to render our palates somewhat crippled and off-kilter. But during the day, while covering a Spanish class, I started to experience some drainage followed by a bout of sneezes, and at lunch I concluded that my blueberry Greek yogurt smelled and tasted true to the varietal. Perhaps I was starting to recover.

I came home in the afternoon to meet with a chimney sweep whose garb was an outright disappointment yet who nevertheless seemed to know how to fix the problem — the very, very expensive problem, I soon learned. Then Sonja and I headed to the grocery store, bought steaks and corn for dinner, and went to pick up the kids from daycare. I wish that, when we had gotten home, I’d have taken a picture of Sonja, Titus, and Zooey on a blanket in the front yard, blowing bubbles in front of the daffodils, but unfortunately I didn’t think to do it while I was preparing dinner; the memory is mine alone. While I chopped up onions and washed mushrooms, I decided to test out my theory about my palate beginning to recover from this nasty cold.

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A few weeks ago, a friend who runs a local wine bar had reached out to me, looking for a really nice Riesling. There isn’t much in our distribution portfolio at the moment, but I had an idea. I texted Tom Meadowcroft and asked for Riesling, knowing he made some but that it was in limited quantities and not widely distributed. Tom graciously agreed to send us a few cases, and they had arrived the following week.

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To be honest, I hadn’t tasted this vintage of Tom’s Riesling, hadn’t tasted a Riesling made by Tom in several years, but I trust Tom — everything he makes is good or he won’t put his name on it. And so, though I’d rarely do something like this, we placed an order for eight cases, the last eight cases in stock, never having tasted the wine. And while I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m not always right, I sure was this time.

Tom Meadowcroft’s 2015 Riesling, sourced from the Nelson Ranch in Mendocino County, is excellent. The first time I’d tasted it, Jerry had marveled over it while I sat grumpy and miserable, unable to taste anything. Tonight, while I prepared vegetables and grilled, I sipped at it and was able to take in a lot of the nuance. A traditional petrol style nose, there’s a slight sweetness to the wine, yet it remains light upon the palate and reminds me of a Kabinett, though I think I mostly liken it to old-world Riesling for its nuance and delicacy. There aren’t many domestic Rieslings that I think compete with Smith-Madrone, but this one can at least be a part of the conversation, and it is very reasonably priced in the $25 range.

Titus came out to help me grill, and we enjoyed the sunlight and advent of spring as we lounged around on the back porch. For a while, we just lay there and stared up at the sky together, and I realized that it was one of the great moments in life to do so. He’s growing, you know, and not slowly. He rarely sits still, but when he will, whether its looking up at the sky or, later, curled up in my arms reading “The Zax” and “Too Many Daves” by Dr. Seuss, it’s the best feeling in the world.

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Dinner was excellent, if I may be so immodest, and Titus even ate his steak. Zooey tried out something new, where she wailed like a siren until she had food on her plate, her usual persistent cooing and disgruntled shrieks apparently a thing of the past. Thankfully, Sonja kept her fed.

This weekend, I’m going fishing up on the refuge lakes, near Valentine from whence I hail. I’m going with one of my oldest friends in the world, an angler who will no doubt put me to shame, but be polite about it, and if I’m lucky remind me of some of the things I’ve forgotten about fly fishing over the years. I’ll see if we can’t make time for a bottle of wine while we’re at it, now that I’ve come back to my senses.

Cheers to being on our backs and staring up at the sky,

Mark

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