To this day, I marvel at the concept of having a Norman Rockwell style Thanksgiving dinner. I never encountered it growing up, but then I guess Norman Rockwell didn’t grow up with Armenians who believe that there may not be enough food on the table, if the table doesn’t bow from the weight. Then again, I have never seen the perfect turkey in a house setting, I have seen plenty perfectly photographed, prepared by Master Chefs, but I am discussing the real word. Holidays are another example of what I call “organized chaos” and I use that term frequently for soccer, the rules of which no one has ever been able to explain to me. Some people bring food and sometimes it has been coordinated. I always worry that there will be not enough food, and now with all of the dietary requirements, heaven help us all. By the way, there is no way that all of us can sit at one table, so all of the food is set up on an island in the kitchen and everyone makes their own plate and seconds and thirds are encouraged.
We had the two turkeys taken care of, plus a lot of the sides, and then there were sides brought in by others, and so were the desserts, and not to mention a birthday cake, because we were all together and we may as well celebrate at the same time. The clan from Louisville, besides bringing wine, also brought this humongous beef tenderloin that could feed an army and they had marinated it, and had pre-prepared the dish using the sous-vide method. I didn’t see the actual cooking, but sous-vide refers to a method of slow cooking “under vacuum” in a long, slow process in a bag or jar in immersed in water that is continuously moving. The unit that they have is actually controlled by a smart phone and one has to address the size, weight, type of meat and the desired finish of the meat. They brought the tenderloin still in the cooking bag from the day before, and the meat was then seared on all sides and placed in the broiler to finish. When the meat was sliced, it was perfectly rare-medium rare the entire way through, with only the edges dark from the searing. The meat was perfectly moist and tender and I was totally impressed with this new kitchen toy. I also have to say, that the turkey and the turkey breast that my Bride prepared without packed with stuffing, came out tender and moist as well (and I was concerned about it). In fact, the whole turkey actually came apart as I was trying to remove it from the cooking bag, to save the “jus” to make gravy. The good news is that there was enough food left over, that everyone got “doggie bags” to take home, and the bags were based on the size of the family, which is totally fair.
Though we had all three colors of wines ready for the dinner, white wine was the one that most in demand for the event. Another one of the wines that I brought out for those that claimed that our wine selection was “too dry” and stuffy, we opened another wine that we had discovered on our last trip to Petoskey, Michigan. We had one of the estate produced and bottled white wines from Mackinaw Trail Winery, Inc. The Unrestricted As-cen-sion 2017 was an interesting little blend of thirty-four percent Sauvignon Blanc, twenty-five percent Chardonnay, twenty-two percent Riesling and nineteen percent Pinot Blanc. This had a sweeter nose and was a nice balanced wine and it was an easy drinking wine for the all to enjoy. Of course, we did have a red wine, and there were plenty in reserve waiting to be called up, but my Brother-in-Law had several bottles of a wine, and he wanted to see how it was aging and I wasn’t going to say no to his request for a Napa Red Wine when it was Opus One 2000. Opus One is the original “cult wine” of Napa Valley, a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild and still a wine that can actually be purchased at the winery, and I can attest that I totally enjoyed the tour and the tasting when we were there, even if there were only two wines to be tried. In the days before the Meritage, there were some winemakers in Napa making a Medoc style wine and this is one of the most famous. The Opus One 2000 was a blend of eighty-four percent Cabernet Sauvignon, six percent Merlot, five percent Cabernet Franc, three percent Malbec and two percent Petit Verdot. The wine spent forty-four days with skin contact, before it was aged for nineteen months in New French Oak in the perfectly designed underground cellars of Opus One. The bottle was opened about two hours before we ate and it looked like for awhile that only three were going to enjoy this wine, but my Bride shrugged off her current diet regime to have some of this wine, and may I say that it was sublime. While it seems that it is rage of the moment to disparage this wine, I could find nothing to complain about as it hit all the right notes to me, and to the other three that enjoyed a glass of it, and with the finish was so long lasting that I had mixed emotions of having another glass of wine afterwards.