A “New Normal” Wednesday (with more winery deals)

Yesterday, Harris County (which includes all of the City of Houston) issued a “stay at home” order. How will that affect my “normal” life? Well, the kids have been home since last Monday and have been having their “normal” class schedule every day. Some of the teachers, though, seem to think it is perfectly “normal” to dismiss their class early (as in thirty minutes early) or, better still, to give them the entire period off.

What does that mean for me? Well, it means that I get absolutely nothing done all day. My wife, who is a pediatric oncologist, leaves for work every day at 6:30 a.m., not to return until around the same time in the evening (if she’s lucky). No, as far as I know, there is not a single patient in the hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the country, that has tested positive for COVID-19 or whatever the heck they are calling it today.

Not that my wife would have anything to do with the care of such patients (they would likely be in the ICU–not her area), but nonetheless she is putting in 12 hour days. If it sounds like I’m complaining, well, I am. I would like you to think that I was worried about the welfare of my wife, working so many hours, but, well, that is not the case.

No, what I’m complaining about is that I’m now responsible for how “well” my kids adapt to this new “normal.” Sure, it has never been verbalized as such, but we all know it’s there. Nathan gets let out of “class” early? Maybe he should spend that time wisely, say studying for the SAT. How do I know this? Well, despite the fact that no one really knows the next time the SAT will be administered, a very large SAT study book (it’s 800 freaking pages long) showed up on our doorstep the other day. I didn’t order it and Nathan sure as hell didn’t….

And people wonder why I drink.

If you find yourself in a similar situation (or even if you don’t) and need some vino to get you through the week, here are some more deals.

The Winery: Acquiesce Winery

The Skinny: I sat here trying to identify a single adjective to describe what Sue Tipton is doing in Lodi, but I could not choose just one: cool, exciting, crazy, ballsy. From the start, Sue has only made white wines (and one rosé). In a world (and region, for that matter) where red wine rules, Sue continues to only make whites (and one rosé). And these are not just any whites (and one rosé). No Chardonnay, no Sauvignon Blanc. But plenty of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Picpoul, and Bourboulenc. Bourboulenc?? Are you kidding?

Wines to Buy: All the whites (and one rosé) are fabulous, but if you had to choose, you have to go with the Picpoul and the Bourboulenc (both are $28)–why the heck wouldn’t you? Your guests will never guess what it is and you will come off as being a total wine geek rock star. That is when you once again can have guests. Maybe your spouse will be impressed? (And the one rosé is stellar too–$25.)

The Deal: $15 shipping on orders under 12 bottles, free shipping on cases.

The Link: Acquiesce Winery

Sue Tipton’s Grenache Blanc is fantastic.

The Winery: Jason Stephens Winery and Alara Cellars

The Skinny: As I wrote last August, Janu Goelz (winemaker and owner of Alara Cellars) is extremely talented and multi-faceted: she was a Bollywood actress, a TV weather-person in San Francisco, a fashion designer, and now a winemaker. Her husband’s main talent, other than being a fine winemaker, was convincing Janu to marry him.

Wines to Buy: Jason’s best wines are perhaps his Bordeaux varieties, particularly his Merlot ($24. Yeah, I know, merlot). Janu seems to have never met a variety she hasn’t liked and makes a ton of different wines. I would opt for the Sangiovese ($41) or the Negrette ($45–another wine no one will ever guess).

The Deal: Free Shipping on all orders. They are two separate wineries but give them a call if you want to combine an order.

The Links: Jason-Stephens Winery; Alara Cellars

Janu Goelz. I’m sure that Jason took the photo.


The Winery: Pedroncelli Winery

The Skinny: Even though Ed St. John, vice president of something at Pedroncelli, would never admit it, I have probably written more about Pedroncelli (which was founded by John Pedroncelli–Julie’s (Ed’s wife) grandfather–in 1927) than any other winery. He would admit, however, that when the two of us get together, we tend to tick off everyone within earshot, including one another.

Wines to Buy: Pedroncelli makes countless wines (I am sure Ed counts them, but…) and they all share two common traits: they are all good and they are all underpriced. I have been telling Ed this for years, but so far he hasn’t listened (but he doesn’t listen to anything I say, so…).  I really like their Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé (both $17) and the Mother Clone Zinfandel ($19).

The Deal: $5 shipping on cases (use code “SipSonoma”).

The Link: Pedroncelli Winery

The Bushnell Zin and the Block 007 Cab (both $26) are stupid-great values.

The Winery: Tongue Dancer Wines

The Skinny: I first met Kerry and James MacPhail about four years ago when a good friend introduced me. I have to admit that I was a bit star-struck at the time since James is one of the icons in Sonoma Pinot Noir. Since meeting them and getting the chance to spend a bit of time with them over the last few years, it has become clear that James is not the icon. Sure, he makes great wines, but if it were not for Kerry, they probably would be still sitting in some warehouse–while James is perhaps the creative force behind the wines, Kerry is just about everything else.

Wines to Buy: All of the wines are incredible, albeit on the pricey side, and I know that James made his name with Pinot, but I think his Chardonnays are otherworldly. Their Bacigalupi Chardonnay ($55) will change your life. The Pinots tend to be on the big, rich side, but there is a new one, “The Sly One” which promises to be more reserved (I have not tried it yet, but as with all of Kerry and James’ wines, I would buy it before tasting it, just knowing). I also really love their Rosé of Pinot Noir ($22) even though it is a saignée (yeah, that bothers me).

The Deal: Free Shipping on all orders over $150.

The Link: Tongue Dancer Wines

This is James MacPhail being chatty.








About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.