If any of you are Scrabble players or Crossword Puzzles, the word “meze” is probably a word that you have encountered. The words origin is lost in the annals of the world, but to the Armenians it means to eat multiple small plates of food and usually accompanied by wine or beer. The Armenian nation was the first Christian nation and that truly differentiates them from the surrounding countries where they only drink secretively. The Armenians have enjoyed their lives even under the constant threat of death and beheadings. So, why do I bring this up? One of the days Ms. Yoga was staying with us, my Bride had to attend a conference for one of the charitable groups that she belongs to in her church, and I was going to go to my church for their annual bazaar to get some Armenian dishes that we normally don’t have.
I ended up sitting with Ms. Yoga in the breakfast nook and we began noshing on chips and salsa and stuff like that. We also started reminiscing about “penny candies” and all the different brands, and some are still on the market, and supposedly one is going to return to the market. I mean it is great to be nostalgic especially with people that have common memories. We even started talking about the days of real black licorice, and then, because we were from Canada, I remembered boxes of assorted licorice candies called “Allsorts” from England, but I haven’t seen them in years, but Ms. Yoga says she has seen them down her way, which got me excited. Well, then my Bride called and found that we were having fun and that I never got to the bazaar, so she went and bought the Armenian dishes that I was supposed to get like Lahmajoon, a delicate thin dough individual size “pizza” that is topped with ground lamb, tomato paste, garlic, onions and parsley, Katah, a breakfast roll that I remember my Grandmother making that was totally labor intensive and was basically butter and flour (though I am sure that there is more to the ingredients, I am just too lazy to look up the recipe), Paklava (the Armenian spelling of Baklava), and Dolma or stuffed grape leaves. After my Bride brought all of those goodies home, we all got in the car and went to the Cheese Lady that I talked about before and we loaded up on some more cheeses, and I found some Peppadew Dip, and we mentioned that we used to buy stuffed Peppadew peppers in Las Vegas, but then that store closed that we used to go to. The lady that was helping us, told us that we could get the peppers prepped for stuffing at a specialty market in the same complex that we were in, we were in Seventh Heaven, because my Bride stuffed them as soon as we got home. By the way, we were all stuffed just from all of this food for the meze, and just a lot of laughing and having a good time.
It would not be a night of meze, if we didn’t have wine and this would be a terrible article. We had a few wines that evening and one of them we have had before in a restaurant and then got some more from our wine club was Domaine Laroque Cabernet Franc, IGP Cite de Carcassonne 2017. The IGP classification replaced the old Vin de Pays to make France align to the other members of the Common Market. The IGP Cite de Carcassonne is a large area in the Languedoc region and encompasses eighteen communes and allows all three colors of wines. The average age of the vines for this wine is twenty-five years, and this area has been producing wines from the Sixth Century. The soil in this area is clay and limestone and hillside vineyards. The wine is a very pretty red very easy to drink, and it really opened up after the second glass was poured. The other wine that I will discuss from that evening was from my other wine club and it was Scheid Vineyards Reserve Claret 2012. I enjoy the fact that they refer to their wine as a Claret and thus avoid the term “Meritage” though I often wonder which word works better in the marketing world. This Reserve Claret is fifty percent Cabernet Sauvignon, twenty-three percent Petit Verdot, twenty-two percent Malbec and five percent Cabernet Franc. Each varietal is handpicked and destemmed as they mature to ripening and then each varietal spends two weeks in an open top fermenter. Each varietal is then aged for thirty-four months in a mix of sixty-three percent American Oak and the balance in French Oak. The final selection of the wines is then blended and bottled unfiltered and laid to rest for an additional twenty-six months. There were three-hundred-fifteen cases produced of this wine with a suggested aging potential of an additional ten to fifteen years. This was an excellent bottle of wine with a nice long finish of dark fruits and a nice balanced offering of tannins that was just awesome with all the small plates. Just a very fun and lazy day, except for my Bride who was rather busy and hectic.