Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is a time to step back and appreciate all that we have in our lives.  I'm thankful for more than normal this year.  I have a supportive family, friends that I love, and a fulfilling job.  But for all of these "big" things I'm thankful for, I'm just as thankful for the "small" things, and last night's Thanksgiving feast provided more than a few of these "small" things.

I alternate Thanksgivings between my Mother's and Father's houses.  It's yet another of the benefits of having divorced parents.  It's hard to get tired of the same old Thanksgiving when everything is alternated.  This year my dad, stepmom, sister, brother, and I decamped to Waitsfield, VT.

It might just be ingrained in me as someone who grew up in the city, but there's nothing I love more than escaping to the country.  Until this year, I didn't even get cell service within 5 miles of our house.  While I can now text, tweet, and instagram to my heart's delight, I miss the days of turning my phone off as I pulled into the driveway and not turning it on again until I left.

This year's Thanksgiving consisted of a locally sourced Turkey (a mere 20 lbs.), Italian sausage and bread stuffing, carrots with cumin and crushed red pepper, curried cauliflower, and cranberry and onion relish.  Everything turned out delicious, and there was something nice about a Thanksgiving with no mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes to sit heavily in my stomach for the rest of the day.  My family has always eaten Thanksgiving at "normal" dinner time, rather than at midday like many people do (a custom that I've never quite been able to wrap my head around).  This gives us the whole day to do things like walk the dogs, drink Chapin recipe bloody marys (which, after you have tasted them, completely change your bloody mary frame of reference), watch football, and drink beer (yes drinking was in there twice).

Wine this year, after a little nudging from me, was a magnum of 1982 Chateau La Conseillante Pomerol.  As with most right-bank Bordeaux, this one was predominantly Merlot (80%) with the remainder Cabernet Franc (20%).  While Merlot might be going though a bit of a down period domestically, following this incident, no one seems to have made the connection that some of the most expensive and highly regarded wines in the world (Petrus, Angelus) are merlot based.

Anyway, for a wine that is 29 years old, this was absolutely spectacular.  I decanted this wine through a sieve to catch some particles of cork (as the cork had disintegrated and was pushed into the bottle during opening), about an hour prior to dinner.  By the time we sat down to eat, this wine was absolutely rocking. It was medium ruby in the glass with slight bricking toward the edges, but looked several years younger than it was.  The nose was pure Bordeaux, showing blueberries, plums, and graphite along with a subtle herbal character.  On the palate this lived up to the nose.  Subtle notes of coffee, blueberry, and plum worked in harmony together.  This is why we age wines, and yet so many wines (especially Bordeaux) aren't being made in a style today that will last for 30 years.  Given the choice between an up-front, in your face wine that's soft and oaky enough to be drunk (and receive Parker points) on release, or a wine that is difficult to taste at first but settles down into a wine this beautiful with age, I'd choose the latter every time.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from Wines Over Somerville.  Pop a special bottle next time you're with friends or family and give thanks for everything you have!

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