The number 94 has special meaning for me. It is the lot number of a tasty Napa Cabernet, and 1994 was the year I graduated from high school. Years like this tend to leave a lasting impression in your mind in the same way that a memorable wine leaves a permanent imprint on your taste buds.
It’s hard to imagine life without cell phones, email and a World Series but in 1994 there were really none of these things. I memorized my friends’ home phone numbers and carried quarters to make phone calls. In 1994, Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s president, and Kurt Cobain died. Friends joined Seinfeld on NBC’s Thursday night “Must See TV”, and the hip-hop duo of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg dominated the radio. In June, OJ Simpson became famous for running of a different kind. I entered college in the fall, nervously wondering what I was going to be when I grew up. If you asked me 20 years ago if I would end up in the wine biz, I would have replied that a future as a latex salesman for Vandalay Industries was more likely.
What does any of this have to do with wine? Nothing and everything.
Talking about wine doesn’t always have to be about flowery tasting notes, exotic descriptions of far off vineyards, and the number of years a wine has aged in new French oak. These things help us understand the way the wine tastes and what makes it unique, but they do not make for very interesting dinner conversation unless you want to sound like a pompous ass. The best thing about wine, beer, whiskey or Gin & Juice is their ability take us back to some of our best memories and stir us to look forward to the great moments ahead.
Take my word for it. The 2013 vintage of our Lot 94 Rutherford Cabernet is fantastic, even better than last year. Get yourself a bottle or two, pop ‘em open with a few old friends, and talk about the glory days of the past or the golden years to come.