“Strange Surprises,” Steel Durell Vineyard Chardonnay 2017


Yesterday was a bit of a doozie in some ways. I think it was mostly characterized by a handful of odd surprises. One interesting surprise came when I texted Sonja during my plan period to ask the date of our Christmas party. Her response was cryptic:

“Do you have a sec to talk?”

I replied: “Sure” thinking it was in some way related to the party.

A moment later my phone rang. I picked up. “Jerry’s house went up for sale today,” she began. Our elderly neighbor had recently moved out of the house immediately adjacent to ours. Sonja continued: “I sent your parents the link to the listing. They want to buy it.”

We had often discussed my parents moving to Omaha, and the possibility of even building an mother-in-law suite over a new garage or something similar to accommodate them. But it had not occurred to me, even when the house next door had gone vacant, that my parents might move into it. The more I thought of it, the more perfect it seemed. The proximity would surely have its drawbacks, but the reality is that it’s mostly ground level and close enough we can keep an eye on them. Down the road, it could be a great alternative to other options that my mom and dad might find less desirable. Sonja arranged a viewing with our realtor for six pm.

After an especially dry meeting, I swung by the grocery store then hurried home to cook. As I drove, another surprise. Sonja called again: “I forgot all about Zooey’s eighteen month doctor’s appointment,” she told me. I have the kids and am heading there now. Don’t go pick them up.  At home, it was so quiet that cooking took half the time it typically does. The only glitch was yet another surprise:


I’m sorry, but I expected “whole berry” to be, you know, berries, not gelatin. This threw my pork chop recipe off a bit, but I got things sorted and, in the meantime, made the most of the false advertising snafu by gussying up the cran-jell-o with some walnuts, honey, and blueberries:


The pork chops I baked in applesauce, something I hadn’t tried before, turned out amazing. It’s about the easiest thing in the world to make, also. Just don’t forget to add paprika and sea salt before you smother the suckers, and use the thickest cuts of meat you can find. It turned out really succulent and moist, and with a few dried cherries on top, looked pretty cool too:


The wine I paired this with was a Chardonnay from the Durell Vineyard made by Jed Steele, vintage 2017. It errs a bit on the traditional California side, and is less crisp and acidic than other iterations of the varietal Jed has made. Oaky but not over the top, it was round in the mouth and easy to enjoy, though with so much on our minds I’m afraid I didn’t give the wine a lot of thought.

By the end of the evening, we had our realtor in our dining room and my parents on speaker phone. I put the kids to bed while Sonja signed a ream of paper, and we had put in an offer on what may well be my parents’ new home. Now then, it’s election day and I need to get moving. Hopefully there are a few more surprises in store for us all.

Cheers to surprises,


2 responses to ““Strange Surprises,” Steel Durell Vineyard Chardonnay 2017

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