Tag Archives: PlumpJack Group

Robert Parker Releases Wine Scores for 2015

We have some exciting news to share – the latest reviews from Robert Parker were published recently and we are humbled and honored by Mr. Parker’s reviews of our wines from all three wineries: Odette Estate, PlumpJack Winery, and CADE Estate. We were already so proud of Aaron Miller, Danielle Cyrot, and Jeff Owens and the wine they produced– and Robert Parker’s words simply reinforce that. Take a look at his reviews below!


2013 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
100 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Estate Oakville is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot aged in 100% new French oak. This is perfection and an absolutely amazing effort. The wine is dense purple with sweet tannin, oodles of blueberry and blackberry fruit caressed by toasty new oak, and a full-bodied multi-dimensional mouthfeel — akin to a skyscraper in the mouth, but without any heaviness. The finish goes on for a good 45+ seconds, and the wine is super-pure and majestic. Truly a tour de force in Cabernet Sauvignon. Kudos to Plumpjack. Drink 2018-2040.

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2013 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon Estate – 96 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Oakville is a blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot aged in 80% new French oak. A beautiful, saturated purple color offers up blackberry, crème de cassis, licorice, charcoal and camphor. Full-bodied, yet still youthful and tight, it is bursting with terrific purity, texture and length. This big, classic Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon will hit its prime in 10-15 years, and last 30 or more years, based on how older vintages from this sector have aged. It’s a beauty.
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2013 PlumpJack Syrah – 91 points
PlumpJack’s delicious 2013 Syrah, which is 100% Syrah aged in 65% new French oak, tips the scales at 15% alcohol. It offers a dense purple color, a big, sweet kiss of blackberry and cassis liqueur, and touches of licorice and underbrush. It is full-bodied, opulent, and best drunk over the next decade or more.
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2013 PlumpJack Merlot – 90 points
A sexy, seductive wine, Plumpjack’s 2013 Merlot (92% Merlot and 8% Malbec aged in 65% new French oak) is soft and round, shows juicy, plum, mocha and black cherry fruit, is low in acidity, lush and a total hedonistic turn-on. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.
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 2013 CADE Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley – 92 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec and 15% Petit Verdot, tipping the scales at 15.1% alcohol) has an inky purple color, a beautiful nose of blueberry and blackberry fruit, licorice and spring flowers. It is complex, rich, full-bodied, opulent, sexy and lush. This is a 2013 to drink now, as well as cellar for 10-15+ years.
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2013 CADE Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – 97 points
Lastly, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Howell Mountain (100% Cabernet Sauvignon with a screw cap) tips the scales at 15.9% alcohol. This is another stunningly proportioned, majestic mountain Cabernet, with mulberry, blueberry, blackberry and floral notes that is concentrated, full-bodied and multilayered. This skyscraper-like Cabernet Sauvignon is majestic, super-pure and a stunner. The alcohol is totally hidden, so unless you’re paranoid, simply see the number, and have an immediate loss of reason, this is a beautiful, full-throttle, full-bodied wine that is impeccably well-balanced, with great purity, depth and concentration. Drink it over the next 15-20 years.

2013 CADE Cabernet Sauvignon Estate
94 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain has an inky purple color to the rim and represents a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Gloriously pure notes of mulberry, graphite, blackberry and blueberry soar from the glass and cascade over the palate. The wine is full-bodied, there is nary a hard edge to be found in this opulent, velvety texture, pure, rich, stunning Cabernet Sauvignon. It finishes impressively, and the wine is capable of lasting 15-20 years, although it’s certainly accessible now.

 
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2013 Odette Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve – 99 points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve picks up the power at 15.6% alcohol, but also has a slightly more saturated opaque/purple color. The wine has a glorious nose of graphite, white flowers, blueberries and blackberries and licorice followed by a full-bodied wine with great precision and delineation, super freshness, vibrancy, and compelling richness and extraction. The finish goes on for a good 55 seconds. This is flirting with perfection in a real serious way. Drink it over the next 25-30 years.
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2013 Odette Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Estate – 95+ points
The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate exhibits graphite, blackberry and cassis, chocolate and a touch of mineral in a full-bodied, layered and impressively pure style. It’s a big wine for Stags Leap (15.4% alcohol), but gorgeously pure, with everything well-knit into a sensational equilibrium. This is only a baby, but promises to hit its peak in 7-10 years and last 25-30.

 

 

 

Thank you for your great support, and we look forward to sharing a glass with you soon!

To purchase wines from our wineries click here
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Conversations with Hilary: TV & Radio Personality, Liam Mayclem

Photography by Rick Camargo

Photography by Rick Camargo

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From the moment I met Liam, I knew I had a friend for life. He is extremely charming, hilarious, kind, loyal, philanthropic and loved across the San Francisco Bay Area. Most people will recognize Liam as the Emmy Award winning radio & TV personality and CBS San Francisco’s very own “Foodie Chap.” To me, he is simply an amazing friend and one of the most generous I know.
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Liam and I both share a passion for fundraising and philanthropy. I have been lucky enough to have Liam be our auctioneer for our Annual PlumpJack/LINK Golf Classic, which is going into its 17th year. He resides over more than 20 charity auctions a year and has helped raise millions of dollars for Bay Area charities & schools. I am honored to have him as my subject for this month’s Coversations.
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What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
I am proud of three things!
1. My 10 year relationship with my partner and best pal Rick Camargo. I wondered if anyone would ever want to grow old with me? He appears to be…but of course HE is NOT growing old – I am.
2. I am proud of my friendships. They have endured through the years. I love being able to look at a pal and say “twenty years ago do you recall when?” I am a sentimental fart. I treasure friendships immensely.
3. I shed 35 pounds this year and have managed to keep it off. I am proud of that. I took charge of my health by eating right and exercising regularly. Not an easy task when you are the “foodie chap” and one eats and drinks for a living. The key to my weight loss: drink three nights a week instead of eight, push aside the carbs, work out in the morning before you do ANYTHING else and at night, run to bed early instead of to the fridge for snacks.

