The Truth About Wine

  • Wine IS simple. But only if that’s what you want from it.
  • Wine IS complicated. But only if you want it to be.
  • The Fountain of Youth was filled with wine.
  • Great wine ought to reflect the philosophy of the winemaker.
  • Scores are meaningless for 99.9999% of us. How do you put a number to the stuff you were drinking when she said yes?wine bottles
  • If the winemaker is doing it right, he butts the hell out…until (and if) he’s really needed.
  • Like Hamlet, wine is bottomless. There is always something more to learn about the great ones.
  • Biodynamics may be a hoax. Or…it may be the best way so far to represent a proper relationship between farmer and earth.    
  • NOBODY knows what terroir is.
  • It’s ok to get emotional over a great glass. Wine likes that.
  • If anyone tells you you’re drinking the wrong wine, he’s trying to sell you something else.
  • Great wine changes over time. Not always for the better…but if you’re interested in the interesting then the ride is usually worth the price of admission.
  • Great Cabernet Franc is as sexy as wine gets.
  • Wine’s first responsibility is to be delicious.
  • The best wines appeal to the head, the heart, and…the loins.

The (Un) Un-sung Hero

Harvest time is the most beautiful kind of hell. It is grueling; it is full of moments of clenching indecision; it takes you away from your family for 18 hours a day, and leaves the remaining moments that aren’t devoted to a tidbit of sleep, full of self-recrimination and self-loathing. But…in the end, you get this beautiful thing…this liquid treasure that carries 20140826_124303 (1)all your best hopes and prayers for purity. That’s if you didn’t screw things up. If you paid attention. If you curried the favor of the right gods. And also, most importantly, if you worked with the right people.

Like me, Craig Ploof learned about winemaking by doing winemaking. I met Craig first as a member of the Steven Kent wineclub years ago, we became friends, he wanted to learn to make wine and I wanted to make better wine. A few years ago, he started helping me while he had a full-time gig. And knowing a good and dedicated thing, I hired him to help me full-time. It takes a particularly morbid and self-aware person to plan ahead for the worst possible scenarios, and being only partially morbid (and only under the influence of too much Scotch), I didn’t plan for the love of my life to get sick and for our lives to change forever.

The grapes don’t know the troubles of men and come in when they are ready. And thankfully for us, Craig was ready too. Even more than normal, he has worked like a dog, putting in an ungodly number of hours, and making some really nice wine. More than these things – important as they are – he has allowed me to be with my wife and kids, charting our course through these fucked-up waters.

I will never be able to repay him for this.

The WineLife Got Really Real

The 2014 harvest was always going to be a special one. It was the year of changing our relationship with the winemaking facility in which we worked, Craig Ploof’s first vintage as a full-time assistant winemaker for Steven Kent, the year we actually bought a forklift of our own.

The season itself was also a special one…3 weeks early to start and a compacted rush of fruit within a week to end it very early as well.

Those “new” and “special” things were nothing though, when we found out on September 23rd that my wife, June, had been diagnosed with a grade 4 Glioblastoma…a particularly nasty kind of brain tumor.

A lot of what seemed sure has come tumbling down, and it is taking time to wrap my mind around our new life. Most of what I thought I knew, I don’t anymore. Except the most important things: we are surrounded by many people who love us and who can never be adequately repaid for all the kindness they have shown us in the last month, and June Mirassou, the woman I first met 32 years ago in our Freshman dorm, is the Best person I have ever known.

There will be much more to come in these pages about June’s courage, and her feistiness, and my love and admiration for her, but suffice it to say that getting back on the blogging horse is a many-stepped process.

If you want to read really excellent writing, check out June’s blog here.