Once a month I write about the curious way we celebrate birthdays. Since there are so many in the family, it would become rather onerous on everyone to have several different parties to attend each month, so we combine them all into one evening. We tend to have them at our house as my Bride enjoys cooking, especially for crowds and family.
Our dinner parties tend to be arranged as buffets rather than sit down dinners, just because of the crowds and sometimes even table space is at a premium depending on the revelers. The parties tend to be more laid back and not fussy affairs, because we have so many of them. The appetizers tend to be cheeses and crackers and other munchies that are just easy to put out on the tables. There will be some dishes brought over by the family, usually side dishes and that helps out immensely. My Bride was going to try something different that she had learned of, from some of her friends, a dish called “unstuffed cabbage rolls.” It is more like a casserole that has all the ingredients that one uses to make stuffed cabbage with out the actual rolling. My Sister-in-Law from Louisville and her family were up, because of the special birthday party for my Mother-in-Law and she brought with her a couple of magnificent tenderloins that we marinated and cooked that afternoon. Then after all was cleared, it was time for the birthday cakes and pies and all the other sweet things that follow dinner.
Then there are the beverages; an open bar, beer and of course some wine. The afternoon started off with some Chardonnay, one of our many daily choices. Most people think that because I write a Wine Blog that all we do is drink stellar wines. I wish that was the case, but there are always some interesting wines without breaking the budget or totally depleting the cellar. My Brother-in-Law brought Talbott Case Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2004. I just adore the wines from Talbott, especially since for years as a clothier I would recommend their neckwear and other clothing that the family makes, and the original factory is in the Carmel Valley, and the son who now runs the clothing company started off with his winery in the same area. Sleepy Hollow Vineyard is one of the great vineyards that Talbott uses and it carries the Monterey County AVA, they also make some great Chardonnay from this vineyard as well. The fruit comes from low yielding vines that are had picked and sorted for the wines and the resulting wine has more of a Burgundy flavor, instead of the heavier fruit-forward Pinot Noir wines that one can encounter from California. I also opened up a bottle of Sodaro Estate Winery Estate Blend 2007 from Napa Valley. This wine we bought through a silent auction at a charity event that we went to a couple of years back. Sodaro Estate Winery uses a ten acre vineyard to grow several grape varieties and this particular wine only produced 487 cases. Their “Estate Blend” is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot and it was a fine wine and really complimented the tenderloins we had for dinner. We have a brief hiatus until the March birthday get-together.