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!

One of THOSE Days

***BLOG UPDATE After posting last night, the dishwasher kicked the bucket. It’s full of dirty dishes. Yep. ***

You know the kind. You wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it just continues all day. Well, I’m at the tail end of one of those. This is kind of how it went:

Wake up,
See box of Life Cereal on the counter.
Best. Idea. Ever.
Go to Fridge.
Husband finished milk[1].
Go to Work[2].
Do Work.
Get a call.
Where are you?
At work. Why?
You’re supposed to be at a closing.
That’s not until 2:30.
It was changed to 1:00.
Go to closing.
Go back to work.
Continue working.
Get hungry.
Drive home.
Witness the Best. Sunset. Ever.
No photo opportunity[3].
Go to grocery store[4] while Husband orders take out.
Get home.
Unload groceries.
Open said take out.
Find out it’s the WRONG meal.
So hungry.
Eat it anyway.
Shed tears of frustration.

File Oct 21, 8 40 28 PMBut then I thought about how I should really get a grip. I’m healthy, happy, well fed, and now I have a glass of wine. There are so many people out there facing real problems. So tonight, I’m thankful for my WA WA day, because I could be dealing with real problems, and I’m not. We should all raise a glass and say a prayer for those who need it. Happy Wine Wednesday friends.

To:                   Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               October 21, 2015
Wine:              2011 Bobal deSanjuan
This smells sparkling but it’s not[5]. On the nose I get deep fruit, definitely plum. First sip and I actually stop, make a WOW face, and say mmmmmmm. Leathery with a hint of tobacco, almost like a spicy cabernet. Really deep with a medium finish. On the drier side, definitely some tannins. Nice legs are swirling. I’ve never had this varietal before, and I’m liking what I taste. Paris well with the Dominican chicken rice and beans I’m eating[6].

Wine Dossier
During my LastBottle marathon[7] a few months ago, I started ordering wine like a mad woman. Older vintages, varietals I had never heard of before, bottles way out of my price range. I blame it on the adrenaline, which was seriously pumping for a solid 12 hours. So far, all my selections have turned out well. When we got home and wanted to open a bottle tonight, given the way the day was going, I decided to open one of our less expensive offerings, just in case it turned out to be a dud[8]. Lucky for me, my LastBottle streak continued and it turned out to be excellent.File Oct 21, 8 39 34 PM

This is 100% Bobal[9], a grape whose name is derived from bovale, or bull, as the bunches are said to be shaped like a bull’s head. Given that I’d never heard of it before, I was surprised to read that it is Spain’s third most planted varietal, behind Airen[10] and Tempranillo.

Looking at the front and back labels, it’s tough to decipher who the producer is. I’m sure that’s because it’s in Spanish, and even though I took four years of the language in high school, I’ve got nothin’. “Old Vines” figures prominently on the front, and the back lets me know that the grapes came from 60 to 80 year old vines. I read that the varietal proved resistant to the Phylloxera vine disease[11] in the mid-19th century, so maybe that’s why the vines are so old.

Whoever does the marketing/branding for this producer needs some help, or they need to be fired. After 10 minutes of searching The Google, I still can’t find anything about who made this wine. Maybe it’s the day I’m having, but I don’t really think so. I finally found it on Wine-Searcher, so you can check it out if you want to snag a bottle. I paid $8.02 during the marathon, but you can get it for $12. At either price, it’s a steal and well worth it!


Lawyer FootnotesFile Oct 21, 8 51 29 PM
[1] When he came home last night and had a bowl of said Life Cereal. $50 fine for finishing milk.
[2] Hungry, because, see footnote 1, supra.
[3] This drives me insane!
[4] Because we need milk, see footnote 1, supra.
[5] Is that a thing?
[6] So technically it’s what Husband ordered for me, chicken with rice and beans. I’m not sure if he ordered wrong or they just put the wrong thing in, but when I usually order chicken with rice and beans there, I don’t get huge chicken pieces on the bone. So I’m still eating what I wanted to eat, I just have to do work to eat it…I shouldn’t complain, it’s delicious.
[7] If you don’t know about Last Bottle yet, go sign up. Awesome wine deals sent to your email everyday. Get a group of coworkers together who also love wine and then you can get free shipping!
[8] Because that’s pretty much how the day was going.
[9] The Irish Times called Bobal “Spain’s hidden gem.” The Irish clearly know what’s up.
[10] I’ve never heard of this one either, so don’t feel bad.
[11] So this was a HUGE problem in Europe because it ate the roots of the vines and destroyed almost every vine in existence. Talk about apocalyptic ish! There’s still no cure, so vintners have to be vigilant as it can spread easily. Read more here.

