“Total War” Shooting Star Lake County Zinfandel 2015

I thought of several different ways that I could start this blog post. Here are three of them:

It was relayed to me today that someone had told their significant other that if they wanted to learn more about wine, they should read this blog. The idea that this was educational and not just narcissistic hadn’t occurred to me in a very long time.


Dear Matt:

I tried. I really did. I tried to take your advice to abstain from alcohol for 48 hours to help kill my cold, but I just couldn’t do it. Why? Well, because there is alcohol, Matt, there is wine, and frankly we just sort of need each other.



I hadn’t updated the cellar inventory in a little over three months, and it took me nearly two hours tonight. It is now over thirty pages long, and I am in desperate need of more racking in my cellar. The good news is the window unit seems to be holding the temperature in there around 66 degrees, even on the hottest days. The bad news is that it will only take one blackout and I’ll have wine-a-geddon on my hands.


The story of today is a long and complex tapestry of events. I began the day by running seven miles at a good-for-me clip of around 8:30/mile, and feeling like a “real” runner again. I love that. For those who’ve pledged to support the XC team through my running, I logged another 28 miles this week. More on that in future posts, and thank you once again.

Then I ate breakfast with the kids, mowed the lawn, went to the chiropractor, and took my family on a much-overdue visit to Omaha’s best wine shop, The Winery, where we had a nice lunch in the deli. I have been struggling with a cold, so I told Dave about it, got a bit of good advice, and tasted through some wines. I caught the TCA on a corked bottle, and was able to taste most of the wines fairly well, if admittedly imperfectly. It was encouraging. Titus wanted to smell my wine and, of course, I loved that. He’s my little sommelier.


With a trip to Napa looming — I leave tomorrow — I went to the drugstore and picked up some essentials to couple with the other voodoo I’ve been taking (detailed in the previous post). In declaring total war upon this cold, I grabbed Zyrtec-D and Afrin at the suggestion of a friend, in addition to more Airborne and some generic NyQuil to both fight the illness at night and help adjust to the time change. I’m hoping to be all better by Monday, despite nine hours of flights and landing in San Francisco at midnight Sunday night. Thanks a lot, Frontier, for canceling my direct flight and replacing it with a four-hour layover in Denver. You are not exactly inspiring loyalty with moves like that.


As I prepare to leave, I had a ton of paperwork to do, emails to follow up on, and other such things — not least updating the inventory in my cellar for the first time in months, so I parked myself at the kitchen table with all of my work and, of course, a bottle of wine. I wanted to see if I could taste it. I regret that my senses are imperfect for this one, but I enjoy a good challenge.


The Shooting Star Zinfandel from Jed Steele, 2015, is a pleasant wine. High in alcohol at 15.8%, my unimpaired eyes admired the dark plum and ruby hue, while my muted senses detected little on the nose for my stuffiness, but an array of fruits upon the palate and a nice spice profile. It’s not as jammy as most high alcohol California Zins, from what I’m getting here, though I’ll revisit this with more intact olfactory functionality at a later date. Jed Steele’s wines are always worth a second taste.

Most of what I’m drinking these days is Airborne or Emergen-C packets, mixed in water or gatorade, but there’s always time for wine. I’m feeling like I have a decent chance to beat this cold, especially if I get a little sleep. Watch for future posts from Napa and Sonoma, where even without wine the people and the scenery will be more than worth writing about.

Cheers to fully-functioning olfactory capabilities, and to all of you horrible people who take yours for granted!


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