The 2003 Bell Claret is a Napa Valley wine made up of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 1% Petite Verdot, 8% Syrah. The decision to add Syrah is intended to make it more enjoyable early on, even though this wine would age well. Four years on, I think it could still go for another four or five years in the cellar. Lovely black cherry and prune flavors. Big full-fruit nose.
This is bottle 19,037 of 20,395. That's something fun about small batch wines: out of the 300 million people in the U.S., only twenty thousand can enjoy this wine... or forty or eighty thousand if you're sharing. It's also nice having met the winemaker a few years ago. Bell remains one of my go-to producers when I want an elegant, finely crafted wine in the $20-30 range.
Speaking of handcrafted treasures made in small batches, the necktie in the photo came from the good folks at Cyberoptix. I've got ties in my closet that date back to the 1940s, and felt it was time to throw a little fresh blood into the mix. I stumbled upon the Clipper Ship design from Cyberoptix and loved the silver/black ink combination. They have a wide variety of other ties with interesting designs. Were I a doctor I would load up on variations of the Medic.
This isn't a paid testimonial: I purchased the tie on my own and got tons of compliments the first day I wore it. Ah, the romance of the open seas... It's also worth noting that my favorite part of visiting Amsterdam had nothing to do with marijuana or prostitutes but rather involved seeing the Scheepvaartmuseum (Maritime Museum), where I was able to gaze upon the treasures of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie and see a first edition atlas compiled by the great Joan Blaeu. A modern copy of this atlas is one of my most prized possessions.