...In With the New -- Or, Taste the Love. (Feel it, Too.)

In the glamorous life of a winemaker, New Year's Eve, it would follow, should be one of the most fabulous nights of the year. Decked in jewels and formal wear, rocking out under disco balls and/or crystal chandeliers (take your pick!), pouring your wine out of double-magnum for adoring revelers who've enjoyed incredible food-and-wine-pairings all night; then turn their adoring gazes to toast you when the clock strikes midnight... 

Hey, wait, this sounds suspiciously like what's going on at Bonny Doon tonight. Unfortunately, it's not what's going on here at JB-HQ on 12-31-10. Below, beloved readers, is what's going on here, as others more celebratory and glamorous than we revel in the end of this year.

Labels. Finally, labels. Guess who's putting them on? Yeah. I got your handcrafted right here.

Hosting, Eating, Cookin' 

Since we got all that wine in bottle, a few things have happened.

  • We've hosted tastings, some fancy-ish (painstakingly prepared hors d'oeuvres with personalized placecards), some not fancy-ish (crackers: eat 'em and like 'em). 
  • We've been through the Great Label Caper, wherein the labels did not arrive on Christmas Eve as promised, leaving us feeling sadly Grinched (though Christmas came just the same; where we poured for family and friends 'round the table from bottles marked with masking tape, instead of beautiful hand-applied labels).
  • We returned the last of the borrowed picking bins in a one-day turnaround trip to the Central Coast, and squeezed in a visit to Full of Life Flatbread, where the rainy weather of the past few weeks meant that chanterelles were in full and glorious force on the menu. We devoured them in a roasted cauliflower soup, and not one but two, TWO, flatbreads of deliciousness. I also took a deep breath and lost my oyster virginity with this Morro Bay beauty:

Yeah. It was ...good. Mmmmm.

  • After picking up the wayward labels in Orange County on the way to Los Angeles for a radio show appearance (see below), we hastily slapped the very first labels on a bottle of La Paloma Libresca in the car in the dim light of a parking meter in Little Tokyo. We then debuted the j.brix project at one of our favorite L.A. gastropubs, where LPL paired like a dream with the following varied and scrumptious items:
    • Pork chicharon skewers with harissa
    • Burger with cantal cheese and green peppercorn mustard
    • Za'atar spiced hen with black Tuscan kale, nutmeg and spaetzle
    • We visited the CRN studios in Los Angeles as guests on "What's Cookin' Today With Mike and Paul," a daily morning radio show dedicated to all things food and wine. We chatted about the project and the wines, and it looks like we'll be back on-air before too long, so stay tuned! And, in case you wonder what a radio show looks like, you can watch and listen to Parts 1 & 2 below. (See, I thought a radio show looked like someone sitting listening to people talking on the radio -- until five seconds before we went live, and Paul said, "Oh, this is going on YouTube." Great!)

"What's Cookin'," Part 1 (Dec. 29, 2010)

"What's Cookin'," Part 2 (Dec. 29, 2010)

De Manos, Y Amor

That brings us to this New Year's Eve, where we let others do the partying, whilst we stay home in order to perfectly align the labels on many cases of the 2009 j.brix vintage. And, I must say, long though the wait was, the labels are lovely.  The wine, too.

So if you, dear reader, ever happen to have your own hands on a bottle of j.brix wine, well, no matter where you've joined us in the story, know: While the word "handcrafted" has been usurped by marketers and now means practically nothing, everything about these wines begins and ends with gentle hands, and love.

May your new year be full of both.