For any of you that even casually read these articles, you have noticed that once a month, we all get together to celebrate all of the birthdays within the month for the immediate family. There are some aberrations to this tradition, but for the most part it works very well and smoothly. Instead of trying to schedule perhaps five or six different parties in one month, there is one party and one big dinner. This concept was already a tradition when I met my Bride and the group was smaller, but as it has expanded, the tradition has continued to be successful. My Bride has been a very strong advocate of this, and I think that perhaps she is a frustrated caterer, but she basically only acts as a caterer to the family and a fine job she does, even if I am biased.
She always starts with appetizers, usually something simply like cheese and crackers, and vegetables and dips, though she has started to branch out and she did a Baked Brie in Bread with Oranges that I thought was delightful. She does like to offer choices and there were three entrée platters. There was Chicken Cacciatore with Spaghetti Squash, Turkey with her acclaimed stuffing and gray, and Pork Tenderloin marinated with Balsamic and Rosemary. There were also platters of mashed potatoes and glazed carrots and I am sure, some plates that I forgot. Afterwards, she had a sheet cake decorated with all of the honorees, an apple pie, cup cakes and of course ice cream. There is a group “blow-out” for the candles on the cake as well, and of course gifts are opened.
We also never worry about running out of wine, at our house, if we did, it would be a major party and perhaps no one would be left to report on the party. As always, I try to get the non-wine drinkers to try something new and of the wines that we poured I will mention two of the wines. The first wine was a spectacular wine from Michigan with some Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling 2017. In their Twentieth year of production Black Star Farms on Old Mission Peninsula in Michigan, they were honored to receive the 19’th Annual Canberra International Riesling Challenge (CIRC) -Best Wine of the 2018 Challenge and only the second time an American wine came out on top. There were 567 Rieslings from six countries (Australian, New Zealand, USA, Germany, France and the Czech Republic). The Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling 2017 scored 98 points, in addition to taking home Best Dry Riesling and Best American Riesling. I don’t think we bought enough of this really pretty wine. The second wine is from an area that I think is very easy, even for non-wine drinkers to enjoy as it is not real heavy or over-powering. The other wine was Pies Negros Rioja 2011 with a logo of a pair of bare feet crushing the grapes, and the name translates to Black Feet. This wine is from Artuke Bodegas y Vinedos from the Alavesa region of Rioja. There are two brothers that maintain the forty-acre estate and the vines are from thirty to one-hundred years old. The wine is ninety percent Tempranillo and ten percent Graciano. They produced thirty-three-hundred cases of wine and it was a big Rioja, in fact bigger than I expected with some of the newer wine tasters. All in all, a great way to enjoy a Sunday with the family.