In the last decade or so, I have three solid reasons that I know that Thanksgiving has arrived. The first reason is that the day before my Bride has bags waiting next to the front door. Some of the bags have gifts that are wrapped enclosed in shipping cartons to be sent out by common carriers to assorted recipients. While one of the bags contains all of the Christmas and Chanukah cards that have written salutations and the newsletter that she gets excited to write and create. Also the spare bedroom, not ours, or the one that has become our office, not the guest bedroom, but the room that has become the catch-all of the house is filled with all of the wrapped presents, bundled by family for easy distribution, plus I am certain that there is at least one package that will surprise me, upon opening. This is a great plan of hers, because I have been a retailer, all of my life, and when I had free time, she wanted us to do fun things, rather than shopping, not to mention that all of the bills are paid by Christmas, and we can start saving for an early spring vacation.
The second reason I know that it is Thanksgiving is because we have been up all morning, in the kitchen, with me trying to keep out of her way, but easily found if she needs some assistance. I schlep up the roaster that the twenty-something pound turkey will go into, after it has been stuffed, with her family acclaimed stuffing and sewn-up and placed in its roasting bag, not the easiest of endeavors. Then there is the big roasting pan for doing the butcher sliced and cradled standing rib roast wrapped in butcher twine and coated with a heavy duty rub. After an hour or so, the house smells wonderful, and she is preparing plenty of side dishes, while she determines if there is enough space in the two refrigerators for some of the sides that people are bringing as well, not to mention the cornucopia of desserts that will be arriving. The preparation and planning for serving thirty-five people is beyond my control, but she makes it almost seem easy. My main job that day is to make sure that the ice is cold and when the two main dishes are done, that they are carved. With two large and distinct carving knives and ample room to sharpen them, I am ready; not to mention that I am usually full, because I have been noshing on the cheese and crackers and appetizers that set out for the guests, and I have to taste some of the choice slices of turkey and beef as I plate it.
I am only going to discuss two of the many wines that were being poured for the dinner. My Sister-in-Law and her husband brought two outstanding bottles for the evening. The first wine that I thought went very well with the turkey, which for some is difficult to pair with was Southern Belle Precious Syrah 2011. The name is rather unique, but it is what happens when Spanish Syrah from the Jumilla region of Spain meets barrels from Frankfort, Kentucky. These are not just any old barrels used in the production of Kentucky Bourbon, but for twenty years they had been aging Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, one of the most elusive and lauded Bourbons in America, and this Syrah wine aged in them for eighteen months, and the nose brought a whiff of the prior product. I thought the Syrah was great with the turkey and it was a pleasant change. The other wine of the evening was Chateau Giscours Margaux 2001 and it the tannins and the fruit had mellowed and really complimented the Standing Rib Roast. Chateau Giscours is a Troisiemes Grand Cru of Third Growth from the 1855 Classification of the Medoc, and it still holds an esteemed status. Margaux is the largest appellation of the Medoc and holds several “growth” wines starting with Chateau Margaux and it is one of my favorite Communes in Bordeaux. Margaux only allows Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes and then they can also be blended with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere. The wines were as enjoyable as the food that was served, another fine dinner by my Bride and her assistants. The third reason that I knew it was Thanksgiving, is unfortunately everyone was gone by nine o’clock that evening, because all of the women were getting ready to partake in that horrible new tradition that Black Friday has become. Historically Black Friday was the day that the major retailers actually started to be in the black (profit-wise) for the year, and as an old retailer, it was fun, but now the majors and the malls have turned this wonderful family holiday into something non-family oriented, by making people leave the get-togethers either to work, or to shop at some un-Godly hour; you may surmise that I am not a fan of what Black Friday has morphed into, and I am so glad that my Bride has all of her shopping done.