Do you have a prized possession?
A photo of my brother Rory and my mother who passed in 1998. I was two and my brother five in the photograph. It’s one of just a few that I have of me as a wee one.

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I show up, sometimes too much. Often briefly, but I always show up.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I always dreamed early on that I might be an actor. The next Peter O’Toole or Michael Caine. There is still time – no?mens new balance sneakers

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
I love that every day is different as a radio/TV/event host. There is never a dull moment. I am always on the move. This week alone: filming commercial spots for PEETS coffee; today I have a voiceover session for Infiniti of SF; later taping at Oakland Zoo; Sunday a Christmas tree lighting in Half Moon Bay; and three charity events to host, too ….and that’s just half of it. Next week I venture off to India to film a week of travel pieces for CBS-TV – so never an opportunity to get bored. Every day brings new adventure. Did I mention I am also about to launch a 10 day cruise with CRYSTAL CRUISES and my pal Chef Hubert Keller!!? See, life is one non-stop, fun filled adventure!!

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
“Get out of my head, feet on the floor, out of my bed, embrace the day ahead and RUN or drive to the gym”.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Ideally a date night with my partner Rick, preferably at home, cooking and watching a mindless movie; however, most Fridays I am hosting or auctioneering at a Bay Area charity event.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
I loved to sing and act. I was in all the school plays. Acting was in my young bones. I was a radio nut, too, and listened to much pop radio. BBC radio 1 was my favorite to hear “Top of the pops”! My first job was in radio. At Age 16 I read the cricket scores on County Sound Radio in Surrey.

What are you passionate about now?
I still enjoy radio. I love Terry Gross on NPR and enjoy listening to BBC WORLD SERVICE. I am also a passionate fundraiser. I work with a dozen or more Bay Area charities and get a real thrill playing auctioneer. Nothing feels better than for example, at a recent fundraiser for Operation Smile saying: “Together we raised a quarter million dollars and gave a thousand children the possibility of a smile.” That’s powerful. That is my passion -fundraising and igniting that innate giving spirit in others.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I enjoy September and October here in the Bay Area- our Indian Summer. The vineyards in wine country turn a patchwork quilt of colors. A pretty scene to drive through, and in San Francisco – my home and heart – it’s warm. It finally feels like Summer.nike free 3.0 v3

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My iPhone to stay connected, sun lotion so I don’t burn, and a book titled “how to survive on a desert island.”

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
The Queen Mother (Bombay sapphire, rouge, king’s ginger & lemon bitters). Why this? Because everyone loves the Queen Mum.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
May I have a few guests? Oscar Wilde for his wit, Robin Williams for laughs, Sting for the music, Marilyn Monroe to share secrets and Julia Child for the cooking.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
New Tales of the City by Liam Mayclem and how Armistead Maupin became a friend along the way.

Do you have any regrets?
Not today.shoes stephen curry

Define Freedom.
Being here in my hometown San Francisco and strolling down the street with my partner Rick arm-in-arm (we are not very handsy) without fear of being verbally or physically abused. And not worrying about what the neighbors think.

What are your personal core values?
Be honest. Be faithful. Be here.

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Spread The #PlumpJackCheer

Tis the season for #PlumpJackCheer. We have countless activities, gift options and events going on at our properties to celebrate the holiday season!new balance running shoe

Show us Your Holiday Cheer with tag #PlumpJackCheer for a chance to win dinner for four. Share holiday décor; festive meals; celebrating with friends and family; and anything that brings you cheer!

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  1. Follow us on Instagram @PlumpJackGroup
  2. Point, zoom, shoot and show us your cheer!
  3. Tag it #plumpjackcheer
  4. Be automatically entered to win dinner for 4 at a PlumpJack Restaurant ($200 gift certificate)*
  5. Contest ends December 31st, winner announced in January 2015


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Balboa Cafe Mill Valley
Holiday Hours
Join us for Christmas and New Years Eve Dinner! Enjoy our regular menu plus specials. We are closed on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015 
Dinner served 4 pm to 10 pm
New Years Eve, December 31st, 2015 
Dinner served 4 pm to 11 pm

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Balboa Cafe San Francisco 
Holiday Hours
Join us for Christmas Dinner at Balboa Cafe San Francisco and enjoy traditional Christmas fixings, with choices from firsts and entrées
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015
11:30 am to 11:00 pm
Christmas Day, December 25, 2015
12 pm to 2 pm limited lunch menu
2 pm through 8 pm
Reservation recommended
New Years Day Brunch 10 am to 3 pm
Call us at 415.921.3944 to make a reservationpics of stephen curry shoes

In need of some special holidays plans for Christmas Eve, Day and New Years Day? PlumpJack Cafe at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is the perfect please to celebrate the holidays. Nothing beats celebrating in the snowy mountains with friends and family.

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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits, Marina: Give amazing gifts this holiday season! From gift baskets/boxes and wooden boxes can be filled with the wine or spirit of your choice. Our gift baskets are packed with wine, spirits, beer, gourmet treats, and more. Custom gift boxes and baskets are also available. These gift packs are perfect for holiday gifting and special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, congratulations, corporate gifts and more.
Cocktail kits make a great gift for the experienced cocktail maker, or for a beginner trying to build their at home bar.
PlumpJack Wine & Spirits Clubs are the perfect gift that keeps on giving. With nine different clubs to choose from there is something for everyone. Wine, whiskey, champagne to gin, we have it all.
Try Forgery‘s new cocktail menu! A fun place to reunite with family and friends around the holiday season. Forgery recently made Playboys list of Best Bars in America, check out the article here.Give Back This Holiday SeasonWe love supporting great causes and charities, especially around the holiday season. For a special Thanksgiving meal our Chef from Balboa Cafe San Francisco prepared a delicious thanksgiving meal for 160 students at Holy Family Day Home in the mission.

