Yesterday, the 16th of February, Sonja and I had been married for exactly seven years. In that time we’ve learned a lot about one another and about life; the addition to Titus and Zooey in our lives certainly impacted things and has refocused us on what really matters. Interestingly, our strongest desires yesterday were to spend time with them and to clean the house. So we did. While Titus and Zooey watched Toy Story, we cleaned the entire playroom and selected a number of things for Goodwill or to gift to our church’s nursery. And when the kids went down for a nap, we hung shelves in the kitchen. Sonja is the one who is best at things like that, and she made certain that they were level. Then she ordered groceries while I oiled my new charcuterie board and cleaned the top of the refrigerator. It was mundane, but it was what we both wanted.
Later in the afternoon, our neighbors and their children came to dinner. It was good to see them, as our busy lives have left little room to spend time together, never mind our geographical proximity. We started with sparkling wine and an impressive cheese board that Sonja arranged. Then I put the steaks on the grill that our neighbors had provided and we chatted a while, with four little toddlers darting in and out of the room asking for grapes and cheese every couple of minutes. I vaguely remember being that toddler when my parents had people over, or at least I think I do.
A near-mishap with the beautifully marbled T-bones on my erratically behaved grill led to some pretty great steaks, and I burnt my fingers on a lid that had just come out of the oven. Despite this, dinner was a success — Sonja had added bacon to her brussel sprouts, my mashed potatoes turned out, and we made sure to pair it all with wine worthy of our anniversary and the company we had over.
The first wine was a 2013 Ledson Alexander Valley “Estate Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon. 2013 was the year of our wedding, and the Ledson Castle in Sonoma Valley was one of our first stops, and one of the places that made us fall in love with good wine on our honeymoon. Steve Noble Ledson is a staple of Sonoma, and someone we’ve come to admire over the years as we’ve made it a point to return to Ledson again and again and again. This wine has, in recent vintages, earned extremely high scores, though for us it’s not the numbers that make us love Ledson so much. I decanted it for about an hour, the dark, rich fruit breathing deeply after seven years in the bottle. It was a gorgeous wine, earthy with a profile of black fruits and subtle leather, and it would easily age another decade if you wanted it to. I loved the elegant, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon with the Nebraska beef, every sip bringing back another wonderful memory of Sonja and my honeymoon seven years ago.
The second wine was also from a Sonoma producer that we visited the same day on our honeymoon. Robledo’s 2013 Napa Cab is killer, and after the same hour-long decant it was pleasantly opened up, with a vibrant cherry profile and little hints of spicebox lingering near the finish. The Robledo Family came to California from Mexico to work harvests, and over time became citizens and saved up enough money to open a winery. It’s an amazing story. This wine, too, paired nicely with the meal and brought back some wonderful memories.
The centerpiece of our table was a bouquet of eight roses, plated in gold. Over the years, I’ve had to find different producers for them, and they don’t all match perfectly, but I give one to Sonja every year on our anniversary and they make a nice visual reminder of our time spent together. Soon, we’ll need a large container for them to reside in.
The meal ended with a delicious dessert of Jones Brothers cupcakes, the kids up past their bedtime, and my belly threatening to burst. Our neighbors said their goodbyes, I read Harry Potter to Titus, and we all bedded down for the night. It was a terrific day, productive, spent together, and with excellent food and company — just the way an anniversary, or any other special day, should be. I look forward to seven more years with Sonja, and seven times seven more after that. Thanks for reading, and have an excellent start to your week!