Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Tribute to the Notorious RBG

It was a smoke-filled day with forest fires raging wild along the West Coast. I was in back-to-back meetings, dealing with my own "fires" at work. Then I got a Skype message with a crying face emoji, followed by more Skype and text messages.

"RBG has passed away."

I was gutted. At that moment, the problem I was dealing with seemed small and distant. 

2018 Notorious RBG

You may recall that the Notorious RBG was one of my hobby wine labels. When we decided to go with a political theme for our 2018 vintage, we wanted to honor women who have made a positive difference. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a no-brainer. 

The nickname, Notorious RBG, was coined by then NYU law student Shana Khniznik, who started a blog in 2013 capturing the justice's dissenting opinions. Justice Ginsberg spent much of her legal career paving the way for women to be on equal footing as men in decision making and compensation. Though we are still a ways from gender equality, many women of power today owe their success to her. I'd like to think myself included.

RBG's dissenting collar

In honor of the late Justice Ginsberg, I opened a bottle of the 2018 Notorious RBG. The wine is made with Red Bordeaux Grapes or, more specifically, Right Bank Grapes (both fitting of the acronym): 70% Merlot from Les Collines Vineyard of Walla Walla AVA and 30% Cabernet Franc from Chandler Reach Vineyard of Yakima AVA.

Here's my tasting notes:

When first opened, the wine had a lively bouquet of cherries and strawberries. The fruity notes extended to the palate, albeit subtly and with high acidity. It is like taking the tiniest bite of a ripe Bing cherry. The young wine was bone dry and needed to breathe. Decanted over time, the acidity and tannins mellowed out and gave it a fuller, rounder mouthfeel, with more plum notes. It was then more approachable and delicious, with a long-lasting finish. The wine could age at least another 3 to 4 years.

Remembering RBG

In a way, the 2018 Notorious RBG seems to reflect the essence of Justice Ginsberg in a bottle. While known to be incredibly shy, her passion for law and justice was lively and a force of nature. In her old age, she became increasingly comfortable with being loved and embraced by the public. Her death was a great loss to many.

Rest in peace, Notorious RBG! May your legacy live on in our wine and in our hearts!