“What people care about.” Pine & Brown Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2015


Yesterday was a long one, with tons of tiny, often irritatingly simple tasks and minutiae to attend to as I plugged away at wrapping up the paperwork side of the school year. None of it is difficult, but it takes time and energy, and by three I was ready to collapse in a heap. I headed home and Sonja and I played with the kids in the basement — the only cool part of the house until the AC gets fixed. It was refreshing. Then around five and after a quick round of diaper changes, we headed to Parker’s in Ashland to meet some friends for dinner.

I almost never use more than first names of friends in my blog, as I don’t feel like its my place to increase anyone’s online footprint. Maybe that seems hypersensitive, but my loathing for the digital age lends itself a bit to being a curmudgeon, and in addition, as I look up at Alexa on the china hutch, looking down on me and undoubtedly listening, always listening, I can’t help but feel like 1984 may finally have arrived. Anyway, the people we meet last night were Paul and his wonderful family. I’ve known Paul for nearly fifteen years now — we met when I first started working at Lincoln Southwest in 2004. A terrific, friendly, faith-driven man with a big heart and an outgoing personality, he and I have always gotten along well, and despite our busy schedules, we strive to make time to get our family’s together for dinner a few times a year. I’m always appreciative that he makes time for me; if you want to know what people care about, just look at how they spend their time.

This concept has me thinking quite a bit. I spend a lot of time writing. I’m starting to wonder if I oughtn’t switch from the blog to political essays in the fashion of Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Papers, or poetry in the style of Ai, Sherman Alexie, Taylor Mali, and others from my list of heroes. Or I could work on my memoir from the year 2014. Or — and this is truly a strange idea — I could just sleep past four in the morning and probably increase my life span. When the kids start to stay up later, I suspect I’ll select that option. We have a while to go on that one. All this to say, I’ve lately been giving more thought to how I spend my time; the most valuable currency of all, I do think it indicates what we care about, and that’s worthy of further, deeper contemplation on my end.

Last night, we got home from dinner and put the kids to bed. It was 8:30 when I sat down on the edge of the bed next to Sonja and said “Woof. I could just go to sleep right now.” She asked if I wanted to, and I rallied — no. We had said we’d share wine on the porch.

I spend a lot of time doing that, as readers know, but it’s not the wine I care about nearly so much as the time spent with Sonja. Sometimes we have important things to talk about, and others we just enjoy the peaceful view from the front porch through the trees and the quiet of one another’s company. Often, these days, Sonja talks about work, and I am glad to listen and get to know her better in that way. Though I divide my time amongst many things, I care more about Sonja, and also Titus and Zooey, than anything else, and I like to show them this with my time as much as I am able.  This is the primary reason that my alarm goes off at four o’clock most mornings — it means I require less time at night to exercise and write, and that is time that I can give to them.


The wine we shared last night was one I was nearly giddy about opening. I’ve written a lot about Tom Rees, a fellow Nebraskan turned Napa Valley winemaker, and for good reason. Last night, we shared his Rutherford Cab Sauv, vintage 2015. Normally I’d shy away from big reds in this heat, but the storms had dropped the air temp considerably, to the point that Sonja required a sweatshirt, and it seemed like a window of opportunity. I decanted the wine quickly, poured aggressively to aerate and… wow. A big glass of wow. I wrote in my brief notes last night that the nose was perfect, the inky body of the wine promising. Hints of blackberry jam, black currants, and boysenberry, a touch of menthol, and rich dark chocolate make for a sophisticated and well-balanced flavor profile. The Rutherford dust, as they call it, is undeniable. Balanced, well structured, this wine is a flawless exhibition of the varietal and the AVA, and a tour de force of all that makes us crave and worship the Napa Valley. Were I to revert to a points scale, this wine is closer to 100 than to 90. Every sip was a pleasure. Limited to 728 bottles produced, there is one less available now that Sonja and I enjoyed number 651 together last night.

We all have 24 hours in each day. What we do with that time is up to us, as is who we do it with. I try to show people I value them with my time, though I know I struggle with this, especially when the school year starts, when I’m coaching, when I slake my wanderlust, when publication deadlines loom, and at other times as well I’m sure. Sometimes I feel I’m spread too thin. Others, I feel I just need to learn to juggle better. Expect more contemplation-in-print about this subject in future posts. But for now, I need to go for a run.

Cheers to time well spent,


2 responses to ““What people care about.” Pine & Brown Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

  1. Pingback: “What do you get a man who has everything?” | itheewine·

  2. Pingback: The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar, Day Seven — “I Saw Cows!” | itheewine·

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