My Bride becomes this little dynamo of energy once she gets hyped up for a party, and then if you add into the equation, that the party is for old friends, she just doesn’t stop. Even with the wine that should make her mellow has little effect, once her adrenaline begins to flow. I mean she had unpacked one of the sets of China the day before and had the table set. We have one set of Bone China for eighteen that I just adore, but she doesn’t like to use them, because they are not dish-washer friendly, and even though her contemporaries all chip in after dinner to clear the table and get all the dishes washed, she avoids that set just about all of the time. Her associates all get up and help which is a great asset, but I notice that some of the next generation feel that they are exempt from such duties. We all left the living room to go into the dining room, and yes, we are old fashioned and use these two rooms for entertaining, alas, some houses we go to, these two rooms may as well have velvet rope barriers and a docent to identify what can be found in those rooms.
We started off with a Spinach Salad, it seems that it may be awhile before we have our famous Caesar Salad, because of all the problems these days with Romaine Lettuce. There were a couple of different dressings and I went with the Creamy Garlic, I know it is very old school, but I did lament that I really enjoy warm Bacon Dressing on a Spinach Salad, and I am a curmudgeon. Then we had a side of Baked Cauliflower with Moroccan Spices and Armenian Pilaf that she prepared two different ways, traditional and Gluten-free. The entrée for the evening was her Bourbon Salmon, and there was enough for seconds for everyone and left-overs. The table was cleared and then she brought out dessert, one of the dishes that she learned on one of our trips to New Orleans, she made Bananas Foster. I think you can tell that the group were all contemporaries, as the coffee of choice is now decaffeinated, and that happens to the best of us.
We had white wine during the appetizer course of the evening, and we went and switched gears and served red wine for dinner, but that is because we happen to enjoy Pinot Noir with Salmon, and there were no complaints. We started off with a bottle that we had found on one of our trips in the wine country of Michigan, and years ago, I would only drink the whites, but there are so many enjoyable red wines here that I have had to change my position. We started off with Verterra Winery Pinot Noir Leelanau Peninsula 2016. I was listening to a radio program about the virtues of Michigan and they were interviewing the owner of Verterra Winery. He was explaining the process in which he had to get the name approved and his first several choices were already being licensed. He decided to create his own name and went to Latin, which is the base language for so many terms used in winemaking. He took the word Veritas which means Truth, and the word Terra which means land, combined them to make Verterra which means True to the Land, and Verterra was free and clear and he had his name. As fussy of grape as Pinot Noir is, it just seems to like that the 45’th Parallel in both the Old World and the New. The Verterra Pinot Noir 2016 had fourteen months of aging in French Oak, but I had originally found it to be light, but even an additional half a year gave it more maturity and potentially a year or two in the cellar may aid this wine to be more rounded. The nose had cherries and pomegranates that also showed up in the taste and very mellow with a nice finish and it was a great opening round for dinner. The second round of red wine was a Comanche Cellars Pinot Noir 2015. Comanche Cellars is a small winery that produces under a thousand cases of wine, and it is named after the horse that Michael Simon had when he was ten years old, and Comanche’s horse shoes are on the label. The bottle of Comanche Cellars Chevera Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 comes from the Arroyo Seco AVA, and the vineyard is owned by Frank Stanek who named the vineyard after his two granddaughters Charlotte and Eva and the vineyard is high above the Arroyo Seco valley. The wine had a bolder nose and the wine could be chewed and the tannins were still quite pronounced, so I may have opened this wine a bit early. There were one-hundred-thirty-four cases produced of this wine, so I am pretty sure that it is sold out now, but there are always new vintages to watch for. I am also pretty sure that the group has decided on another get-together in summer time, and everyone left, with room to spare before the blizzard that was to arrive after midnight.