What do you open to celebrate those big moments in life?

To follow up on my Father’s Day post, this week my wife gave birth to a healthy and beautiful baby girl and we couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s one of those surreal events that changes your life forever and is deserving of a proper bottle to celebrate the occasion. While it may seem like a trivial afterthought considering what a blessing it is just to have a healthy child enter the world, it’s those small yet meaningful celebrations that can stick with you for years to come. I still remember my epiphany wine (the bottle that first sparked my passion), the bottle I opened when I proposed to my wife (and she miraculously accepted), the over-sized bottle we had everyone sign at our wedding, the bottle we opened to celebrate my son’s birth and the bottle we served at his Baptism (coincidentally the same bottle from our wedding). So deciding what to open with my wife to celebrate this joyous occasion is not so trivial in my book.

Over the past day or two I have had some internal debate about the subject. My first instinct was to go with a high end Napa Cab that we acquired from one of our trips to wine country. While it would clearly be delicious and memorable, without the right meal it may be a bit overpowering. I’m not sure we are quite ready to fire up the grill and cook up some big boy steaks to pair with such a wine just yet. So I thought about a Pinot Noir from the same trip, something that may not need the meal alongside it to enjoy. But Pinot is not really my wife’s favorite and I want it to be as enjoyable for her as it is for me.

So this led me to the somewhat obvious answer… bubbles! I was thinking it really should be a Champagne for an event such as this, but at the end of the day I know my wife prefers the California sparklers which tend to be a little less yeasty. And then it dawned on me…we picked up a couple of bottles of Domaine Carneros (owned by famed French Champagne producer Taittinger) Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour on our last trip to Napa. While at the vineyard we sipped it on their outdoor veranda on a beautiful day overlooking the Carneros vineyards with two of our closest friends and of course our son running and playing around the garden. Yeah, that was a pretty good day. The idea of bringing back some of those memories and starting some new ones with that particular bottle sounds pretty good to me! Oh, and of course… it’s pink ;)

The purpose of saving those special bottles, and opening the right ones at the right time, is all about creating long lasting and meaningful memories. I am sure I’m not the only one that associates certain wines with monumental events that are relived when that same bottle is opened at a future time. Wine can encompass so much nostalgia and emotion which is one of the main reasons people (including myself) are so passionate about it. It’s not just about drinking, it’s about embracing and celebrating life with those that are closest to you.

So the next time you are in the midst of an occasion that is deserving of opening a special bottle, take some time to think about what you select. After all, it may be something you hold with you for many years to come.

Cheers!

A Father’s Day Thought…

While typically I would write a post on what the best Father’s Day wines are this year while working in a couple of feeble attempts at humor, I can’t seem to wrap my head around that this year. Wine is always a great gift (it is what my dad asks for every birthday, Father’s Day, Sunday…whatever!), and as long as you know the preference of the recipient and get something in their realm of enjoyment then it’s pretty tough to go wrong. My pops is all about California these days, so I guess it’s just a question of which Napa Cab to pick up.

However with a son that just turned two and our second child due literally any day now, Father’s Day is starting to take on some new meaning for me. Not in the hallmark sense, but in what it means to be a father. I feel like love is not a big enough word for the emotion that parents feel for their children. It is this innate and powerful force that encompasses feelings of care, fear, protection, worry, empathy, frustration, futility, generosity, pleasure and dozens of other emotions but of course mostly…unconditional love.

It’s hard to describe the elation you feel when your child learns to do something so simple, like ride a scooter, and to recognize his pride in his own accomplishment. On the other end of the spectrum, the heartbreak we experience when seeing our own child endure any kind of pain, sadness or disappointment can be utterly devastating. And of course none of this compares to the anticipation, excitement and anxiety of welcoming a child into this world and taking on the responsibility of caring for another human being.

So what’s the point? I’m not really sure to be honest. But if I have a point I guess it is this…If I have experienced all of this in the first two years of fatherhood, I can only imagine what the future has in store. It helps me to understand why parents sometimes act the way they do as no matter how old you may be, you are always someone’s “child”. But mostly, it gives me a new perspective and respect for parents everywhere as the roller coaster of emotions they have experienced over the years must be surreal… and something I genuinely look forward to.

So be sure to toast your dad this weekend with a glass of his favorite wine, and mom too! After all the nonsense you have put them through over the years, it’s the least you can do ;)

Cheers!

Have you checked out that new wine bar in Larchmont?

If not, then you should! Crush Wine Bar is right on Palmer Ave next to the Larchmont Playhouse and it is certainly worth a visit. I had the pleasure of attending last week with two of the most respected, and all around good guys in the Westchester food and wine industry, Peter Kelly of Xaviars/X2O and Marc Newman of Trinchero Family Estates. If these guys give it the thumbs up then you know its gotta be good! We sat with owner Jennifer Deutsch for awhile but she was pretty busy making sure her guests were all well taken care of and enjoying themselves, a great quality in a restauranteur.

This “wine bar” title gets thrown around a little too often lately, with every restaurant offering more than three wines by the glass classifying themselves as such. But that is not the case with Crush. With over 30 wines available by the glass, and another 30 by the bottle, the wine selection is quite impressive. The list is definitely California driven with some solid selections from France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand appropriately mixed in. The menu also includes wine pairing recommendations for each dish, a very helpful addition if you are in need of a little guidance.

First we had the 2010 Menage a Trois Napa white blend, part of Marc’s Trinchero portfolio. While most people are familiar with their Zinfandel based red blend this Chardonnay, Muscat and Chenin Blanc combo is crisp and refreshing with zesty tropical fruits. It’s like a baby Conundrum (Caymus’s white wine blend) at about half the price. We paired it up with a watermelon chip and tzatziki dish which worked out very well.

Next we ordered up a meat and cheese platter including some incredibly fresh prosciutto, sopressata, brie, manchego and parmesan. Crush has a cool option of creating your own platter from a handful of different meats and cheeses. Alongside that we also had the bacon wrapped dates with almonds which screamed for a red. Marc opted for his Dona Paula 2010 Malbec from Mendoza which was a perfect fit with the meaty goodness of the bacon and dates. It’s a smooth and supple value wine that comes out of the bottle ready to drink. In fact it was so good that one bottle just wasn’t enough ;)

With a vast and approachable wine selection along with the culinary experience of celebrity chef Alex Garcia, it would appear that Crush will be “crushing” it for years to come. It offers a perfect atmosphere for those looking to stop in for a glass of wine while strolling around Larchmont, or even for a full night out as their tapas style menu allows you to sip and pick all night. Check it out next time you’re in that neck of the woods.
Cheers!