Ever have a song or a saying stick in your mind and you can’t for the life of you get it out of your brain, and sometimes not even know why it’s there in the first place? Well, that’s kinda what’s happening in this post and hence the title.
I do know why the title is in my head, the Kentucky Derby just ran and the other two races of the Triple Crown are forthcoming. So a horse racing metaphor isn’t too unlikely. What is, is that in trying to decide a title for this post, that saying just kept popping into my frontal lobe (I really have no idea if that’s where ideas reside).
As I said in my intro a few days ago about writing down my thoughts and experiences from the recent industry tasting I attended, I did piece together a draft or organization of my thoughts. To kick things off, this racing metaphor just kept nagging me, so I just decided to go with it, I hate arguing with myself as I generally lose!
Another nagging saying is, but maybe more appropriate, let’s start at the beginning. Where the heck else do you start? I guess if I was a movie fanatic, I could start in the middle and then do a prequel?? No, I like order when possible, so the beginning it is. . . .
Besides, what makes this beginning so interesting is that after arriving at the venue a little early (more like an hour), I waited, sitting patiently, for the event to start. The bustle of distributors, winery reps, and pourers making their way into the gallery. On one particular occasion, I did happen to look up and notice this stately gentleman walk back out of the room and settle in at a chair not far from where I was sitting. Déjà vu hit me and seeing a portion of his name badge it didn’t take me long to know who it was. Randy Lewis, from Lewis Cellars. Having just done a “Wine-Sum-More” column on his 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (great wine by the way, or BTW as the youngsters say), recognition was split second from initial contact.
This part is a little embarrassing, but germane to this blog. I started to get a sense of excitement and even some butterflies in my stomach with the idea that I knew I would have to go over and introduce myself. Embarrassing in that it made me feel like a teenage groupie at a rock concert. I’m obviously no teenager unless you multiply teens by 4 or 5! This isn’t a rock concert either, but loving the wines from Lewis Cellars, allows me to look upon Randy, as well as other people in the wine biz, as rock stars. I guess I still am a little kid at heart.
So anyway, I walk over and do a quick intro, say how much I love his wines and say that I’ll see him at his table to sample his selections. Be still my beating heart! (I know, WAY TOO MUCH).
As per my modus operandi, the doors open and I first like to do a complete walk-around. Now I’ve already highlighted wines I don’t want to miss, but I have found looking over the wines on the tables, gives me a better sense of what and how to proceed.
The outer room circumvented, I move to the main hall. Who do I see immediately as I enter? You guessed it, Randy (I can call him by his first name as per our first meeting). No one has yet to belly up to the table, so I stop my Chris Columbus exploration (Columbus – circumvent the globe/tasting – get it?) and we proceed to try the four wines.
I could write all about each of the wines, but as you might guess, I loved them all! So I’ll try and keep this part short as I know I’ve probably written more than I usually do already.
First up are the new Chardonnays from the 2017 Vintage; Sonoma County Russian River Valley and the Napa Valley. Sonoma/RRV for its softer touch and Napa for a bigger and bolder wine. For me, a slight nod towards the Napa, although Wine Spectator just rated both 92 Points. We even did a glass clink with the first wine. Why is there never a photographer when you need one? Next up was Alec’s Blend from 2016, a blend of 61% Syrah, 38% Merlot and 1% Petite Sirah that just knocked my socks off, and rated 93 Points by Wine Spectator. The pièce de résistance was the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley. A stunning wine, youthful but with plenty of potential for aging and for drinking. 100% Cabernet from what is sizing up to be an outstanding vintage in Napa. Lastly (at least for now) lest we not forget that his 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon was Wine Spectator’s Number 1 wine for 2016! That should qualify him as a Rock Star!
So I’ve gone way over my usual amount of words. If most of you really knew me…so I’ll bring to a close this first chapter to the tasting and mention that, as with this post, my next will also include wines where I met either the winemaker or owner; that’s a part of my organization. After that, I’m still in the discussion stage, with myself of course. At least with a discussion, I don’t lose to myself!