I am not going back to school, but that is the first wine that I had since I made it to the ripe old age of 66. Some people I know try to fudge their age or forget a year, just like this year could be forgotten. I had a customer that was a funeral home director and his favorite quote was “it is better to be seen, then viewed.” Actually, most days I don’t feel any older, but I sometimes have trouble recognizing the guy in the mirror when I shave in the morning. Life goes on, and even in this crazy year, my Bride and I are thankful that we are living as well as we can, and we really have no complaints, which is good. She may get rid of me, when we are both retired, but I guess she is getting used to me, as she seems partially retired, because she, like everyone else is working remotely from home. Her profession is considered essential from day one, and for years she had the capability of working from home, but I think she liked the change of scenery, but she did detest rush-hour traffic. Alas, it is good that I retired, because my profession is unknown to the current generations, though there will always be a market for a quality clothier, just not for the pajama wearing workforce on Zoom.
We had just gotten back from a week in Louisville, with stories to be written about the wines, but I thought I would go out of sequence a bit, just because I can. We came home and there was actually two weeks of laundry to be processed, plus there was a trip to the grocer that was in order. My Bride was working non-stop, even though she was on “holidays,” she was still checking her voice mails and her emails, and to boot, she had to attend a webinar for two days to maintain her continuing education credits and in the old days, she would go in person and if it was close enough she would just have breakfast and lunch and drive home and have dinner with me. Now there are no classes, no board meetings, and no conferences to attend, everything is done on Zoom. Our plans were to have a fast meal for my Birthday, since it was on a Monday and quite a few restaurants close on Mondays. She wanted to get a carry-out dinner from a Middle Eastern restaurant near our home, so that it would still be warm when it arrived. I also like this location, because I think the owner/chef must have grown up or worked in the Armenian section of Beirut, as some of the dishes are more Anatolian, rather than Arabic. The servings are so large that we just have to get one order to sate the two of us. We start with the House Salad which tastes just like the salads we used to get at home growing up. Then my Bride likes Hummus, which is Arabic and I can take it or leave it. The entrée is always for us, an order of Lamb Sautee with Mushrooms and a side of Pilaf, that is made very similar to the way my Bride learned to make Armenian Pilaf, only they don’t add garlic to the recipe.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to choose for the wine, when I went into the cellar, but since it is now neat and easily arranged, I looked for something that I thought would be fun. We had a bottle of L’Ecole No. 41 Merlot Columbia Vallely 2000. I have always enjoyed Merlot based wines, and when I was first learning about wines, in Bordeaux the wines on the other side of the river became my favorites, because they were softer and I always thought lusher, and as a student, they were also more affordable. L’Ecole No. 41 is a family-owned winery in Lowden, Washington, just west of Walla Walla. The estate was established in 1983 and in an old schoolhouse, hence the name. The winery has eighty-five acres and the balance of the fruit that they use, either comes from contracts in Walla Walla Valley or from the much larger Columbia Valley. The wine was seventy-six percent Merlot with fourteen percent Cabernet Franc and ten percent Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged for eighteen months in a mix of French and American Oak, and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. This was a magnificent bottle of Merlot, it had a great nose, especially after the first hour, it promised dark cherries and it delivered, because the fruit was full bodied with some terroir and a nice long finish; the next day it was still a solid wine. It really impressed us, and the sad part is, that I don’t even remember getting this bottle of wine. And for the me, for the rest of the year, I will be singing along with Nat King Cole that” I will get my kicks on Route 66.”