Monthly Archives: December 2009

Don’t Touch My….

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the lord my soul to keep

Tonight I drank ‘96 DeLille Cellars D2

Nothing can top it, Lord, not even you.

If I should die before the sun shines

Take my soul, Lord, but don’t touch my wine!

The German and I received this as an engagement gift (a couple of years ago) from Stacy and Greg. We uncorked it with friends at the Sorrento, and I’m truly at a loss to describe the absolute magic in this bottle.  A special thank you. ~ ‘Tis the Season


Moon Schlein and Matzoh Balls

Schlein Vineyard is another of our Napa favorite wine producers.  I met owner Phil Schlein and Ira Zuckerman when I was in Napa two years ago for the wine writers symposium at Meadowood. Two guys with big hearts, making wine for all the right reasons.  And like Phil and Ira, their wines skip the overdone fanfare that some Napa wines thrive on, instead showing straightforward, no agenda unadulterated beauty. Named for property manager Emilio Perez as a salute to he and his fellow workers, Emilio’s Terrace, 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a sturdy blast of red fruit, ripe raspberry with a critically acclaimed, Broadway finish.  It’s the wine you keep talking about well-after the curtain comes down. Then, there’s the Moon Schlein, 2002, Merlot with a soft, matinee finish. Unfolding with smokey darkness, chocolate-covered bright blueberry against the density of my mom’s homemade matzoth balls and the crispicity of latkes made with, you guessed it, extra de-virginized canola oil. Marvelous!

Prayers go out to a very special Ira for new strength everyday.

We Found A Needle!

In fact we found a few…in the haystack, smartass, not on the sidewalk — it’s Napa for god’s sake!  In St. Clement Vineyard’s tasting room, we discovered a few luscious surprises.

  • 2005 Oroppas, Cabernet Sauvignon – The star of the show is easy to love!  Swirling ribbons of ripe boysenberry, raspberry and mountain fruit – soft and velvet tannins, yet structured in all the right places.
  • 2006 Oroppas – Similar, but different, this is a rich dark blend of dusty cocoa and dulce de leche, red plum and red currant.  Shiny and supple.
  • 2002 Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon – Styled old-world friendly, this wine pulls dried fruit, leather and hollow chocolate in with a grassy-pine finish.  It doesn’t brag, just shows you the facts.


Napa III of III

Madame to Matchmaker to Mazel Tov

I wanted to be a Madame.  Yes, it IS what you’re thinking. Seems I have a knack for pairing people with pleasure — or marriage anyway.  Instead (mostly for legal reasons) I became an unofficial matchmaker which means I don’t get paid to pimp my hot friends; I do it for free.

My most recent matchmaking triumph – pairing a close friend with a guy I used to date — or did I pimp the guy I used to date to a really close friend?  Either way – it worked out, and that’s a long way of saying my last trip to Napa (2 weeks ago) with the German, was for their wedding at Auberge Du Soleil and reception at Hall Winery. I wish I could tell you how much I loved Hall’s wines, but I was too wrapped up in the absolute magic of two good friends getting married (a.k.a. drank too much to remember).  As for the wines, what I do know is they are award-winning, and I hope to be more focused on them the next time I’m in Napa. Sorry Hall Winery. And if you missed it, Hall’s power couple owners, were featured in the New York Times.

Mazel Tov!


Napa – II of III

A Hole In (Opus) One

What does perfection look like? I suppose it has something to do with a non-wavering blend of quality, integrity and performance — super-human, maybe and the Opus One embodiment.  Stepping up to the tee-box, it’s Opus One 2006 Napa Valley Red Wine, folks.  This wine is untouchable, liquid gold in our mere-mortal eyes.  Vanilla spice and sugar-plum mesmerize the crowd, followed by a hush of licorice and black coffee density.   Here’s the set up: feet outside shoulders, knees pinched in, hands positioned on the right inner thigh…. and the backswing –blueberry and tight, bright cherry uncoil with the power of a chest and legs working in unison. Strong tannins and solid structure escalate the trajectory of yet another perfect drive straight down the fairway headed toward the green.  Earth and brown spice meld into a smoky, leather serenity that taps the tongue gently offering an unspoken “get in line, or else”. This is the pedestal wine, and from that view, it’s a loooong way down.  Can the fame last forever? Might the shiny, clean character ever be flawed? Are those tannins strong enough to ward off the urges of a cocktail waitress turned reality TV contestant – the impulses of a Las Vegas model or a marketing manager of a Las Vegas nightclub?

Pressure!  Oh the pressure!  But then…it is Opus One we’re talking about, isn’t it?


Note: $200 for a bottle/$30 for a glass in the tasting room.