Thankfully, the prospect of a new car or the shiny girlfriend half my age holds about as much joy as as a root canal. Nonetheless, I’ve been staring into the gaping maw of a mid-life crisis recently.

It started strangely and innocently enough with an aversion to eating the meat that I had loved for so long. I just can’t get past certain ethical dilemmas that, being aware of but not compelled by, before, have now wrapped me up tight – and discomfited – in a vegetarian knot.

More relevantly, I’ve noticed a subtle shift in my attitudes about the wines I make. It happened again yesterday while working with my

Craig taking notes on 2010 Merlot

newest winemaking team member, Craig Ploof, while evaluating barrels of Merlot for our 2010 Bordeaux Varietal Series offering. I have repeatedly been questioning the relationship of fruit to wood and to structure recently. We made a couple of mock blends of Merlot, both of which were very nice. But I concluded, ultimately, that I liked the idea of the one that would have been most characteristic of a Steven Kent release better than I liked the actual wine.

The other blend, the one I eventually chose, is a terrific wine. The important issue for consumers of Steven Kent wines is that the wine is a beautiful example of the varietal, year, and site. My job…my passion is to make GREAT wines…and those can come in any number of different presentations. The subtle shift in emphasis – big for me – may not be detectable to anyone else. In the end, that’s more than okay.