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Balboa Cafe Mill Valley Announces New Exec Chef Howard Ko

Balboa Cafe Mill Valley Announces New Executive Chef Howard Ko
Critically Acclaimed Chef Brings Impressive Culinary Background,
Local and Seasonal Focus to New Role

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MILL VALLEY, Calif. – PlumpJack is excited to announce the appointment of Howard Ko to the position of executive chef at the Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, known for classic American bistro cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  Ko has worked at some of the most critically acclaimed culinary establishments in the United States, including The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow and The French Laundry with Thomas Keller, as well as Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and DB Bistro Moderne, Picholine and Daniel in New York.
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“It is a privilege to welcome distinguished Chef Ko to the Balboa Cafe Mill Valley,” said Hilary Newsom.  “He brings a wealth of knowledge having worked at award-winning restaurants across the country and around the world, and we’re thrilled to bring his expertise to the restaurant’s culinary program.”
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Ko began his career in Los Angeles, mastering the art of pastry making and baking before relocating to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America.  As a student at the CIA, Ko assisted at Daniel on weekends to gain experience in the kitchen, doing everything from peeling potatoes to cleaning mushrooms.

Making the move to Wine Country as chef de partie at The French Laundry in Yountville, Ko worked the line and focused on creating new dishes for the daily changing menu.  From there he joined acclaimed chef Christopher Kostow at three Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood as chef de partie, where he assisted at all stations and mentored the commis.
Ko accepted a position as chef de cuisine at his third Wine Country restaurant, Goose & Gander in St. Helena, where he ran the kitchen and was responsible for putting a dramatic spin on the neighborhood eatery.  Ko also introduced a shared-plates concept, new flavors, and new techniques with the goal of bringing people together to taste different flavors.nike free runners

As executive chef at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, Ko will serve a seasonal menu with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, taking advantage of all that Northern California has to offer.  The menu will consist of market-driven bistro classics with modern twists.

Balboa Cafe Mill Valley is located at 38 Miller Avenue in the historic downtown Mill Valley.  For more information, please visit www.BalboaCafe.com.  For more information about The PlumpJack Group, please visit www.PlumpJack.com.air jordan xiii

 

Conversations with Hilary: Radio Personality, Hooman Khalili

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing my friend and radio personality Hooman Khalili. You can catch him every morning on Alice Radio 97.3 FM – he has been part of the Sarah and Vinnie morning show for the past 16 years. Part of Hooman’s job is interviewing high-profile guests like Sting, John Travolta, Maroon 5 to name a few.
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In 2008 Hooman created the #1 most viewed non-partisan video to inspire the youth of America to get out and vote for the presidential election. The video received 5.1 million views on YOUTUBE and ended up in the museum of Radio and Television in NYC.
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I have known Hooman for more than 12 years and find him to be one of the most hard working and generous people I know. He is always willing to support my philanthropic efforts and participate in my myriad of events despite his busy schedule. I am grateful to have him share his thoughtful answers in this month’s Conversations with Hilary.
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Hooman and Hilary

Hooman and Hilary

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What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
The fact that my mom and are in America, we are Christians and we are American Citizens, would probably be at the top of the list. That may not seem like a traditional accomplishment but every great thing that has happened in my life is a result of those three things.
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My life is a miracle, and no matter what I’m going through, I remind myself of the unmerited grace that has set me up to thrive. Number two on my list (what many would consider a traditional accomplishment) is the fact that I am on the radio with Sarah, Vinnie, Uzette, Bryn and Vanessa! It’s a beautiful thing to be a member of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area. It’s a party everyday and it affords me the ability to contribute to a lot of charities and meet incredibly interesting people.
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Do you have a prized possession?
This is gonna sound sappy but there are a few. My relationship with my mom is a possession I treasure everyday. She’s the kindest person I know – always inconveniencing herself for others.
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My relationship with my coworker Sarah is another gift from above. Over the past 16 years she has stood up for me more times than I can count. And my third prized possession is my church, REALITY (in the mission). I’ve been to more than 300 churches in my lifetime and this one, hands down, is by far the very best church I’ve ever been to. It’s full of the spirit. I’ve been attending for a year and a half and 99% of the people I’ve brought have come back (atheists and Christians alike).
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What qualities do you think others love about you?
Wow this one is tough. It might seem odd to start with this but I like to provide value to the people that are my friends and acquaintances. I want to be a problem solver for my friends. I want to help them in their time of need. I also genuinely like people! I like to go out and meet everyone in the room if I can, I like to engage. When we meet I’m hopeful you and I will click. Lastly, if I know you are down, I will call, I will reach out, I will get you out of your house! I want you to get out of the pit, I want you to laugh and run and be silly again!

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
Probably a full time movie maker, I’d also start my own Sirius Satellite radio station, and invent a new type of Yoga.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
In terms of my career – I’ve been with Sarah and Vinnie for 16 years now, and I can honestly say I like that every day is completely unpredictable. No matter what I’m personally dealing with, it has to take a back seat, the show must go on. But what I LOVE about my job is that people tune into us to laugh. Whether they are on their way to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or they are just alone . . .lonely! I love that we comfort people and put a smile on their faces
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What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Pray, truth be told, I actually wake up 30 min earlier then I need to so I can put the next 12 hours in the LORD’S hands. I used to wake up close to 4AM – I now wake up at 3:20 AM. Each day I have at least 100 decisions to make and 100 crossroads – without the prayer at least 90% of those decisions will be wrong.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Friday nights are special indeed – because I’m totally single, I don’t have a girlfriend, I don’t own a house, I don’t have any kids, I don’t have a wife . . . I go out every night of the week. Often by the time Friday rolls around the week has caught up with me and I just “pass the “F” out around 6PM. If a group of my friends get together for a happy hour on a Friday no matter how tired I am, I’ll rally. The feeling of a Friday night – the feeling of getting through the week is sweet.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Success, getting married, owning a house, accomplishing a lot of things, being admired.

