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When writing regularly for more than 20 newspapers and additional websites, I always did the traditional Top 10 wines of the year. It wasn’t always much fun but felt necessary or something like an obligation.

Yes, I’m trying to re-start my occasional musings on wine and thoughts of life, Covid, and whatever else occupies the mind of a retired journalist, marketer, and wanna be bon vivant. I just use bon vivant because who wouldln’t like that label?

2020 sucked on many levels – there it’s been said and now we can reflect. So far I’ve managed to avoid the bug. I’m all in on mask wearing, social distancing (for the most part), and becoming a germophobe. I get an A on mask wearing. I worked through the summer and continue to work now. I am thinking hard about January if predictions come through about a huge outbreak.

I’m retired and if I don’t work I sit at home alone. That’s not a plea for empathy it’s just reality for many seniors. Cold weather means I can’t ride my bike and it’s tougher to even walk the dog, though he doesn’t seem to care about temperatures much.

So I push ahead.

A few real bright spots from 2020:

  • In December, I had my 3.5-year visit with my oncologist and remain cancer free from a two-round bout with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma which started in 2015. I’m humble and thankful for the treatment I recieved, particularly an autogolous stem-cell transplant.
  • I continue to meet, at least on a superficial basis, really great people through my work at The Wine Shop. Our customers are interesting people who are living life to the fullest. New faces, old friendly faces, and daily adventures like a week in December with no furnace.
  • My job obviously affords me the opportunity to taste a lot of great wine. No Top 10 List – I swear – but how about two standouts? I’m not going to say these two are best I had but they are darn near close.
  • A 2017 Joseph Drouhin Vosne Romanee was a great glass somewhat by accident, or nagging. It’s about $80 a bottle at full retail. Most of our Wine Shop staff was working Christmas Eve. The boss was opening a few bottles and we suggested, maybe more than once, that the Vosne Romanee might be a delightful choice. Well before leaving the shop to the old guy and young guy, he popped one open. It was one of the best examples of Burgundy I’ve ever enjoyed. I have a couple bottles of that wine, different producers, at home and look forward to the day I open them.
  • Chateau Landereau Entre Deux Mers 2019. I’ve always enjoyed the Entre Deux Mers region since a brief visit about seven years ago. A wonderful and flavorful blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon – tropical fruits, wonderful mouthfeel and lingering finish. Great taste and great value (about $15) can be found if you just look hard enough.
  • Yard work. I know, how boring. But I rediscovered the pleasure of mowing my yard as needed – something I hadn’t done for years. Always joked I had a Lawn Boy ……….. a nice kid. With a little young muscle, I also did some planting with more to come. I’ve jumped on the lawn care madness and fertilized and worked on having a beautiful lawn in a few years. Thank goodness, it’s small.
  • Finally, I’ll be at The Wine Shop New Year’s Eve and probably get to see a lot of those customers. I really look forward to it. Stop by if you’re in Indy. We have a wide selection of bubbles at all price points. And, you won’t feel like you’re at Wal-Mart. (Obvious dig at new competitor! :-O)
  • One of the biggest downers was no travel this past year. I’m hoping that changes in the new year. I need to visit a friend in Napa, a tough chore obviously. I’ve thought of putting together a group trip to Oregon’s Willamette Valley for the fall (something I’ve done before). Who’s interested? And, I’d always go back to Burgundy with a few hours notice.
  • Happy New Year. No, REALLY – Happy New Year