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Angels in Tuxedo T-shirts

Posted: Jun 18, 2007 6:09pm ET

This may have to be a two-part blog. Once I get to waffling, there's no stopping me. Hence the tendency for run-on and fragmented sentences. I call it poetic license. My English teacher/stepmother called it a C-.

As I'd mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not sure I have a Nagual Del SENSEI for 06. The Cab we have in the cellar just isn't the same breed of Cab we've had in the '04 or '05. Thank you all for submitting comments on this subject. You were all very helpful. And I fully agree with the overall sentiment. The good news is that there may be a few standout barrels. If this is the case, I may do an extremely low quantity. Even if it's only one barrel in the cellar. As long as it matches the template, I'll do it. But I won't do a large quantity of substandard Sensei.

What I will most certainly be doing is a fourth blend called Nagual Del MARZO, named after my Great-Grandfather Marzo. We have quite a bit of beautiful Merlot, Cab Franc and Cab in the cellar. I plan on coming up with my own interpretation of an Italian super Tuscan. A Paso Robles/Templeton version of Masseto or Ornellaia. This will provide a home for the softer, more subtle Cabs that didn't make it up to the "Big Balls" water mark I established for the Sensei.

Now we get into the "Kashmir" portion of our rant. Keep in mind that I know very little about Great-Grandfather Marzo. I know only that he and his family grew grapes and made wine in northern Italy, near the French/Swiss borders. That is until WW2, when the chaos compelled them to leave their home and flee to the U.S. I've heard that their home is now a B & B. I know that there is at least one, possibly two generations between winemakers due to this exodus. What I don't know is countless. I have no idea what varietals he grew. I have only clues as to the location of this supposed B & B. But most importantly, I don't even know Marzo's full name.

Hang in there. I'm getting to the point.

So here I am a few weeks ago at Bern's Steakhouse, in Tampa, Fla. My father (born in 1939) has flown in from Michigan to visit my uncle Herb (born in 1922), whom I haven't seen in roughly 30 years. Bern's is one of the few places on Planet Earth you can open bottles of 1922 and 1940 Lafite to celebrate this sort of reunion. They didn't have a '39 to match my father's birth year, but I'm not gonna complain. Both were outstanding and well preserved. (We had a 1943 Latour the evening prior, which blew them both away, but only for a moment. It was absolutely divine and within 15 minutes fell completely apart. I never even set down my glass. What an experience.)

Uncle Herb was quite pleased to hear about my new venture in Arizona. I told him all about the vineyards and the blends. And told him how I would be doing a new blend in honor of his Grandfather and Winemaker called Nagual Del MARZO. I explained that I knew next to nothing about him, including his full name. Herb said, "His name is John Marzo, but his nickname was Spirit." I looked around the table to see if Todd or my Dad were messing with me. I just figured they told Herb to say that, since they are both prone to those sorts of pranks. Not the case.

John Spirit Marzo. I then explained to Herb that "Nagual Del Marzo" means "the Spiritual Essence of Marzo." Eyes filled with tears of joy, the heavens parted, music flooded the room, angels sauntered down, and we all retired to the dessert room for chocolate soufflé and 1822 Madeira.

Andrew J Walter
Sacramento,CA —  June 18, 2007 7:24pm ET
Crafted wine should have a story and this is an esp good one. I know I've blogged about this before, but I am really looking forward to see how you apply your vision and resources to AZ grapes / wine
Elijah Rosenthal
Toledo, Ohio —  June 18, 2007 11:54pm ET
Sounds like it was an awesome experience that you had with your family. There truely is nothing better than great food, great wine and people you love. Do you have any plans to travel to Nothern Italy to research your family roots?
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  June 19, 2007 4:19pm ET
Maynard, This certainly sounds like quite the story...and I'm excited to see what the final blend settles at. Will there be a published list of the number of cases for your 2005 wines?
Michael Kult
Omaha, NE —  June 27, 2007 9:29pm ET
Maynard,My wife and I both believe in harboring family roots and traditions in food and wine, moreso than the new trend of coming up with fancy new blends or complicated recipes. Classical pairings have always been based on traditional flavors with emphasis on local/regional ingredients and fresh tastes. It is refreshing to see an up-and-comer focusing on this traditional basis, and we wish you luck on your venture to find out more about your family's roots in wine. It has been very interesting to follow your progress and hear about the journey from vine to bottle in a growing winery.Best of luck from us!How can we get a case in Nebraska?Mike and Krisi
NY —  July 13, 2007 12:57pm ET
Maynard,Hoping this message finds you doing well on tour.I will be at the show tomorrow night (Sat. 07/14) in Albany, NY.Wanted to see if you'd be interested in cracking a great bottle of wine before or after the show. I have a few to choose from but the one I think that would appeal to you the most is a 1993 Castello D'Ama Vigna L'Apparita.Drop me a line if you're interested: chris@sokolin.com.Thanks,Chris C.

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