Hope & Grace Wines, a visit to kindness and family, love, sense
Yountville on assignment for a client article on winery owners. My destination, no idea what to expect. Was nice to be in Yountville, had been too long. Small streets, clean, chic yet pedestrian and relatable, human, like a sleek simplicity. Something had hold of me walking into the room. Immediately recognized and identified with the lounge-like soupçon to the walls and front and back bars. Doug walked in, all invitation and smile. Something that would extent into our interview, and his words explaining how he relates to his clients, patients.
Yes, patients. Still a full-time practicing dentist with two locations. But more immediately, a wine lover and proprietor, valuer of community, humans and kindness. Met his daughter-in-law Chloe and her two sons. She out of nowhere gently and eagerly poured Doug and I some Pinot. Then a side-by-side of their additional Pinot project.
Not only consumed in the conversation and kindest but wrapped by the story, how everything started. His travels and career as a dentist, time at University of the Pacific…. Just a revolving narrative of genuine presence and eagerness to connect.
Tasted through the flight and brought home a Chardonnay and Cab. Both disclosing wildly impassioned dialogue and fiery kinds in their notes. Coltrane-like, with each glass-tilt. When home and writing my notes I thought of Chloe and Doug, and how they welcomed me, Doug’s wife Tiffany as well with her insistence I take a bottle of the Chardonnay home to study, write about. These stories and this intensity of feeling and connection don’t happen often in the wine world, at least for me, anymore.
The time passed with such cruel speed when in the Yountville room I could only relive it at the loft while writing – seeing wha the wines wanted to communicate… soft lemon pound cake craze with the Chardonnay, but still contained and restrained, self-explained while the Cabernet was all jazz in her movement – seductive and realizing, romantic, pleasurably frantic and somehow mythically framed. Telling me to stay in the chair, listen, keep scribbling.
Of course when wine writers, even more manic ones like me, go to a new room or property on assignment, there is excitement but also a bit of anxiety. How will the person speak to me being the one writing a story, how would the wines show… just, WHAT WILL HAPPEN? You hope for something positive, but when experiencing something like this, pervasive grace and generosity, you don’t need to hope. It materializes, you’re welcomed and then become part of the happiness in that room.
Could ramble and blurb about the wines, but what needs to be seen and felt in these paragraphs are the PEOPLE. Doug, Chloe, Tiffany, those cutest little kids that walked and crawled while Doug and I were at that back bar. That’s what wine is… her definition and statement. The thematic anchor – PEOPLE. Family, love, kindness, conversation… the new BEAT you see, the tangible and terrific moment-poetry.