The Downside of Routine


Sonja noticed that I was a little out of sorts last night before I might’ve said anything. I got home from a meeting and was packing clothes and a protein shake for Friday morning before I went to pick up the kids. She didn’t say anything at the time, but later, as we were microwaving leftovers together for dinner, the kids sing-yelling and repeatedly hopping down off of their stools at the kitchen island, she asked what was up.

I told her that I have developed the perfect routine for who I am: I wake up at 4AM, write for an hour while I sip coffee, empty the dishwasher, then go workout. I teach all day, go to practice or meetings, then pick up the kids from daycare. We eat dinner together, take a bath or play in the playroom, then I read to Titus from Harry Potter and tuck him in. I go downstairs, make sure the kitchen is clean, go back upstairs, brush my teeth, hop in bed, and read from my book before going to sleep. It sounds perfect to me just writing it down — each day encompasses so many of my favorite things by design. And yet, admittedly, it’s also a little stifling. As I was mulling it over last night, talking to my supportive wife, I couldn’t help but feel as if some of the spontaneity that I once had was missing from my routine.

“Want to have a glass of wine tonight?” I asked, expecting her to object on the grounds that it was a weeknight.  “If it will help,” she smiled, to my surprise. At one point not long ago, a glass of wine or three on a Thursday night would have been the norm. Now it is a rarity, in part, I suppose, because our routines do not allow for it. As we went through the rest of our night, giving the kids a bath and whatnot, I found a new sense of optimism, a happiness that came from knowing we were going to break from our nightly routine.

We have a pretty well-stocked cellar in the house, but as everyone knows, not all wine is created equally. Lately, I’ve felt that it’s important to be drinking the best stuff we’ve got, not to be overly indulgent, but simply because that’s what it’s for and I’m not going to be able to take it with me. We have a few very nice bottles that are definitely past their drinking window and, well, they’re essentially just decorations now. With this in mind, I tracked down a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that was given to us by a neighbor last summer when we discovered our mutual appreciation of good wine. I have been excited to try this one ever since she dropped it by.


J. Rochioli is a prestigious name in wine, a boutique producer in Sonoma County’s esteemed Russian River Valley, an AVA best known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. To be honest, I had never had one of their wines before. I got the fire going and asked Alexa to play Madeline Peyroux, then cleared Titus and Zooey’s toys from the couch and sat down to wait for Sonja. She arrived shortly after putting Zooey down.

Not surprisingly the 2015 J. Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc “Old Vines” is truly excellent. It maintains a delicate balance between the crispness and acidity of the varietal, and the classic, Old World approach to Sauv Blanc characterized by an element of depth that comes from brief exposure to oak, most likely neutral. Few wines I’ve had manage to juxtapose these two styles side-by-side in quite the same fashion as this one; the minerality, vibrant stone fruit profile, and mouth-watering acidity kept time beautifully with an elegant, rounded mouthfeel and a degree of complexity that could never be born in stainless steel.  This is an age-worthy wine, somewhat rare for the varietal; it was, simply put, one of the best Sauv Blancs I’ve ever had.

Our conversation rolled from politics into finances, mild frustrations with work, upcoming trips to Willamette and Sonoma, and more. At one point, we disagreed about the Brown & Allen, our square grant piano that was manufactured in Boston shortly after the American Civil War. I want the kids to start lessons soon, but the piano most likely needs to be restrung. The solution my Philistine wife came up with is to replace it with a keyboard. That garnered a hard “no” from me.  I’ll call someone tomorrow about working on it.

In all, this deviation from our routine was welcome, and quite possibly even needed. I didn’t get to read from my book last night, but it will still be there tonight when I’m ready for it. And now, having spent the past hour writing, I’ll hit “publish” on this post, unload the dishwasher, and head to the gym. I enjoy my routine, though after last night and how a great bottle of wine once again lifted my spirits, I suspect I’ll attempt to break from it a bit more frequently moving forward.



5 responses to “The Downside of Routine

  1. For the whites, I found that the wines from New Zealand and Australia are very good if you like the citrusy side. Also, Sting, the singer, bought Il Palagio winery a few years ago and makes some very good wines. We just finished a bottle of Roxanne 2017, and really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve only tried the ROXANNE 2017, a Tuscan white. Very smooth and dry with a more expensive taste. Not too much on the citrus but it does have a definite lime flavor.


  3. Good share Mark. I’m of similar mindset regarding routine but mine does include that glass daily. It’s more mental comfort than anything else, but you do know I love the grapes. Thanks for the good read and excellent review too.

    Liked by 1 person

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