“My Father’s Day Indulgences” Alpha Omega II Chardonnay 2015

Yesterday morning, I woke up in a guest house overlooking the Vacas, sat on the front porch, and enjoyed a cup of coffee:


Twelve hours later, I had returned to life as usual back in Nebraska:


I don’t bemoan the fact that my life isn’t one big vacation. I love what I do, and I love our living room picnics. Last night was great. I got home in time to put the kids to bed myself, and even let them stay up a bit past their 7:30 bedtimes to read stories and snuggle with us. Then we ate a late dinner of cheese and hummus, and paired it with the perfect wine to remind us of the Napa Valley.

One of our best visits in Napa, ever, is Alpha Omega winery. We love the wines, the setting, and the people. The staff is excellent, and our friend Jean makes the wine. It is a special place to us. So last night, I opened a bottle of II Chardonnay, AO’s second label, to pair with our makeshift dinner. But in doing so, I demanded several indulgences from Sonja.

First, I asked her to be patient as I rifled through my collection of wine keys so that I could find my Alpha Omega corkscrew with which to open the bottle. It may seem silly, but I like to do that. Wine is always about details and a sense of place, no?


The next thing I asked for was that Sonja help me author a tasting note on the wine. She has a brilliant palate, and picks up things I don’t. She will regularly reject my “Is that toffee?” queries, as her keen olfactory senses go to work. That said, she has little interest in formal tasting, and doesn’t believe in abilities in this field nearly as much as I do. I was glad when she agreed to help me write this note, and I think you’ll agree it’s superior to the ones I do on my own.


The 2015 Alpha Omega II Chardonnay is a beautiful golden color that pales near the edges. The bouquet is crisp and fresh, with notes of honeysuckle, pear, and subtle lemon zest. A round, smooth mouthfeel makes if extremely approachable, while a delicate creaminess makes it beautiful. On the palate, the continuation of the the pear and the addition of stone fruits and subtle pear-apple (I didn’t know that was a thing, but Sonja says that’s what we were tasting and I believe her) are light and playful. Sonja told me she thought the wine could pass as a rich Sauv Blanc for all of its nuance, and we agreed that we love what Napa Chardonnay is fast becoming, much more like Chablis than the oak and butter bombs we used to see in Napa.  This is a beautiful wine, and a terrific expression of the varietal at a very reasonable price. I… we… highly recommend it. I’d pull it out of the fridge twenty to thirty minutes before drinking; it opens up beautifully as it gets a bit warmer.


This morning, I got up to make breakfast for the kids and found the house cleaner and the refrigerator better stocked than it had been before I left for Napa, mostly because my mom and dad were here the entire time. (Thank you.)  I made breakfast burritos, then taught Titus first to say burrito, and then to eat one, while in the background Zooey said “Da-DA!” whenever I requested it.


Today’s additional Father’s Day indulgences will include taking the kids for a run, taking a nap and, hopefully, some lobster bisque for dinner followed by a game of Cards Against Humanity. It’s the little things, you know? Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, and especially to my own.

Cheers to dads,



4 responses to ““My Father’s Day Indulgences” Alpha Omega II Chardonnay 2015

  1. Happy Father’s Day Mark! Sounded like a great Napa trip. I believe Sonja should be required to taste each wine you write comments on and then edit them severely… Cheers!




  2. Sense of place and details—could not agree more! Though I’m now regretting NOT picking up some AO last week when I had the opportunity…good HFD work by you on all facets.


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