Last night, we drank a special bottle of wine.
It was a 2007 merlot from Chateau Felice in Sonoma, which in itself isn't all that unusual (except that we don't drink many California wines). It was a good bottle, too - fruity and a little oaky and definitely buttery, with just a little sweetness.
What made it really special, though, is the story behind it. The wine, Henry's Passion, is named after a kid from Maryland, Henry George Lubke IV. You can read the full story here, on the Chateau Felice website, but the gist of it is that Henry, the son of a wine distributor, always wanted to be a winemaker. In 2006, when he was 20, he dropped out of college and moved to Sonoma to help with the harvest at Chateau Felice.
He stayed on after harvest, working in the tasting room and helping with events. Sadly, during the 2007 harvest, Henry passed away in his sleep one night, due to a previously undetected heart condition.
To honor Henry, Chateau Felice bottled two barrels of 2006 wine Henry made with the winery's Cellarmaster, Tom. They called them Henry's Passion, and sold most of them here in Maryland, with proceeds going to a scholarship fund in Henry's name at Boy's Latin, where he went to high school (also Cooper's alma mater). The next year, Chateau Felice expanded the program, still selling most of the wine in Maryland.
I read about Henry's Passion earlier this month, but was reminded to buy some when I received an email from Wells last week. It's available there and at a few more Baltimore-area stores (listed on the Chateau Felice website), plus at Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits (my former wine store stomping grounds) in Annapolis.
I'd definitely recommend it, both for its story and on its merits as a wine. I can't think of a better way to honor someone whose love for wine was impressive and strong.