“I couldn’t ask for more.” Steele Persona Non Grata 2015

There’s something a little comforting about the occasional rare evening when Sonja is out of town and yet I somehow manage to collect the kids from daycare and feed them without burning the house down. Over time, I’ve grown more competent at this, though the steady growth of our children means that the rules of the game continually change whilst we play. Zooey is picking up some new words and phrases, slowly, such as “nigh-nigh” when it’s time for bed, and Titus last night decided upon our return home that he did not wish to play in the living room — so he went to the top of the stairs, opened the baby gate, and went up to his room. I wasn’t aware that he could do this.  A baby gate that isn’t toddler-proof perhaps leaves room for further patents to be developed in this arena, but in the meantime, I fetched him, replaced him at the kitchen island, and proceeded to concoct a dinner of leftovers for the three of us.

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We had eaten burgers for dinner the night before, so I snagged those and Titus and Zooey munched on the buns, the avocado, the tomato, and chopped up hamburger patties. I threw in an apple for good measure and they seemed happy. Yet again, I must remark upon the plight of the single parent; I have no idea how they do what they do, but I believe it to be the single greatest balancing act in the world and I admire it deeply.

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Along with leftover hamburgers I poured a wine I’d been sent a few days ago which I had never had before. I’m pretty familiar with Jed Steele’s wines, in particular the Shooting Star series, and I’ve always been a fan. But when I opened the box this time, I saw something I’d never seen before, the “Persona Non Grata” red blend. Curious, and knowing that Sonja is firmly in a white wine place with the great weather we’ve been having, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to pair something new with my leftovers. As is often the case, I was richly rewarded for being adventuresome.

The Steele Persona Non Grata 2015 is truly an extraordinary wine. I was immediately struck by its innate smoothness juxtaposed alongside formidable bulk. It’s a massive wine, 15.2% ABV with a beautiful blackened ruby hue and a robust, promising nose of luscious dark fruits and spices. On the palate, elegant structure supports a wine that is impeccably balanced, big, brooding, smoky, and delicious. A complex array of flavors, ranging from black cherry, blueberry, currants, strawberry jam, spice box, subtle woodsmoke and more make it as complex as it is good. This wine is the very definition of a great QPR (quality-price ratio) — blind I think it could compete with a lot of the $100 Cabernets that I enjoy so much. A blend of 36% Merlot, 30% Syrah, 28% Zinfandel, and a little Pinot Noir and something listed as “winemaker’s inspiration” to round it out, this wine spends 14 months in barrel, 30% of it new, and ultimately lacks for nothing. At $16 a bottle, you couldn’t ask for more; this is one of the best deals I’ve seen in wine in a very long time, and I highly recommend it.

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Sonja got home in time for us to take a walk before dinner, and her extra hands made little things like loading kids into the stroller a great deal easier. I am always relieved to have Sonja by my side, her companionship and love even more meaningful than her steadiness and assistance in getting things done. After putting the kids to bed, we retired to the patio as is our good weather custom, taking wine along with us — white for Sonja, and discussing our days.

Sonja told me about the podcasts she’d listened to on her long commute, and how much she had learned. I love her intellect and thirst for knowledge. When she asked me what good things had happened in my day, I realized I had more to say than even time would allow, from having so many great interactions with students to Zooey hyperventilating with excitement when I arrived at daycare and so much more. Best of all, however, my wife was home, and we were relaxing on the front porch together once again. I couldn’t ask for more.

Cheers to fulfillment,

Mark

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