What are you passionate about now?
The answer here is a bit on the long side so bear with me. Surrounding myself with people who are amazing, Church (Realitysf.com), prayer, making movies, being part of the #1 morning show in the Bay Area, laughing, getting massages. I truly enjoy helping people and being there for them in their time of need. I love going out and there is always so much to do in San Francisco. My birthday is coming up, I’m passionate about throwing a great party where I can see my friends laugh, drink, dance and sing! Lastly I’m very passionate about taking big risks. Trying to accomplish things that are so much bigger then anything I am capable of doing in my own strength.

What’s your favorite season and why?
I’d have to say Summer. I like good weather. Summer time is usually when I travel and go on adventures. Music concerts during the Summer are usually the best.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A solar-powered iPod that is fully loaded with everything I’d ever want to listen to. An unlimited supply of matches that were water proof. Some kind of fishing pole/Rambo knife that is perfectly effective on sea and land (if there could be a fourth a tent with a built-in bed and pillow)

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Probably a Mojito – (its usually what I order when I go out)

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Well it depends on what category – In Classical its Bach – Suite No.1 in G performed by Pablo Casals. . . In Pop Music it’s the Beatles either LET IT BE or BLACKBIRD. Lastly I love the song Knees to the Earth by Christy Nockels (Revolution Album Version).

Hooman with his adopted American family

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
It would have to be in this order; Jesus, Solomon from the Old Testament (David’s son), Mozart, Bach and The Apostle Paul.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Free Like a Bird – A life of Unmerited Grace

Do you have any regrets?
This a tricky question because I am exactly where I am supposed to be. If anything in my past were to change then I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. But that being said…I would have loved to have gone to some famous college like an NYU or a USC or Stanford.

Define Freedom.
Another tough question. Freedom for me Is being able to not attach my emotions to my circumstances. If I am truly able to do that, then I am free. Freedom is to be full of Joy and Peace even though I am surrounded by a war.

What are your personal core values?
God first. Even before the desires of my heart, my dreams, or my hopes. Help others even when it’s an inconvenience. Always pray, especially when I don’t want to. Forgive, even if the relationship after you forgive is not the same, still forgive, erase the resentment from your heart.

BOM Club Tasting Notes: October 2015

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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits brings you the beer club tasting notes for October. This month, we’re taking a quick break from beer to feature two apple ciders. Dupont’s is a traditional Norman cider (as in Normandy, France) with protected designation of origin status. The second bottle, West County’s Redfield, is a rose-hued varietal cider from the New World (Western Mass., on the Vermont border, to be exact). Each is a delicious sip of the orchard and a great partner at the autumn dinner table.nike free run sale

Cheers!

Rich Higgins, Master Cicerone


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Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie 2014 Domaine Dupont, Victot-Pontfol, Normandy, France 5.5% ABV
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The Norman countryside is filled with dairy cows, rolling pasture, and orchards full of apple and pear trees. For centuries, farmers have been making ciders and perries from the fruit and pairing it with dishes full of cheese and cream. Calvados and Pays d’Auge are two sub-regions of central Normandy, and both are famous also for their apple and pear brandies, known collectively as Calvados, distilled from cider and perry. The French government has recognized the cider from this green, fertile region of France as having tradition, terroir, and quality, and has protected its heritage and future with an AOC — appellation d’origine controllee — to regulate its production and promote its uniqueness. Etienne Dupont was one of the principal boosters of the AOC designation
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has been producing ciders and Calvados under the guidance of a Dupont family member since 1887. They grow 13 varieties of apples, categorizing each as either bitter, bittersweet, sweet, or acid. They celebrate Pays d’Auge terroir, describing the area’s soil as nutrient-poor and full of chalk, clay, and marl, which produces small, intense fruit. (More generous soil would yield bigger, less-concentrated fruit filled with water.) Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie is the producer’s entry-level cider, a tasty, quaffable, sparkling cider. They also produce cider aged in oak, fortified sweet ciders, and Calvados. For the Brut de Normandie, they harvest and press estate-grown apples, then make a blend that is 80% juice from “bittersweet” apples and 20% juice from “acid” (sour) apples. In another nod to terroir, they ferment the juice with indigenous yeasts; that is, the yeast or “bloom” that naturally resides on the apple skins. After fermentation, they bottle-condition the cider, bottling it with live yeast that will produce the carbonation and more fermentation flavors directly inside the bottle. In French, bouchon means “cork,” and cidre bouché refers to this cider that is “corked” or “under cork.” The combination of live yeast in the bottle, the cork packaging, and single-vintage dating (2014, in our case), allows for the cider to age, mellow, and cellar, attaining a slightly damp, musty, leathery note that is complex and très français. (French farmhouse beers, or bières de garde, are known for this character, as well.) The cider drinks with complexity but accessibility. It has residual sweetness — about 5% apple fructose by weight — which the Duponts liken to the apple-y, caramelly flavors of another local specialty: the baked apple dessert called tarte tatin.
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Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie pours a rich honey yellow beneath a tempest of frothy white foam. The initial foam subsides, but a persistent stream of perlage continues to bubble forth. Scents of fruit, flowers, and bread rise from the glass: a Norman bouquet of baked apple, anise, meyer lemon, and bready, yeasty sparkling wine. The palate is off-dry, offering a pleasant nectar sweetness that softens the apples’ acidity and slight bitterness as well as the carbonation’s tingle. The French prize the flavor of noyaux, the meaty nut at the center of an apricot pit; this cider exhibits flavors of noyaux and bread dough from the wisps of spent yeast and apple lees residing at the bottom of the bottle. Slight dampness and mustiness show a bit of this cider’s age. Rather than showing bracing, vibrant apple freshness, this bottle has mellowed and gained complexity with age. Subtle tannins linger on the tongue, offering a structure and astringency that beg for another sip of this enjoyable cider. Pair it at the start of a meal with charcuterie and cheese — the more French and Norman the better, to appreciate the terroir: rabbit rillettes, pâte de campagne, good Camembert, Pont l’Evêque, etc. The Normans cook with cider, too, enjoying it in cidery cream sauces to accompany chicken or seafood. Sautéing some skin-on chicken in butter and shallots, then deglazing the pan with cider and simmering with some cream and fresh thyme would be a simple, delicious partner for a glass of Dupont cidre.
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Redfield Cider West County Cider, Colrain, Massachusetts, United States 6.6% ABV  
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Move a family of Northern California winemakers to the Berkshire mountains, and you get a family with a love of the land and a passion for flavor, along with a thirst for grapes that can’t be quenched. Missing their vineyard, the Terry and Judith Maloney, along with their son, Field, got some tips from their rural neighbors and tried their hand at fermenting apples into cider. From their first harvest in 1972, they were hooked, and by 1984, they made their first commercial sales. Legally registered as a winery, these cider revivalists claim to be the first US winery to specialize in hard cider.
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Their orchards have expanded in the ensuing years, and now with 1400 apple trees, they produce a handful of varietal ciders that they ferment and bottle in their farmhouse cellar. A varietal cider, just like a varietal wine, is a cider made from a single apple variety, showcasing all the nuances of that apple. Most cideries make blends, using the juice of several different apples to get tannic structure from one, fermentable sugars from another, bright acidity from yet another, and a variety of flavors from all of them. Most cider apples, as opposed to table apples that you eat out-of-hand, are too tannic and sour to be enjoyable when eaten. They can make for great cider, when allowed to ferment and age properly, which shows the cider maker’s skill. Redfield is an apple variety that is known in the cider world for its crimson-colored flesh, searing acidity, and bold tannins — pretty to look at it, terrible to eat, and a challenge to turn into a varietal cider. Developed in New York state in 1938, the apple is a cross between a Wolf River Apple and a Niedzwetzskayana Red Crabapple. (Obviously.)