Motion Granted

File Oct 05, 7 40 35 PMI imagine it’s really frustrating when your lawyer tells you,

“There’s no way to know what will happen; it could go either way.”

Well, that’s what I’ve been telling my client for the last week. It really could have gone either way. I don’t have a crystal ball to see how it’s going to go before the hearing, and, contrary to popular belief, there is no legal magic wand that makes miraculous things happen just because you hired a lawyer.

So we showed up for the hearing this morning, and without much fanfare, it went our way. Now it wasn’t the most complex legal argument I’ve ever made. In fact, it wasn’t really based on law at all; it was based on fairness and equity[1]. I said my piece, opposing counsel said his, and then the judge, quite summarily said “Well, I’m going to grant it.” Major milestone of my legal career? Definitely not, but it made a huge difference to my client, and that felt good.[2]

To:                  Alleged Blog Readers
From:             WineEsquire
Date:               October 5, 2015
Wine:             Ehhhh Italian Rosso
In honor of my successful lawyer day, my plan was to come home and drink a great bottle of wine. But then I didn’t get home till 7. And Husband had to work late. And I didn’t have any good food to eat. So I opened up a cheapo. Sometimes cheapos are great. Sometimes they’re bad. Sometimes, they’re just, Eh. This one was Eh. It pairs well with my Eh dinner of split pea and ham soup.[3]

Sharpie markers and flowers on the nose. Wine on the palate. A good, non-descript table wine. Yep.

Now on to the X-Files[4].


Lawyer Footnotes
[1] Which usually gets you nowhere.
[2] As we left the courthouse she said, “Is it too early for margaritas?” My kind of lady.price chopper
[3] Actually, the soup is delicious and it was homemade by none other than…you guessed it…Price Chopper. #favoritestore When are they going to make me a brand ambassador?? Hello, Price Chopper Corporate, I’m over here!
[4] Prior to a few weeks ago, I’d never seen an episode. Husband was a fan back in the 90s, so when there was nothing on Netflix, we decided to give it a try. I’m now obsessed. I can’t believe I went so long without Mulder and Scully in my life. Can we talk about the time that Scully got abducted by aliens and Mulder didn’t really care for an entire episode, so he put her FBI badge into an X Files filing cabinet and went and had sex with a vampire. I mean, WTF!? Really?? #WheresScullyX-filesascension

A Pinotage Contract Party

File Sep 29, 7 46 19 PMI’ve been doing a lot of contract drafting lately and sometimes it makes your eyes glaze over, but once I finish an agreement, there’s a sense of accomplishment that comes with it. Husband wanted to know why the two people or entities involved in a contract are referred to as “parties”. Is there a party going on somewhere that I don’t know about? I couldn’t find much on the history of why this term is used, but says that:

Party meaning ‘a specific individual’ is old in the language, going back to the 15th century, and was formerly in common use. Today, it remains standard in limited senses, chiefly the legal, and is often used humorously or condescendingly: the party holding the balloon. The word person is the neutral and common term.

Since I finished revising not one but THREE contracts today[1], I decided I’d throw myself a party. A wine party. A wine party where I come home and drink some wine, blog about it, and then watch Netflix[2]. Great party!
To:                   Alleged Blog Readers
From:              WineEsquire
Date:               September 29, 2015
Wine:              2012 Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve Pinotage
This has a strong, funky nose. Almost a farm smell; maybe some hay, maybe a bit of must, maybe some manure. Funky is not always a good thing, and I was a bit nervous before I took a sip. But with just one sip, I was pleasantly surprised. On the drier side, with tannins that make you chew a bit. A hint of cherry and tobacco, with a medium finish. Long thin legs that run down the glass at a fast pace.

Was this a knock your socks off, epic wine? No, but it was an astounding value at $7.95 and perfect for a quiet Tuesday night. Perfect to have in the wine rack for Contract Parties such as this.

Wine Dossier
This particular Pinotage comes from a very old South African winery. In 1791, Philippus Wolvaart spent to 5,600 Guilders[3] to open Nederburg. It has gone through several owners since then (obviously) and is now run by Romanian-born, Razvan Macici, who comes from a family of wine makers. Pinotage is a popular South African varietal, a bit lesser known, but definitely worth exploring. Apparently its suffered from a bad reputation, but Husband and I have been drinking it for years, so you should too!


Lawyer Footnotes
[1] And a million other things.
[2] Unlike this lawyer, I’m not going to bill my client for the wine and Netflix part.SavorItaly (2)
[3] Guilders used to be the currency of the Netherlands. The Dutch played an integral role in early South African settlements in the 1600s.

If you’re still reading, don’t forget to enter the contest to win 2 tickets to Savor Italy in NYC on October 5.