“Cookie Monster, Pray for Me,” Surh Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Faithful imbibers of my written word, ranging in degree and severity from the morbidly curious to the ineffably addicted, have surely noted a decline in production on my end this week. Those who know me well would attribute it to the advent of my fifteenth year of teaching, complicated significantly by new head coaching and other obligations. Those who don’t know me are likely perhaps to think me lazy or disinterested, but in candor I haven’t got much time to tend to their opinions. All that said, it was a heck of a week, an excellent week in many ways, but as usual it was Saturday that was the crown jewel.

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Our day began with a long family walk, culminating with a stop at Bob’s doughnuts where we showed enough self-restraint to only have one each. (Titus ended up eating half of Zooey’s and also part of mine — little oinker!)

The rest of the day was spent lounging around together. Sometimes, I would clean the house while Sonja watched the kids, and at others we switched roles. The result was a tidy house and a day spent in the company of family, virtually stress-free, relaxed, and rejuvenating for us all. Around 4pm I climbed into the crib to play with the kiddos. Titus threw the grinch out, proclaiming “Flying Grinch!” and Sonja kept tossing him back in. At one point, he said what sounded like “Cookie Monster, pray for me,” and I was laughing too hard to hear Sonja’s translation of the utterance’s meaning. Around 5pm I woke up in an empty crib, Sonja calling to me that she was going down to start dinner. So I napped in a crib yesterday for the first time in probably thirty-five years. It wasn’t a bad experience. The trick is having a lot of stuffed animals, I think.

For dinner last night, trying not to be wasteful and also to be frugal, we had the remnant of a block of manchego cheese, some cucumber, and some chicken nuggets. I wasn’t going to let leftovers get me down, however, so I paired it with a killer bottle of wine. I met Don Surh a year or so ago, and I’ve been a big fan of his wines ever since. This Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was a good example of why. Starting slightly tight, it rapidly opened up and became very expressive, with classic Pinot notes of dark cherry mingling with the evidence of lengthy oak exposure. Supple acid made it a little punchy, and at 14.5% it was on the bigger side, yet undeniably delicate. Vibrant, balanced, it was a terrific bottle of wine, and made a very average meal into something a bit more elegant.

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After dinner, we took the kids downstairs and watched The Great Muppet Caper — another something I hadn’t done in over thirty years. The muppets made the kids happy, while cameo’s from Oscar the Grouch and John Cleese, along with silly cultural nods and the occasional adult quip delighted Sonja and I. We finished the wine and let the kids stay up late to finish the movie. In all, it was a great night.

I can’t apologize for writing less these days, nor can I promise to do better. There are a raft of demanding and important tasks on my desk that seem to refresh themselves each morning, but I am grateful for all of it. Until I write again, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.

Cheers to being able to enjoy being busy, to casual Saturdays spent at home, and to the god of cookies,

Mark

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