Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March 9th, 2010 Wine Tasting: Dr. Scribner, this one's for you

Once upon a time (don't all good stories start with "Once upon a time"?) an unassuming, sickly young man with poor eyesight was born in the Midwest. He survived his childhood illnesses and went to medical school.  He did some time in the medical establishment back East but his heart led him to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle, where he literally changed the world. This is a full page ad run by the Northwest Kidney Centers in the Seattle Times on 3/8 in honor of Dr. Scribner (click to enlarge). In addition to saving millions of lives, Dr. Scribner was also instrumental in changing the way wine is sold in Washington State.

By 1960, Dr. Belding Scribner was focused on kidneys, and what to do when a person's kidneys stop functioning.  (Up until then death was the only option).  Dr. Scribner developed the Scribner Shunt, and with the help of an amazing team and an amazing patient, chronic hemodialysis was born and millions of lives were saved.  (Mine being one of them - were it not for Dr. Scribner, Clyde Sheilds (his patient who helped with the technology) and the team at the University of Washington & the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center, well, let's just say, things would be different  - you wouldn't be reading this blog for one).

At the end of the day, Dr. Scribner liked his wine.  He liked his Cabernet Sauvignon so well that he kept a cellar of it.  Now that was very Rock & Roll, because Washington State at that time had some puritanical liquor laws.  So puritanical that Dr. Scribner was arrested in 1968 and his wine cellar was confiscated. Subsequently, his wine was returned to him and the laws were changed.  All thanks to Dr. Scribner.

I was thinking of Dr. Scribner "Scrib" today, March 9th because it is 50 years to the day that he dialyized that amazing patient of his, Clyde Shields (who lived another 11 years as a father, husband and chronic dialysis recipient).

It is fitting that I had a California Wine Tasting event at Bacchus tonight. Before I went to the tasting, I went to a new wine bar on Broadway, Vareli, and had a glass of Johnson Family Vinyards Cabernet. (Dr. Scribner was partial to Cabernet - he stuck to one wine and he collected the best). Well, I sipped the wine, thought about my personal journey and how I got to be right here, right now and I nibbled at a cheese plate.  Then I was off to the event of the evening "California Dreaming Wine Tasting".  I actually paid extra attention to each Cabernet I tried, just to honor Dr. Scribner.

Here is the rundown:

Hawkes Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon `06 (Alexander Valley, Lake County, CA) I bought a bottle.  It is lush, smooth and very deep.  I'll cook a nice steak dinner with it soon, and review it properly.

Trefethen Cabernet Sauvignon, (Napa) WOW  amazing, lush blackcurrent with some spice, but too rich for my blood. $55.99 a bottle.

Savage Cabernet Sauvignon, (Napa) hahahahahahahaha I have two bottles of this amazing small production Cabernet that I am saving for an extra special occasion. Michael Savage, British ex-pat, you may just be producing my favorite Cabernet - keep it up!  This may indeed be my Scribner wine.  It is gorgeous. I discovered it months earlier, and when the distributor poured it for me tonight, I just smiled.  This is a wine to be savored, and you will be reading about it again here on my blog.  Maybe I'll open it on my birthday.  It is just that kind of wine.

Counting my glass before the tasting tonight, I had 21 of California's Finest. I bought four ( J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc, Hawkes Unfiltered Cabernet, Delicus Argentum, and Girasole Zinfandel), and I had two of the Savage already in my rack. You'll be reading about the rest, and I'll link back to this post to put it all in context.

Dr. Belding Scribner, from all I've read (and I've read a lot) unassuming, eccentric and a genius who saved millions of lives (including yours truly) and at the end of the day, you could find him on his houseboat in Lake Union, Seattle with a wineglass in his hand.  He was working and advocating until the end when he died at age 82 in 2003.  Now that is my kind of Hero.  Cheers Dr. Scribner, and thank you.

(h/t to Bill Peckham over at Dialysis From The Sharp End of the Needle - Bill is Seattle based, knew Dr. Scribner, and, well, keeps the flame burning to say the least. And I know for a fact that he too enjoys a glass of wine on occasion.)

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