January has been a killer month so far, with all of the extreme cold weather that has pounded us. We just got finished with the holidays and it should have been a month to just (ice) skate through. The extreme cold weather caused our garage door to die, one of the arms bent and the condenser on the motor burned out. I finally found a company that could handle the old-fashioned style garage door that we have, and they could put a temporary fix, but we have to have a new system installed. An unexpected bill, and then I was told that I had to clear twelve feet back for the new installation, have you any idea what a thrill it is trying to set up the logistics of moving the accumulation of stuff one stores in a garage. Then we had what I thought was a minor washer leak in one of the showers, but alas no, the leaking water found a way to disturb the ceiling in the basement two floors down. More trouble, and more stuff to move, while in the midst of packing up all of the Christmas decorations. I was expecting major work, like maybe having to cut a hole in the closet behind the shower, but the plumbing company that I contacted came out, and repaired everything without making any major renovations and for about a third of what they thought it would originally be. Then my poor Bride had a minor scare and ended up in the hospital overnight, but all was good, and she was released. We are also waiting for a case of wine, that was ordered almost two weeks ago, and that has been still unresolved to our satisfaction.
With the mixed bag of news that we have had, and trying to control all of the mess and chaos, it has been a rather trying time at the home front. With all of this extra work, finding places to move everything, it has cut into our date nights. Last night my Bride decided to make a fine dinner for us, so we had some salmon, vegetables and pierogis and onions, just to have something different. For two people we have two refrigerators and a chest freezer, and they are all packed, so it is not that we will starve, though getting to them is a bit of an undertaking at the moment.
We started to have some Chardonnay with dinner, one of her go to wines, when she doesn’t want anything fussy. We had opened a bottle of JaM Cellars Butter Chardonnay 2016, as this has become one of my Bride’s go-to wines these days, as it is an easy to drink Chardonnay for the price. The wine carries a California AVA designation as the fruit comes from Mendocino County, Santa Barbara County and Clarksburg. It is a commercial bulk wine that has some appeal, and since it is not done in oak barrels for aging, they use oak chips to impart the taste of the oak and the butter taste and texture that one gets from small batch Chardonnay wines. I was feeling happy with the news about my Bride and I felt that we should have something a bit festive as well so I opened up another bottle of wine. L. Mawby Vineyards is a serious winemaker, and one of the wineries that my Bride would never forgive me, if we didn’t go there on the trip to Suttons Bay, even though they now have the Ann Arbor Vin Bar. This winery only makes sparkling wine, and notice that I did not say Champagne or even American Champagne, since there is almost a universal trade agreement that only allows Champagne from the Champagne district in France to be called it, though there are a few wineries that are “grandfathered” in that can still label their wine as “American Champagne.” Even though the winemaker is very serious, the winery is a fun place, and when we went to one of the tasting areas, our server/host for moment grabbed a hammer and hit a gong to announce that a tasting was going. They produce quite a bit of bubbly and the winery has two labels to differentiate the winemaking process that they use. The M. Lawrence line is division is made using the bulk process, also referred to a “cuvee close” or the “Charmat Process.” I will mention this group of wines from Brut to Demi-Sec, or the level of sweetness. The US label is a Brut wine made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. Sandpiper is a Semi-Dry wine that is a proprietary blend and that is all I was told. These wines are made in small batches and fermented in the “cuvee close method” as indicated on the label. I prefer a little more sweetness myself in this type of wine, as I am always afraid that extra dry can have little nuance. I am happy to say that I could taste some fruit, and a little oak which made it more appealing. So, here is to my Bride and I guess, she is stuck with me for the years to come.