The Maloneys make two different Redfield ciders: a Redfield varietal and a Redfield/Golden Delicious blend that’s 75% Redfield with 25% Golden Delicious; evidently, some drinkers find the Redfield to be too intense an apple to be fully tamed on its own in a bottle of cider. Your bottle of Redfield is the pure varietal, and so the Redfield’s personality (red hue, bright malic acid, firm tannins, and sweet-savory flavor) is powerfully on display in this cider. Furthermore, the Maloneys ferment it with neutral commercial yeast, rather than an indigenous yeast that might muddy the waters with its own flavors. (To taste some more of West County’s terroir, their Kingston Black varietal cider is fermented with wild yeast.) It’s not just the Redfield apple’s character that’s on display, here, but also the Maloneys’ impressive cider making skills, in order to make this Redfield so a smooth and elegant a cider, certainly not as sour and austere as some ciders can be, nor as tannic and coarse as others.
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Redfield pours an elegant salmon rose color, topped with a hint of bubbly pink lace. The delicate nose shows cut apple, persimmon, grass, and chamomile, along with sweet-savory hints of roasted carrots and winter squash. It tastes clean and pure, a perfectly apple-y, refreshing juice at first. Then more intriguing flavors of chestnut, cucumber, and blood orange chime in, intermingling with the smooth acidity and firm tannins. With its restrained carbonation and savory flavors, it has less in common with most bright, zesty ciders and instead recalls an Italian rosato wine — a negroamaro rosato, perhaps. It’s delicious, complex, and shows an alluring, romantic side of cider. Pair this with grains, mushrooms, and dairy products, allowing the cider to provide savory harmony and fruity counterpoint to the pairing. Tagliatelle with creamy-mushroom sauce and truffle (either truffle oil or the real thing — November is white truffle season, after all); squash ravioli with chestnuts and brown butter; a grilled cheese sandwich on sourdough; pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes, and good salame; or even a quesadilla with queso fresco, chicken, and cilantro would all be great partners with this cider.

 

Champagne Club Tasting Notes: October 2015

Champgane Blog Post BannerPlumpJack Wine & Spirits brings you the Champagne club tasting notes for October. This month we are showcasing two wines with very different pasts. The Lilbert-Fils domain has a centuries long history cultivating vines and making wine in Champagne, while the J-M Sélèque domain is relatively young, starting in just 1964. Lilbert-Fils is a classic Côte des Blancs champagne, while J-M Sélèque has become a leader in the organic and biodynamic movement amongst vintners in Champagne. We bring you theses two very different but very delicious wines just in time to celebrate the arrival of fall and the bounty of the season it brings with it.new balance 1

                                          A Votre Santé,
Your Friends at PlumpJack Wine & Spirits
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Champagne Lilbert-Fils Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc Brut NV

