“The Bitter Truth,” Steele Stymie Syrah 2016

The runners I had taken to Sioux Falls and I woke up yesterday, had breakfast, and headed to the park where the Nike Cross Heartland event was being held. It was probably in the high 20’s, but the sharp wind made for bitter cold, cutting through our jackets and inspiring us do to things in the car, such as put on our bibs and change shirts, that we would normally do outdoors. It was too cold, and as I sipped at my hot coffee and hopped from foot to foot to try to keep my blood moving, I was eager to be back in the warm car. In the end, with four hours of waiting, mostly outside, between the end of my last runner’s race and my own, we opted to return to Omaha rather than wait around.

Back in Omaha I dropped the guys off and headed to the grocery store. I purchased a few items for dinner, ice cream that would go uneaten, grapefruits, lemons, ginger root, and a few other items. At home, I got Titus out of bed in time to watch the end of the Chiefs game, then watch Despicable Me 2. Zooey and Sonja a joined us. It was a pleasant afternoon that culminated with my making buffalo stroganoff which I thought turned out really well. I paired it with a new wine I’d been eager to try.


Steele Stymie Syrah is what happens when a talented winemaker gets an idea for a passion project. The grapes for this wine are grown in Jed Steele’s home, in a small vineyard he planted in 2002. As Syrah, I’d have placed it in Washington State after my first sip, though of course it hails from California.  Notes of blueberry, blackberry, earth, and woodsmoke make up most of the flavor; the wine is smooth and elegant, with enough tannic support to age well for quite some time. Aged on oak of 22 months, it’s limited to 175 cases and is very worth seeking out. It paired well with rich food, and again later with a chat in the living room.


Once the kids were in bed, I got to work in the kitchen, mixing up a concoction of herbs, roots, spices, and more — along with my citrus and ginger root, until at last I felt comfortable with what I had done. I have been hoping to make bitters for quite some time now, and finally made the time to do it. We’ll see where this goes, but for now it’s just sort of a cool thing to look at on the kitchen counter. I think so, anyway. If you fancy cocktail bitters, let me know. You’re welcome to try some.

That’s it for today. I need to get to the gym. Syrah lovers, don’t miss this wine. And everyone, have a wonderful start to the week.

Cheers to staying warm in this bitter cold,



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