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Please Toast to Simon

This is Vanessa, Simon’s wife, writing to you from Amsterdam. Some of you may have heard that a few weeks ago, Simon was diagnosed with a brain tumor while we were on a business trip in Europe. None of us saw it coming. Earlier that day we were walking the canals together; later that evening I got a call that he was in an ambulance after a suspected stroke during a wine tasting. A CT scan revealed a lesion in his left hemisphere.

Simon and family at VU hospital in Amsterdam. We are working to get him home soon.

We are currently at VU, one of the top hospitals for neurology in the Netherlands, where they’ve been running diagnostics to determine the type of cancer. We've also been working hard to arrange transport back to San Francisco so he can be treated at UCSF and we can all be home. In the meantime, his daughters, Evie and Bea, and their mother, Rachel, and many loved ones in this part of the world, have traveled here to be with him. There have been many moments of sweetness and connection even within these tense and overwhelming days.

Our Thanksgiving at Vu Hospital - mac and cheese and a splash of 1975 Rioja for

medicinal purposes.

We wanted to share this news with our Wine Friends community because we know how many of you care about Simon, whether you count him as a close friend or have just been touched by his passionate wine musings and quirky British humor.

For those of you wondering how you can support Simon and his family right now, one big way is: Help us keep Wine Friends thriving while Simon focuses on treatment. Wine Friends is an important financial resource for us, especially in the face of big medical costs, and it is dear to Simon’s heart.

Here are some immediate ways to help:

  1. Stock up on wine for the holidays. Wine Friends is fully open for business, thanks to our small but mighty team of Vanessa, Dylan, and friends holding down the fort with continued support from Simon as he is able. If you’re thinking of buying a case, maybe buy two?

  2. If you love ALIT, order a case. As a partner in ALIT, sales of this wine in particular benefit us financially and support his winery as well. Plus, at $22, it is the best darn Pinot Noir you’ll ever drink near this price. In fact, try a $70+ pinot and it likely won’t come close.

  3. Let us help you with corporate gifting. We can send wine gifts to your clients or employees for the holidays. It’s a great way to support us, and check company gifts off your list. Let us know your price point and if there’s a theme, like a region or vintage with significance. We can send wine across the US and to many international places as well.

  4. Spread the word about Wine Friends. Tell your friends about us so we can keep the business thriving while Simon focuses on recovery. If you forward this email to friends, they can click the button below to subscribe, or order wine directly from our website.

In short, we're asking you to support Simon and his family by drinking more wine! While Simon focuses on his health, his wonderful protégé Dylan will be taking over our usual newsletter, with Simon and other wine experts helping in the background. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Dylan directly for support with your wine needs /(831) 331-6991.

Thank you all for your care and continued support. It means the world to us right now.

With gratitude,



This Week's Wine Selection

Hi everyone, Dylan here with this week's wine selection. Simon and I sampled these a few weeks ago and feel they are great pairings for the upcoming holiday season. All of our wines tend to come from small estates throughout Europe with minimal intervention winemaking, and organic, if not biodynamic viticultural practices.

This is a super tasty, complex and elegant Chardonnay from Pouilly-Fuissé in Southern Burgundy. The fruit is grown on the highest, and steepest slopes in the town of Vergisson, which allows great acidity to be retained while fully ripening the grapes due to more sun exposure. These 50+ year old vines are producing incredible fruit that is just so beguiling. Notes of jasmine, baked apples and vanilla on the nose with a great chalky minerality and a slight spiciness coming through on the palate. A great wine to drink on its own, or pair with a plethora of chicken dishes.

This Blaufränkisch comes to us from the Eisenberg district of Burgenland, Austria. The area is incredibly unique in that its soils are comprised of metamorphic, magmatic rock and cristal schist at the foothills of the Alps - one of only three places in the world that has this soil composition. This tiny family estate is producing some uniquely great wines that are deeply connected with the land that they are so passionate about. The resulting Blaufränkisch with its delicate notes of blueberry, wild forest floor, dark cherry, huckleberry, and quince is just like an autumn walk in the vineyards where you come across a table full of good Austrian cheeses and charcuterie to indulge in.

Prünent is the parent of Nebbiolo (the famed grape of Barolo), and is an ancient grape. Found just below the Swiss border in Northern Italy the wines here are grown on traditional pergola systems, whereby the vines are trained very high on tall trellises to increase sun exposure and air circulation. This helps the grapes ripen fully, while minimizing risk of fungus and disease. The Cantine Garrone Prünent is an outstanding expression of this grape. Spicy, leathery, smoky with incredible elegance, lightness on the palate, and notes of black and red fruits. It is slightly less tannic and lower in alcohol than Nebbiolo, and the result is a more light, graceful, but incredibly compact and lifted wine. Definitely a treat. We would pair this with a speck and pecorino cheese pasta with a wonderful fresh salad.

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justin mark
justin mark
06 dic 2022

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