Champagne J-M Sélèque Cuvee Tradition Brut NVcurry 1

            Lilbert-Fils is a tiny Champagne house, but a very old one. The Lilbert family is another family of Champagne that has been cultivating vines in the region for centuries. Records show the family has been at it since at least 1746 and possibly longer (the oldest part of the family cellar dates back to 1712). They have been bottling their own wine for commercial sale since as early as 1907. With only 8.6 acres of vines the Lilbert’s are able to produce 30,000 bottles a year making this a difficult wine to come by.
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Bertard Lilbert and his father, Georges, currently run the estate. They make all of their wine from their own vineyards, which break down into 15 parcels all from Grand Cru villages in the Côte des Blancs. Wine-producing villages in Champagne are classified as grand cru, premier cru, or simply cru. If a producer makes a wine using only grand cru or premier cru fruit, he may use these terms on the bottle’s label, and the Lilberts’ do just that. Unlike Burgundy, where the vineyards are rated according to their quality, the quality classification in Champagne is rated according to villages. Established at the end of the 19th century, the Échelle des Crus (ladder of growth) ratings are expressed from 80% to 100%, taking into account the quality of the soil, the nature of the sub-soils and the microclimate. The 100% wines are considered to offer the highest qualitative potential and are given the status of Grand Cru. There are 17 Grand Cru villages in all of Champagne, six alone in the Côte des Blancs. The Lilberts’ own holdings in three out of those six – 10% of their vines are in Oiry, 30% in Chouilly, and 60% in Cramant.
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All Lilbert-Fils Champagnes are 100% Chardonnay and 100% Grand Cru. They produce a non-vintage blanc de blanc, made from grapes farmed from all three Grand Cru villages and comprised of two or three consecutive vintages. It is then aged on its lees for a minimum of three years and dosed with 6-8 g/l of sugar. Along with the non-vintage ‘Perle’, the house’s rarest and most sought-after wine produced from old vines sourced from all three communes, they relase a vintage wine that is only produced in the best of years. All of the wines are made in steel vats and all undergo malolactic fermentation. The bottles are riddled by hand in a deep, hand-dug chalk cellar, and the wine is disgorged the old-fashioned way (without freezing). The end result is a true connoisseurs champagne.
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The Champagne Lilbert-Fils Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc Brut is a classic Côte des Blancs with great purity and finesse and the unmistakably chalky perfume of the region. This is not a fruit forward wine. Though fruit is present (on the palate more than the nose), it is reminiscent more of a fruit tart than that of a fresh apples or pears. Aromas of flaky pastry become noticeable first, followed by baked orchard fruit. What you find in this wine is an elegant combination of chalky, silky minerals, a delicate creaminess similar to an éclair (without the chocolate), and the buttery flakiness of the best croissant you’ve ever had. This is a wine with true staying power and longevity. Enjoy it with a spread of fine aged French cheeses, accompanied by various nuts and dried fruits. It also pairs well with roasted pork tenderloin glazed in stewed apples and onions.
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Compared to the long history of the Lilbert Family, the Sélèque Family are relative newcomers to growing and producing Champagne. Henri Sélèque planted his first plots of vines in 1965 with the help of his father-in-law, Jean Bagnost. Bagnost was the president of the Pierry wine cooperative at the time. In 1974 Henri’s son Richard, joined the domain and began making Champagne after earning a degree in enology. He helped to update the winery facilities as well as expand its vineyard holdings. The third generation in the family to join the domain was Richard’s son Jean-Marc, after returning to Pierry in 2008 after internships at Chandon’s facilities in Napa Valley and in Australia’s Yarra Valley.

After spending time at larger production operations Jean-Marc had a definite idea of what he wanted to bring back to his small family domain. In 2008 he steered the estate towards organic viticulture and in 2010 he began farming biodynamically. Today 10 of the 19 acres are farmed accordingly. Jean-Marc’s goal in going organic and biodynamic has been to encourage better vine and soil health and limit the amount of ‘corrections’ needed to be made in the cellar. The goal is to let the vineyards speak for themselves. Today the grapes are in much better health and are harvested with higher acidities allowing Jean-Marc to stop the practice of introducing malolactic fermentation in barrel (low pH inhibits malo). Some wines undergo no ML, while some spontaneously undergo partial or full ML.
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What started in 1964 has today expanded to include vines growing in 36 parcels across 7 different villages producing around 5,400 cases of Champagne a year. Most of the Sélèque vines grow in the communes of Pierry and then Moussy, followed by Epernay, Mardeuil, Dizy, Vertus, and Boursault. About 60% of the vines are Chardonnay, 30% Meunier and about 10% are Pinot Noir. Jean-Marc’s unwavering dedication to quality and natural approach in the vineyards guarantee that J-M Sélèque will have just as much staying power as Lilbert-Fils.
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What the Lilbert-Fils shows in elegance and finesse, the Champagne J-M Sélèque Cuvee
Tradition Brut
shows in vitality and playfulness. The chalky minerals, while present, are secondary here to the more spirited fruit characteristics. The Sélèque has a texture similar to the fluffiness of a cream cheese Danish and the richness to match. The nose smells like a lively mixture of lemon curd on top of piecrust, hazelnuts, almonds, and the chalky minerality coming into play to keep everything in balance. On the palate the fruit has more of a candied characteristic with a hazelnut and almond finish. A great pairing would be table full of fresh cracked Dungeness crab.

Italian Wine Club Tasting Notes: October 2015

We hope you enjoy the October Italian Wine Club tasting notes, courtesy of Elio Longobardi of PlumpJack Wine & Spirits.

Autumn is finally here with its glowing gold colors all around, and it is one of the best seasons to be in Tuscany. Between September and mid-November you can really enjoy this region and its countryside taking on a different pace. Even big cities like Florence and Siena aren’t crowded with zillions of tourists and you are able to get a glimpse of true Tuscan authenticity.new balance basketball

Talking about Toscana with all its history, art and beauty can become overwhelming. So much so, the term ‘Stendhal’ syndrome’ originated here – which is described as becoming so overwhelmed by beauty (particularly as it pertains to art) that one is overcome with rapid breathing and heart rate, dizziness and sometimes even hallucinations. Dante, Leonardo, Giotto, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, the Medici; they all came from here. This month we will journey to ‘la mia Toscana’, or my Tuscany, where I used to call home. I hope you will enjoy the trip.

