Best Beverage Moments of Last Year

Well it is about time! As usual I am behind with the blog posts so here I am frantically playing catch with a special weekend edition. After having a month to dig deep into my memory bank, and Instagram, here is the best of the best that was consumed over the course of 2017:

10. Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal

I feel like mezcal has been on the rise, both as a standalone sipper (which I love) and amongst the cocktail scene. This fine beverage was able to stall my New Year’s resolution of hitting the gym more often and it was oh-so worth it. Paired up with the chips and guac I had for dinner my brain continued to tell me, “Only good decisions this year.” I guess this must have been one of them.

07 Paloma9. 2007 Paloma Merlot

I pretty sure you have seen me talk/type about this before BUT Paloma still is my benchmark for Merlot in the Napa Valley and the reason that I am making Merlot today. Frankly if you still have not tried this wine you need to change that. Like right now. I honestly cannot remember the circumstances behind opening this bottle… it was some point before my birthday in February… which was probably all the reason we needed to pop this bad boy open.

 

Tribault Champagne8. 1998 G. Tribaut Champagne

My mom randomly found this in her cellar in February 2017. As it turns out this bottle is from my trip to Europe with my grandparents in 2005 after I had graduated high school. They had, foolishly, brought me along as a “congratulations” but also to attend wedding in Venlo Holland (I night I do not remember much of… at all). Before said wedding festivities we went to Champagne and stayed in a small town outside of Reims. To this day it was still my favorite wine tasting experience I have ever gone through. I purchased two bottles, one for my mom and one for my dad, that I packed in my suitcase for the rest of the trip to get them home.

7. 1996 Dalle Valle Maya

It is always cool to try old wines, especially those from friends that are super tasty. I am pretty sure we opened this the same night as the 1998 Champagne for a belated birthday party at my folks place. 20 years young was my caption for the photo and it was the truth. This wine had not missed a beat.

1987 Party6. The ’87 Party!

As is tradition a bunch of us wine industry yahoos get together and open up some old wines that we have either hunted down or had stashed away for a rainy day. There were a TON of gems in the lineup. Our contribution was a magnum of 1987 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet but the stars of the show for me were the ’87 d’Yquem and Sassicaia. As always this party is a great reminder to not let special wines pass you by. Find or make an occasion up and pop them open!

5. 2005 Raymond Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon

This was one of the first wines I got to know really well when I moved back to Napa. When I started working at Raymond in 2008 they were getting into what they called their “District” Cabernet Sauvignons which were presentations of different appellations made in relatively the same style. It was very cool to see a single winemakers influence between the three they had released (St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville). The Oakville was continually my favorite and to try it 12 years down the road was awesome.

4. 2013 Scarecrow

This was the first time that I was able to try this mystical unicorn of a wine and it happened to be at an AMAZING event at a private estate in between St. Helena and Calistoga. The whole event was centered around what we, as a community, could do to help the relief efforts after the fires that swept through our area. It was amazing to see producers like this pop up to support the cause since they are rarely seen at larger event pourings outside of Auction Napa Valley, Premiere Napa Valley or other similar charitable events. It meant quite a bit and it was also very humbling to see so many from different walks of life come together to support one another.

Three Dots and a Dash3. That random Tiki Bar I found in a basement in Chicago

I love exploring! Though I have been to Chicago a couple of times previously I did not have a ton of time to myself to simply get lost and explore. After a wine event in the North River area I went on a search for sustenance. It was around 11pm or midnight when I had found a ramen bar to help warm me up on this slightly rainy and cold night. After I had my fill I hopped on the Google and started looking for libations. It just so happened that across the street and down an alleyway there was supposed to be a tiki bar. So I wandered into a slightly-lit Chicago alleyway by myself until I found a door that a couple of folks had walked out of for a smoke. I went in said door (not knowing where I would end up because there is no sign for this place) and found Three Dots and a Dash. I proceeded to have a tiki drink, and then two more, before walking back to my hotel. It became one of those moments alone with the noise of a city and people around you that was incredibly soothing.

01 Red Rock Terrace2. 2001 Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon

I had been eyeing this wine for six years… Brittany had this stashed way and as usual we were waiting for the “right time” to crack it open. It just so happened that the right time was Christmas. It was the first time in a looooooong time that I did not spend Christmas at home. We had decided to make our way over to Reno to celebrate it with her family for a change. It was very fun enjoying some new traditions and just doing something different. While my own family was missed it was great to spend the holiday with a group of people that I will be lucky enough to call family (officially) this May.

1. That tequila shot at Mary’s after getting engaged!

More proof that tequila shots are still, and forever will be, a bad decision despite the celebratory nature of them. They are especially terrible/delicious after a full day of drinking when the ring doesn’t show up on time and one of your best friends has to fly it up with him to get it to you at about 11pm instead of having it on you to propose prior to dinner that night around 5 or 6pm. Apparently overnight shipping from Los Angeles TAKES THREE DAYS to get to Napa. Anyway… we still had a boatload of fun. I would have a photo of this but we were in an establishment that didn’t exactly allow photography… Love you babe!

-Manderson

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