Small World in California
Posted: Jan 3, 2007 12:00pm ET
I arrived at my father's house in San Diego the other evening and there was an open magnum of wine sitting on the kitchen counter, with "Zin '05" marked on the side of the Burgundy-shaped bottle.
"I wanted you to try this wine and let me know what you think," he said.
"Even my dad wants to test me!" I thought to myself. As the saying goes, no rest for the weary.
So, I didn't even get the bags out of my car — and there were loads of them from Christmas with my two children traveling with me — and I stuck my nose in the glass of young Zin.
It was dark colored, with rich aromas of chocolate, berry, cherry and a hint of coffee. It was full bodied, with full and soft tannins and a long caressing finish. Serious stuff.
I thought to myself: what could this be? This is going to be embarrassing when I give 90 points to the home-made wine from one of my old man's friends, who grows grapes in his garden in Temecula or some other God forsaken place. Here goes …
"Dad, this is really serious stuff. I really like it. It's outstanding. I would give it 90 points," I said, sort of nervously.
I felt like a man in front of the firing squad, waiting for the sound of the rifles. But the guns never went off.
The wine was serious stuff. It was the 2005 Zinfandel Priest Ranch from St. Helena High School. The Sherwin Family Vineyards
made the wine. The grapes came from vineyards in St. Helena that the students grew and harvested and helped vinify.
Apparently, one bottle of this nectar sold, at a local St. Helena auction, for $19,000, to Koerner Rombauer of Rombauer Vineyards
, who paid such an outrageous price to show support for the program. The rest of the production went to the families of the high school students and, I assume, a few teachers.
What a fun story. When I went to high school in Newport Beach, I only surfed and played tennis. Wish I had made wine …
Anyway, my dad's friend is James Zoll, principal of St. Helena High School. And he sent the bottle to San Diego. Small world.