Elio Longobardi, Italian Wine Specialist

PlumpJack Wine & Spirits – Noe Valley


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Toscana, a.k.a Tuscany is part of central Italy. Firenze is the regional capitol with nine provinces (Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, Lucca, Massa e Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and Siena). The main economy of the region was agriculture until the 1960s, followed by what is called Boom economico (the economic and industrial expansion at the end of the 1950s). After that, many people that used to farm left for higher paying jobs in safer industries, leaving the countryside abandoned and neglected. It severely affected the wine production in the land of Sangiovese. It was not until the passionate and wealthy people from northern Italy started to rediscover Chianti that the renaissance of Tuscan wine restarted. Germans, Swiss, English and then Americans soon were buying even the most decrepit estates and bringing them back to a second life. Only a few Tuscans were able to preserve their properties, the noble Florentine families who have owned the land for centuries. Nowadays we see a more democratic distribution of the wine production, with younger farmers interested not only in the vineyards but also in agriculture other then grapes.url
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My family and I arrived in Toscana in 1960, leaving our hometown near Napoli. We left the south searching for a better life, and arrived in the countryside north of Firenze in a town called Prato. Not the fancy hilly Tuscany of many books and tourist pamphlets but a humble and active working community whose main occupation was textile production. Outside of town was an agricultural world with its rhythms and hard work ethic. The people, the food, the landscape – was all so different from where we come from. I was only four, but I distinctly remember feeling the difference and I felt in love with this region right away.
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Nowadays only a few patches of field have survived: industrial buildings and factories cover the rest. I was lucky to have witnessed the last of that agricultural world. Where my parents and I were living was mostly in the countryside, next to farmers and their land. When I wasn’t at school I was following Corrado, the old farmer, around the field or in the stable, where he had cows and pigs. I was helping carrying wheat to the combine in June and with harvest in September. Crushing grapes in the barrels on the wagons and taking them to the cellar. I still remember the smell of the must starting to ferment. The last day of the harvest there was this huge dinner with all the workers seated at this long table set in the farmyard. Great food, wine, and many stories the old farmers knew. After the ‘vendemmia’ it was time to prepare the land for the following season, so we would plow the fields. I can see the tracks of fresh soil dark, dense, almost wet and with intense smell of fresh clay.
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Now everything has changed and if I want to see a countryside that reminds me of my younger years I go toward the west side of Prato’s flatlands. Carmignano lies on the hills below the Montalbano ridge. The mountain systems divide the provinces of Prato and Pistoia from the western part of Florence province and the lower Valdarno valley toward Lucca, Pisa and Livorno.
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The hills are no less charming than those in Chianti or Val d’Orcia. The Medici family chose Poggio a Caiano and Artimino for two of their most beautiful villas for good reason. Easy to reach from Florence, clear visuals on the valley below, pleasant weather to escape the cold winter and the humid hot summer in the city. I recommend visiting if you are planning a trip to Italy, get a car and drive to those places and you sure will be rewarded with an enriched experience.

Conte Contini Bonaccossi, Trefiano, Carmignano Riserva DOCG, 2007
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The Capezzana estate was purchased by Count Alessandro Contini Bonaccossi from Marchese Niccolin in the beginning of the Twentieth century when he moved back from Spain with his family. He had made his fortune with a successful business in antique trades. Capezzana is situated in the commune of Carmignano in the province of Prato, 20 km from Florence, on the slopes of Monte Albano and close to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines.
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The Tenuta Capezzana estate comprises 670 hectares, of which approximately 100 acres are vineyards and 140 acres olive groves. The estate is home to a Renaissance Villa with an adjacent farm, it has historic cellars beneath the complex which date to the 16th century, a modern olive mill and a huge “Vinsantaia” (where Vin Santo grapes are dried), above the cellar.  The “Tinaia” (fermentation cellar) was built in 1938 by Giovanni Michelucci, who was one of the most innovative architects of the 1900s, having designed both the Florence train station and the church of San Giovanni Battista on the Autostrada del Sole near Florence.

After the war in 1945, Count Alessandro’s son Ugo earned a degree on farm management and joined his father on pursuing excellence in wine production along with the other cultures such as olive oil, wheat and fruit trees. The Tenuta Capezzana estate is divided into three parts and incorporates more than 120 sharecropping farms, producing high quality wine and oil.  Today, Capezzana is in the almost unique position of having bottles dating back to the 1925 vintage.

Wine production in Carmignano dates back to the Etruscans and later the Roman period. Carmignano was designated in 1716 by the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici as one of the four best areas for wine growing in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany – Chianti, Pomino and Valdarno Superiore the other three. The ‘Motu proprio’ Decree and ‘Bando’ laid down precise rules for production, set out geographical boundaries and regulated trade for the wines from these areas, thereby making up the first “D.O.C.” in the world. The Carmignano wine disciplinary allowed the use of Cabernet Savignon because this varietal was introduced here by Caterina de’ Medici in the Sixtieth century when she was queen of France, and the grape is still called Uva Francesca by the old farmers.
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Trefiano Carmignano Riserva is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Uva Francesca and 10% Canaiolo. The harvest occurs between the end of September and beginning of October. All the grapes are handpicked. The initial fermentation takes places in stainless steel tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation in French oak where it ages for 16 months, followed by another 12 months in the bottle prior to release. The wine presents a rich ruby color with purple highlights. The nose offers dark fruit and spice nuances with fresh hearty notes. The palate is elegantly wrapped with ripe fruit and berries. The tannins are smooth with a long finish. Pair with Sedani alla Pratese (see recipe), grilled meat and aged cheeses.

Assolati, Dionysios, Vermentino, Toscana IGT, 2013

The Assolati estate has a different history from Capezzana. Here are the humble grandparents of Loriano Giannetti. Farmers who acquired this small property in the 1950s and through hard work and perseverance cleaned a large area covered with Mediterranean shrubs to uncover the fertile soil underneath.

Assolati is located in the hilly west side of Mount Amiata near Montenero d’Orcia, in the province of Grosseto, not far away from Montalcino, Pienza and Siena. Loriano and his family are dedicated to the vineyards as well as raising the indigenous Chianina cows, famous for their tender and exquisite meat and used for the famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina. This two inch Florentine steak is a must for meat lovers and can be eaten only in Toscana! Besides farming, the Giannetti’s are running a beautiful agriturismo in their restored casale that faces the valley below toward the Maremma. The main grape grown here is Sangiovese with a small amount of Colorino, Ciliegiolo and Cabernet for the reds, along with Vermentino and little Chardonnay for the whites.

