From Electrician to Judge: When Law School Optional


A Tale of Lawyer Wine

File Feb 21, 8 56 19 PMSince I started this blog, I’ve come across a few really awesome Lawyer Wines. One of them was definitely 19 Crimes. Printed on the corks are the nineteen crimes that the British Government punished with a one-way ticket to Australia during the Victorian Era[1]. Very lawyer appropriate. Another one, while not so much lawyer-specific as nerd-specific, was Cum Laude by Banfi, a lovely Tuscan red blend that made me happily reflect back on my college GPA.

But when I saw the Judge Palmer bottles floating around on Instagram, I knew I had gone to Lawyer Wine heaven. Their motto is “Truth, Justice & California Cabernet.” I think I may have to put that on my tombstone. And what’s even better, is the wine is divine.

File Feb 21, 9 01 32 PMBusiness partners Palmer Emmit and Michael Scorsone released their first wine offerings in December 2015; a 2012 Malbec, a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon[2]. The wine is named after Palmer’s grandfather, James W. Palmer, an electrical contractor and pear farmer from Placerville, CA[3]. A tragic accident paralyzed Palmer from the waist down, and he was left needing a new purpose in life. The county supervisor knew Palmer was a good honest man, and when the county judge passed away during his term of office, he immediately thought of Palmer as a replacement. Only one problem. Palmer wasn’t a lawyer. They told him, “All you have to do is pass the bar.[4]” According to his grandson, he studied his ass off and they made him a judge. Judge Palmer was re-elected to the position four times and served for over 20 years before retiring[5]. If that doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, your heart is black.

Flash forward 35 years later, and his grandson is making wine in California, inspired by his grandfather’s legacy.  Palmer saw the poignant parallel to be drawn between the role of a judge in the courtroom and their winemaking philosophy. “Native yeast, minimal intervention, terroir driven with the goal to not impart the ‘bias’ of a particular style on the resulting wines.” Talk about full circle. Brilliant.

File Feb 21, 9 00 23 PMHusband and I sampled a bottle in the midst of an unannounced snow storm with some friends[6]. We decanted the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, made from grapes sourced from the Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard in Rutherford, Napa Valley. This wine was complex, but light and airy at the same time. Slightly sweet with a raspberry finish. Hints of cherry tobacco all over the place. I got cedar on the nose, maybe even some licorice. Not a typical Cabernet by any means, but, as it turns out, 2011 was not a typical year. Lots of rain and an unusually cool growing season left the grapes needing a bit more love and attention, and Palmer and Michael certainly made it work.

On their heartfelt website, Palmer and Michael urge you to “try a bottle with a jury of your peers,” and I heartily concur. For now you’ll have to head over to their website to buy a bottle while they work on expanding distribution. With wine this good though, they probably won’t need it! Until the next bottle of Judge Palmer, Cheers!

Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Where can I sign up for this punishment? And can I talk to the travel agent about switching the destination to Italy?
[2] Guess which one I tried first?
[3] Also known as Hangtown during the California Gold Rush. I’ll let you figure out why. #offwithhishead
[4] #NoBigDeal. Not.
[5] Goes to show you that law school really is pointless.
[6] Thanks for letting us use your snow blower! I still haven’t found our shovel…

Shameless Plug
And if you haven’t voted yet, head over to Facebook and vote for Wine Esquire in the Milessima Wine Blog Awards. Winning means I’d get to head across the pond for a wine adventure in Bordeaux. Read more here. Or just go vote. Cheers!

2 thoughts on “From Electrician to Judge: When Law School Optional

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you
    aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

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