What do fast cars and fine wines have in common? If you’re Kevin Buckler — owner and founder of The Racers Group (TRG), TRG-Aston Martin Racing and Adobe Road Winery — then everything. A passionate professional race car driver, Buckler created TRG in 1992, and has gone on to win multiple awards including an overall win and 4 class wins at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, a win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the title of 2002 Porsche World Cup Champion. But Buckler couldn’t leave his passion for wine in the dust — in 2002 he and his wife, Debra, opened Adobe Road Winery which has also gone on to score big points with big-named critics.
Like custom building the perfect race car, Buckler knows that crafting the perfect wines requires all the the right parts. This means, above all else, access to good grapes. “We work hard to make sure each bottle of Adobe Road wine showcases the best attributes of each individual vineyard,” says Buckler, “We choose the best parts of Sonoma and Napa Valley.” So far I must agree, because to me nothing says perfectly balanced Chardonnay than a handful of grapes from Bacigalupi Vineyards in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.
What do you do when you’re alone? That may sound like a loaded (or dirty) question, but think about it. What is it that you do when no one else is watching? Me? I practice my violin without abandon; I strum on my guitar like I’m Keith Richards (What? I have a thing for the Rolling Stones…); I sing at the top of my lungs; and I dance because, well, no one is watching. I eat chocolate; I lift weights; I pour an extra glass; I run an extra mile. What do you do when you are on your own?
I dedicate this post to my partner in wine crime, without whom this site and my very career as a wine writer wouldn’t exist. I wasn’t always a writer — believe it or not, I wasn’t always a wine lover. But one thing he and I had in common right from the beginning of our relationship was the joy we both found in the kitchen. That joy increased exponentially when we started cooking together. I may have been the first in the relationship to ask, “What wine would pair with this?” but it’s only through both our inquisitive minds and insatiable curiosity about all things cuisine, that I’ve gotten as far as I have.
I like prime numbers. A prime number is unbreakable — only divisible by itself and 1. Some may say they don’t play well with others; I say they’re strong enough to stand on their own. I find I have some kind of spiritual connection to prime numbers. We’re weird, we don’t fit into conventional puzzle pieces, a lot of people don’t “get” us, and even more people don’t even know what or who we are. We hide in plain sight and are the answer to “can you tell me which thing is not like the other?”
…I also find that meaningful things happen to me when I am a prime number age…
In 2011 — a prime year — the Russian River Valley experienced unconventional climatic conditions that, for all intents and purposes, shouldn’t have worked. But it did — not for everyone, but for some vintners. And when I tasted the Crux Winery 2011 Zinfandel the first time I visited the boys in their warehouse winery, this was the wine I felt a deep, undeniably emotional connection to.
I did not grow up with a large family. Seeing extended family — even some type of grandparent-like figure — was reserved for holidays. And I’m ok with that because what it means is that my little family of four is actually quite close. I grew up with a mommy, a daddy, and a brother (and our dog, Sparky, who will be the first to greet me at the pearly gates).
My parents are the kind of parents who will play with me, help me with my homework, talk me through tough times, and celebrate even the smallest of victories with me. My brother is the kind of kid that can crawl under my skin and be utterly annoying, but is always there for me at a drop of a hat. I say these things in the present tense because, even as an adult-aged child, all these statements remain true. I used to think I wanted to be a part of a large family, have endless lists of relatives. Not anymore. Party of four means I’m never lost in the crowd, can give and receive attention when needed. Plus we don’t have to wait that long for a table at restaurants.