The ‘Dionysos’ Vermentino is a simple yet beautiful wine crafted with the same care and passion dedicated to the reds. The vines are growing on mix of clay and calcareous soil that provide a nice vein of acidity and minerality to the wines. Yellow stone fruits on the nose and mouth with a citrusy touch. The grapes are harvested manually in late August/beginning of September. After a gentle pressing the wine goes through cold maceration and fermentation in stainless steel tanks, where it rests for six months before bottling. This Vermentino would be a great pairing for squash or pumpkin soup, and an absolute hit with fresh cracked Dungeness or a Crab Louie Salad.

 

Sedani alla Pratese

(Stuffed celery Prato’ style)

This is a classic example of a cucina povera dish. Using left over meat and ingredients that are cheap and available. That said, this preparation requires time and attention.

Ingredients (serves 4)

Prepare a tomato sauce, with or without ground meat enough for 4 serving

8 large celery stalks, about 2 inches wide at the bottom

200gr ground veal

150gr chicken livers, chopped

200gr ground mortadella

4 eggs

2 garlic cloves chopped with a spring of parsley

Black peppercorn, freshly grounded

Nutmeg freshly grated, plenty to smell

Parmigiano

2-3 tbsp. of flour

Breadcrumbs

Olive oil

Vegetable oil

Salt

  • Cut the celery by the root side about 4 inches long and blench in plenty hot salty water for 10-15 minutes along with some celery leaves
  • Drain the celery and set them on kitchen towel, cover with another towel where we place a cutting board with some weight, to help squeeze the excess water
  • When the celery are cold and drained remove the stringy parts
  • In a bowl mix the ground veal, chopped chicken livers, mortadella, 2 eggs, garlic, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper
  • Scoop the mixture in the 8 wide celery pieces, using the other one as cover
  • Tie the two pieces of celery with kitchen string on both end and let rest for 20 minutes
  • Using the other 3 eggs, flour and 2tbsp of olive oil mix together to obtain a batter enough dense to coat the celery
  • In a fryer or cast iron pan, using high heat vegetable oil, fry the stuffed celery, being careful do not overcrowd the pan
  • Fry the celery for about 10 minutes, until they get a golden color. Let them rest on paper towel to lose some of the oil
  • Transfer all the celery in a large pan, with the tomatoes’ sauce and cook for about an hour over low flames
  • Serve two celery in each plate, scooping on top some sauce

Now, tutti a tavola, it is time to eat!

PlumpJackSport Winter Blow Out Sale

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Elevate your ski wardrobe in anticipation for an epic El Nino winter! PlumpJackSport at the village at Squaw Valley, is brining the hottest winter styles to the city! Our winter ski wear and technical line includes some of the most stylish pieces that are exclusive to a handful of outfitters in the North Lake Tahoe area. Get ahead of the season and purchase all your ski wear, après wear and accessories before you hit the mountain this winter! You wont want to miss this amazing sale!nike air jordan shoes

Date: Saturday, October 24th
Time: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: 3138 Fillmore Street at Greenwichsteve curry shoes

Designers featured at the sale: Kjus, Fire & Ice, Spyder
Helly HansenGiroSmithAnonBogner and Orage

Bring in a gently used coat benefitting One Warm Coat
and receive an additional 10% OFF your purchase.

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Conversations with Hilary: Gavin & Jennifer Newsom

Although my brother and I are close and we see each other often, I was still excited to have him participate in my monthly, Conversations with Hilary. I was even more excited when his wife, Jennifer, agreed to be part of the monthly series – a two for one. I am biased, but I happen to think my brother and Jennifer are pretty terrific – individually and as a couple. My brother, the founder of PlumpJack, who has also worked his way up in California politics from a commissioner, to supervisor and then Mayor of San Francisco, to now Lieutenant Governor of California and candidate for Governor in 2018. Jennifer is an award-winning filmmaker and CEO of The Representation Project. This highly accomplished pair is expecting their fourth child in the winter, and my two nieces and nephew are just thrilled to have a baby sibling on the way!
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Despite all of their professional commitments, they spend a lot of time together riding bikes, swimming, traveling, enjoying the outdoors and eating pizza with their Grandpapapapa.

I hope you enjoy this Conversations with Hilary as much as I did!
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What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Our three kids – and we’ll let you know about the fourth after we meet him.
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Do you have a prized possession?
Gavin’s Leica camera. And the horse Jen doesn’t have yet!

With our father

With our father

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What qualities do you think others love about you?
Our courage in the face of adversity. Our commitment to social justice. And, our ability to laugh at ourselves.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
We’d run a wildlife refuge, Safari outfit in Botswana.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
Creating the right conditions that help people overcome life’s obstacles, and achieve their aspirations. Righting social and cultural injustices. Making a difference.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Gavin grabs his cell phone. Jen runs to a crying child.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Sleep
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What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
Sports. Nature. Travel. Exploring.

What are you passionate about now?
Making a difference. Raising our kids to be whole, healthy human beings, not limited by stereotypes. Ensuring future generations have agency and are not bystanders in the world.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Summer because everything slows down and we get to spend more time with family and friends.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three items would you want to have with you?
A wifi router, electricity generator, and an iPhone so we could FaceTime the kids.
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What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
My little Pony’s “Art of the Dress” – From Songs of Friendship. What can we say? Three kids.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Jennifer: Eleanor Roosevelt, Sargeant Shriver, and Mahatma Ghandi
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If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
“I’m Really Busy, Please Leave a Message”

Do you have any regrets?
Don’t we all? But if it doesn’t kill you, it only makes you stronger, deeper, and possibly more interesting.

The first time I met Jennifer

The first time I met Jennifer

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Define Freedom.
Freedom means the ability to choose and pursue your destiny.

What are your personal core values?
Hard work, courage, authenticity, kindness, compassion, speaking the truth.