Good morning! It was a heck of a week, was it not? I hope that you’re as excited for the weekend as I am. Last week, with seemingly a ridiculous amount going on, I managed to teach sixteen classes, spend time with my family, attend five meetings, run twenty miles, attend two spin classes, cover one math class, and begin writing what I hope will be a short book. By the time last night arrived, Sonja — who had an equally busy week, and I were ready for a break. She made some great chili, we played with our kids, and later our friend Tom Rees, the owner and winemaker of Pine & Brown, came over for a drink.
I’ve written a lot about Tom’s wines on the blog, but not so much of late. If you’re interested (and if you love wine then you should be) here are some of my write-ups on Tom and his wine.
For a review of my visit to his winery, go here:
For my first ever review of Tom’s wine, back when I still used a points system, go here:
For a review of his red blend, and my thoughts on supporting independent wineries, go here:
For a review of Tom’s killer Mt. Veeder Cab and an update on his career pursuits, go here:
For a review of his 2015 Rutherford Cab, and my thoughts on how we spend our days, go here:
And for my review of his killer Sauvignon Blanc, and probably some more musings about life, go here:
Tom didn’t come over to talk wine. He’s just a really good guy and we like to hang out, so when he arrived I offered him a cocktail. If you read the blog much, you know I run into this from time to time — winemakers, especially amazing ones like Tom, make great wine, so what do you serve them? I usually go with cocktails or beer, however he and I were both in a “I don’t care, whatever you want,” sort of a mood last night when Sonja chimed in “Well, I want wine.” And that is how I once again found myself in the position of choosing what wines to serve someone who makes truly amazing wines. Ultimately, I selected two.
We started with white, while we let the red from the cellar warm up a touch. Riesling was Tom’s pick, as it’s becoming an increasingly uncommon varietal in California. This one, made by Jed Steele, is great. The 2017 Shooting Star Riesling checks a lot of important boxes. It’s clean and crisp yet slightly round in the mouth, with a faint whiff of petrol and underripe stone fruits dictating the palate. It’s low alcohol, around 12.1%, giving it more of an old world, Alsacian feel. It is acidic enough to make the mouth water, and off-dry enough to allow for the flavorful nature of the varietal to come through. And it’s well made. Sonja and Tom and I sat around sipping at this for quite some time, and we enjoyed it.
The second wine we shared was from the Golan Heights Winery. Tom wanted to try something he hadn’t had, and of course he’s had a ton of wine from Napa from whence he hails. He told me he’d never had Israeli wine and I went straight for this one. We decanted it for over an hour, just as I had when I first shared it with Odedi in Orlando last year, and the results were terrific. A rich, dark Cabernet, it boasts notes of earthiness and cedar on a bed of diverse black fruits. Elegantly structured with long grain tannins that do little to impose and everything to support, this wine drinks beautifully. Tom, Sonja, and I were all pleased with it, and it fueled a lengthy conversation about politics and how to save our nation.
At the end of the day, what we serve one another matters far less than who we’re serving, and Tom, Sonja, and I perhaps would have had just as much fun drinking mediocre beer. That said, I was pleased to have again found wines fit for a king of winemaking, and we had a terrific night.
This morning, I’m going to go for a run. When I get back, I’ll bring doughnuts with me, and then Sonja and I will take the kids to WeBop before watching our alma mater play Michigan State. I hope that whatever your weekend holds, you’re looking forward to it as much as I do, and that you, too, can drink some wine fit for a king.
Cheers to the weekend!