Yoga, Cade, Chicken Chili, Marky Mark

March 16, 2011 by: The Urban Grape

If I were the type of girl to rank my days, then yesterday would have ranked pretty high. It was one of those rare moments where I was able to seamlessly pass from one expectation to another while still having fun and feeling relaxed. The fact that my day involved a serious wine tasting right in the middle didn’t hurt either.

What makes a good day for me? It started with a little yoga in a quiet house while TJ dropped Noah off at school with Jason in tow. This is not what I look like doing yoga, but I’m fairly obsessed with Shiva Rea at the moment and this is what SHE looks like. Something to aspire to.

After a quick shower I spent the morning with Jason, who has transformed from an easy-going baby into a tyrannical two year old. He decided he was going to be the boss of the babies in his art class, repeatedly telling them “No babies, NO!!” and wagging his finger in dismay whenever they stepped out of line. This is the sort of stuff that mortified me when Noah did it, but with Jason it just makes me laugh. He is solidly in the freak phase and I’m loving it.

After art class I dropped Jason with his babysitter and made a two second transformation from mom covered in blue paint to business owner wife, and headed out with TJ to a fantastic Cade and PlumpJack lunch at Post 390. We were lucky enough to sit at the table with Tony Biagi, the winemaker for both vineyards. As with every California winemaker I’ve met to this point, he was a laid back, affable guy with a pocket full of stories and the personality to tell them. I let TJ quiz him on the wines while I spoke with him about the decision to start Cade. I wondered why they didn’t just expand PlumpJack, given the huge success they were having with the label.

It turns out the decision not to expand PlumpJack was very deliberate. They wanted to maintain the brand’s ability to produce primarily estate driven products, which limits them in size. By starting Cade, they could expand their portfolio and also introduce grapes grown on Howell Mountain. I got the sense that building the Cade brand has been challenging – one because it coincided with the economic downturn but also (perhaps) because with such limited quantities of PlumpJack available, buying Cade may seem to some like a consolation prize.

After trying many of the PlumpJack selections next to their Cade counterpoints yesterday, I can say that I personally found the Cade wines to be just as exciting and palette-friendly. The Cade Sauvignon Blanc is delicious and their Howell Mountain Cab is one of TJ’s favorites. Add in the fact that Cade is on the verge of receiving their organic certification (a designation they are not trying to attain for PlumpJack) and I think we will see the demand for these wines increase. They are really focusing on the Boston market, which is good news for all of us. We carry the full compliment of both PlumpJack and Cade wines, and they will always be a staple product at The Urban Grape. If you are a PlumpJack fan, I really urge you to try a Cade wine one night. You’ll be impressed.

After lunch we headed home and decided to get outside and enjoy the extra hour of sunlight. Noah has been itching to try out his new bike, so we followed him around while he pedaled back and forth up the Southwest Corridor. Jason would not ride his little bike because he was so mad that Noah’s bike is bigger, but he insisted on wearing his bike helmet anyway. When a fiesty two year old screams “No…Jacey’s hat! NO…JACEY’S HAT!” at you over and over again, you just let him do it. Turns out it was a good thing as he fell off the slide a thousand times at the playground. 999 of the times were on purpose. Like I said, freak!

While TJ gave the boys baths I whipped up a seriously incredible Chicken Chili from the Cook’s Illustrated Soups and Stews issue. Make this chicken chili recipe! It was so flavorful and satisfying without being heavy. I’m dreaming of it right now, but alas, I’ve already given away the leftovers. We paired it with the Robert Craig Cab from Howell Mountain, making it a Howell Mountain kind of day from start to finish.

Speaking of finish…we ended our day watching The Fighter on On Demand. Oh Mark Wahlberg, how I love you. What’s it been, almost 20 years now that I have adored this man? The movie was so good, and I couldn’t help bursting with Boston pride at the job Mark did. It maybe inspired me to start a boxing match with TJ before bed, but I cannot confirm or deny that.

All in all, a perfect day.


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  1. Another great post Hadley.

    Thanks for sharing all of it, especially the insight into Cade. I had their ’06 recently and was really *really* impressed. I thought it was the perfect intersection between “delicious” and “high quality” I’m always looking for.


    Comment by Robert Dwyer — March 16, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  2. This is a great post :) I can’t wait to catch The Fighter (and to head down to Alma Nove for a potential Wahlberg man sighting!)

    Comment by Meghan@travelwinedine — March 16, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  3. Thanks for the thorough post! That’s really interesting about the decision not to expand PlumpJack; I didn’t know about that. I’m a big fan of theirs — love the history of their Oakville Vineyard ( Hope to be able to visit again soon!

    Comment by Debbie — March 23, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

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