“First Friday.” Purple Hands Pinot Noir

Friday was a day of firsts…

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Friday was a day of firsts, firsts for little Zooey or for the year, little milestones of one sort or another worth celebrating. For one thing it was, in my estimation, the first genuinely spring-like day of the year. The weather was perfect for being outside in, and the previous weeks full of precipitation had done beautiful things for the greenness and vegetation, rendering our yard and neighborhood lush and vibrant. The tree in front of the house remains in full bloom, and the grass began growing at last, which in turn lead to the first lawn mowing for many of my neighbors and I.

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Picking up all of the sticks that fell in winter and removing the flags from the yard placed there when the gas leaked, I got the yard trimmed down and was reminded of how much I enjoy doing this simple task when the time of year calls for it. From there, I went straight into a meeting, where the first person I have hired to work for the new distribution company Sonja and I are investing in came on board.

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We spent three hours tasting through a mere portion of our portfolio. We made sure he tried as many of the most extraordinary wines we offer — Volker Eisele Family Estate, Meadowcroft, Trujillo, Saddleback Cellars, Fullerton, and more. It was fun to watch someone’s reaction the first time they tried a wine that I am familiar with, a wine I love enough to bring into the state of Nebraska, and to talk about it with them. Our first new employee, I think, is going to be excellent, and will hopefully help sell even more of our incredible wines in the Omaha metro area.

We also tasted through three of the vineyard-specific offerings from Purple Hands, a small Willamette Valley Pinot Noir producer that I am extremely excited to bring into Nebraska. Hand-crafted by Cody Wright, easily the most pedigreed winemaker in Oregon, and without question one of the most talented, it was a fascinating study in how very different the same varietal can present itself, based on terroir and, in the case of the Freedom Hill Vineyard, vintage. The Latchekey Vineyard, previous vintages of which have won insane accolades, was super earthy and tight, with graphite notes I see far more often in Cabernets and an unfailing depth that made me want to sit there with the bottle all afternoon. It was beautiful, and unlike anything I’d ever had before. From there, the Stoller Vineyard and Freedom Hill wines expressed more vibrant fruit profiles with impeccable balance. Ultimately, Freedom Hill was my favorite by a slim margin; these wines are incredible expressions of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. I am honored to represent them in Nebraska and cannot recommend them highly enough.  Ask me where you can get them soon!

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After that, I picked up both Titus and Zooey, and took them to get barbecue. This is fairly routine for Titus and I, but it was Zooey’s first time going there. She threw her squeaky giraffe out of her carrier and squawked a bit, but mostly she seemed to enjoy herself. Titus, for his part, sat in a chair the entire time I asked him to — huh, I suppose there’s a first time for everything.

We took our barbecue order home to share with our wonderful neighbors. This was not a first; this is becoming a favorite tradition. Also not a first, unfortunately, was the barbecue joint messing up our order and forgetting to include things that I paid for. No matter, we had enough to get by on, and in fact, the succulent brisket, pulled pork, sausages, baked beans and fried okra helped lead to baby’s first meat coma, which was a fun thing to document and celebrate.

Shortly after we finished eating, we cleaned up the kids and put them to bed, then went downstairs to watch a few episodes of This Is Us which we hadn’t seen yet. This, too, is tradition, a shared passion we enjoy, and far from a new experience. Like I said, Friday was a day full of firsts, and on such an occasion, sometimes its nice at the end to return to your routines. When you see little Zooey next, don’t forget to high-five her for having her first meat coma — she high-fived me for the first time yesterday!

Cheers to firsts,

Mark

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