(par’ – a – dime) An example that serves as a pattern or model. A pattern for perfection.

Manhattan. Friends. Perfection.  I dined with 9 amazing friends, some of which I’ve known since childhood and others just met that evening, and boy did we go big.  Among the bone marrow, steak tartare and bone-in ribeye we ordered 2006 Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon three bottles that evening.  The first was just that single bottle, as we wanted to try it before committing, but by the end of that bottle we had no other choice but to order two more.

This wine fills your mouth with a silky blanket of robust, yet still smooth, flavor. And with the food pairing, perfection.  I’ve since garnered the respect of my friends, and now wear the title of  “the one who orders the wine”.

Paradigm is a small production winery located in Oakville (in the Valley) and the winemaker, Heidi Barrett, is responsible for some of California’s most notable cult wines, including Screaming Eagle.  As such, there is an extensive waiting list, the winery does not accept visits to the winery and it’s difficult to even find a bottle to procure.   Paradigm Cab is the bottle you want.

Hooray for Prestige!

So there’s a stigma around Opus One that it’s overrated, not worth the premium price, et cetera, et cetera.  Well, I put that theory to the test and ordered a bottle.  Now keep in mind that the Opus One suggests that this wine ages two times as long, but I thought it was phenomenal.  The 2003 Opus One Napa Valley harvest began on September 17th and concluded on November 2nd, the day before the start of heavy autumn rain.  I enjoyed it with a petit filet and lobster tail.  It’s clean  and robust and  doesn’t have the weight and exaggerated tanins with which many napa valley wines tend to slap you in your face. I would love to taste it again in 10 years.

Cabernet Sauvignon 91%, Cabernet Franc 3%, Petit Verdot 3%,
Merlot 2% and Malbec 1%

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to…tears of joy, of course.

I met Bob Nicolaysen when I ventured down to Santa Barbara wine country a few years ago. He’s an amazing guy who makes great wines.  Four years and four moves, I’ve been waiting for this moment.  I didn’t expect that this would be the bottle I’d enjoy on my 30th birthday, but as a perused my racks of wine, attempting to select the perfect wine to bring to the beautiful house we rented out for a weekend up in Russian River valley, something brought me to this 2003 Nicolaysen Syrah.  I humbly tip my hat.  The fruit was still present and it had an earthiness quality that I love about many Rhone wines.  It was extremely smooth and balanced. I will be back for more!