“Of GOATs and Men” Shooting Star Chardonnay 2017

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Yesterday was a rare day in which I both dropped off and picked up the kids from daycare. Sonja does this quite often, but for me to have the time, at the right times, is rare. After I got the kids, I brought them home and we went for a walk around the golf course, then returned and I grilled up some chicken tenders for dinner. We paired them with some dipping sauce from BW-3’s, some leftovers, and a nice Chardonnay. We reheated some charred brussel sprouts and risotto from the night before, prompting Titus to repeatedly ask for “more zoh-toh!” even after it was all gone. We sat and talked for a bit, and listened to Titus and Zooey chatter.  The evening was off to a great start.

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After dinner, it was time for a bath. (You know it’s time when you can smell your kids, or when their hair looks like it has gel in it.) I’ve lately tried to get better at helping with bath time, something I didn’t enjoy much in the advent of fatherhood. It has become ritual for us, and it’s kind of fun to pack four people into our tiny guest bathroom upstairs and bathe the kids. If I yell “Marlon Bundo!” while I dump water on Titus’s head, he doesn’t cry about the water in his eyes, and he’ll even dump it on his own head sometimes if he’s in the mood. Good times.

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After bath came bed. That’s the usual order of things. I read A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo to Titus, also the Dr. Seuss Sleep book, and then headed downstairs to watch the game while Sonja packed her clothes for our weekend trip to Kansas City. On my way down, I poured a little more Chardonnay for myself.

The 2017 Shooting Star Chardonnay from Jed Steele is precisely what I expected it to be. Quality Mendocino County fruit plus experienced and savvy winemaker equals great wine. Teeming with youth and vibrancy, the color is as clear as a Sauvignon Blanc, and the aromas as inviting.   Crisp and clean with a subtle creaminess, hints of golden apple and a delicate touch of toffee, the wine is relatively simple yet undeniably enjoyable. A very easy drinking wine. Jed Steele does it again!

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I don’t know if you watched the game last night, but it was amazing until the last few minutes. As a long-time basketball coach, I loved the Warriors before the KD acquisition, after which point they became too much for me: too powerful, too inevitable, too indestructible, too much. I know that technically they are still beatable, but in a seven-game series, very few have climbed that mountain. One, actually — LeBron. Last night’s game was the best team ever assembled versus, please spare me the hate mail, the greatest of all time — the GOAT.

I’d kind of like to analyze the entire game here, but I’m sure you get ESPN. If you’ll indulge me for a paragraph, I’ll share a few important take-aways: J.R. Smith is evidence of why you need to put your stupid phone down and learn to pay attention (students take note), free-throws matter, instant replay for referees is ruining sports, ten feet is still hard to reach even for a seven footer, and the Splash Brothers are the single best shooting duo in the history of the league — and really, their brotherhood is not longer a twin set but a foursome of snipers. Also, the ejection at the end of the game was bogus. Feel free to disagree with me on any of these points.

Now back to the GOAT. I know the ESPN special announcing his venture to South Beach was irritating at best, and I know we love to root for underdogs, undersized dogs, undermanned teams, etc.  and that LeBron has rarely fallen into any of those categories, but listen: I grew up in the Jordan era, and I’m a huge Lakers (read: Kobe, Magic) fan, and I’m ready to say LeBron is the best ever. I know his physical size is imposing but its his skill set and composure that impress me the most. Maybe most impressive, in a sport defined by the win-loss column, is the fact that he’s been to eight straight finals. Granted, it looks as if he’s going to be three for eight in those finals, but lets be fair about that. As much as I like the UCLA alumnus, the second best player on the Cavaliers is Kevin Love. There are several teams in the league that wouldn’t start Love. Other Cavs include J.R. Smith, who can’t be trusted to read the scoreboard, a bunch of guys the Lakers dumped on them, and a crew of misfits and has-beens who may very well be nice people but have no business being in the NBA Finals had they not been carried there by the Atlas of the NBA, capable of shouldering the entire basketball universe upon his massive trapezius muscles — for nearly a decade now.  I hope that kids who watch basketball right now appreciate what they are witnessing; he may well get swept in these finals (my guess is the Warriors win in six), but I suspect many seasons will pass before we ever see a player as talented, multifaceted, and composed as LeBron James again.

It did occur to me last night, as I was sipping at my Chardonnay, that Jed Steele and LeBron James have in common what I admire most: longevity. Steele has been making terrific wine for fifty years. LeBron played in every game this season, is almost never injured, and has played every season of the past eight years well into June due solely to his prowess. Both are inimitable. In a Twitter-fed world in which some people can’t put down their phone long enough to eat dinner while others don’t even know the score of the game they’re playing in, I find longevity admirable and important. To the basketball fans among you, enjoy witnessing history in the NBA finals this June, while the best team ever takes on the best player of all time. To the rest of you, just enjoy a glass of Chardonnay.

Cheers to longevity,

Mark

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