This is one day of the year that we do not do at home and enjoy the festivities and revelry at the home of others. We always start the day off at my Mother-in-Laws home for a Christmas breakfast. The breakfast consists of assorted Danishes and doughnuts, pancakes, omelets, bacon and fresh Kielbasa. We also enjoyed Mimosas, which are a simple blending of orange juice and domestic sparkling wine and it was just a great drink for all of the guests and it goes down so easily. I would also mention that as far as I am concerned, one does not need to use anything but a good standard non-vintage wine from your favorite house.
After spending several hours there, we finally had to pack up and go off to one of my cousin’s home for Christmas dinner. My Cousin has picked up the tradition of having Christmas dinner, after her Mother (my Aunt) had decided that she had done it enough times, and my Cousin has done a wonderful job taking over the reins. Not only was she celebrating Christmas, but she was also celebrating the engagement of her Son, so his Fiancée as well as her family were also in attendance for the dinner. We arrived at the designated time and there were already many guests there before us and everyone was centered at the long table adjacent to the kitchen, enjoying tons of Armenian delicacies, and as quickly as the plates were emptied more were being served. Everyone was trying to be judicious about the appetizers, because we all agreed that we could have made a fine meal just from them. The Armenian “pizzas,” string cheese, cheese Boreg (pastry puffs filled with white cheese) and Bastarma, an Armenian dried and cured beef that I tend to avoid, only because it is highly seasoned and aromatic, that tends to stay in one’s pores for several days afterward and it just doesn’t work well, when dealing with the public. I might add that it all disappeared, so I am in the minority on it. My Cousin also every year asks if my Bride would make her signature Caesar Salad. As for her dinner options, there were plenty from perfectly cooked vegetables and some of the greatest peppers in oil, far superior to any of the restaurants that I ever go to and I look forward to them every year. The beef tenderloins that she prepared were outstanding and we even had to ask for the butcher shop that she got them from, they were that great. After the few things that were left from dinner were packed up, the desserts came out in full force and an extra special cake for the engagement party as well.
At my Cousin’s house the bar is always well stocked, as we come from a long tradition of well stocked homes. There is always a fine selection of beers, as we come from a family that tried to live up to the billboard advertisement that we can all recite “ Drink Canada Dry,” though we read it with a comma or a long pause after Canada. There were also some fine Scotch whiskeys as that it another tradition that was enjoyed by my late Uncle. As to the wines on the bar, I added a couple of bottles from our cellar that I was interested in trying and from as quickly as they disappeared from evaporation, I guess others were just as interested in trying as well. There were several different Cabernet Sauvignon wines opened for the day, as they would be great choices with the food being offered including a Stag’s Leap. The wines that I took were both from my Wine Club and I felt that they had been cellared long enough to open and share. The first wine was Heller Estates Petite Verdot 2009 from Carmel Valley AVA, and I was really looking forward to trying this wine, as I normally do not see Petite Verdot by itself, as it us usually blended with other grapes and I really enjoyed it. I am sure that it is long gone as there were only two-hundred-fifty cases produced and they had suggested eight to ten years of cellaring, and the wine was great, even from those that were having it, perhaps just out of curiosity. The other wine that was well received was from a new winery to me, which there are so many, since I do not reside in California. The bottle of Travieso Amaranta Syrah 2008 really took off, but Syrah wines get more press and are more available from many producers. This wine had all its fruit from KW Ranch in Santa Lucia Highlands AVA and is one of my favorite appellations in Monterey especially for their Pinot Noir wines. This wine is also I am sure long gone as there was only three hundred cases made and the suggested cellaring time was for six to ten years. I have to say that the people at A Taste of Monterey did a great job in the selection as well as for calling for the optimal time for drinking these wines. All that I could add is that another fine Christmas was laid to rest and I and everyone else was well sated when we finally left.