Christmas cards and newsletters mailed. Christmas gifts wrapped and shipped for the out of towners. Christmas gifts for the locals wrapped and bundled by family. All of these accomplishments are achieved by my Bride the day before Thanksgiving. For the last twenty-five years we have been having the families congregate here for dinner and drinks. We even made plans to have four families sit in four different rooms in case we were invaded by hobnail booted Gestapos, because of snitches. The concern was for my ninety-four-year-old Mother-in-Law, who has lived through plenty of unique situations, but not a lockdown. In her youth, a house was quarantined if a member of the family had an infectious and deadly disease, now the whole state is penalized and her family continues to see her and make sure that she is good. Alas, the propaganda machine was so fierce this time, that slowly every family canceled, so instead of four families dining on one turkey, multiple turkeys had to be bought and prepared, so more people could venture out to be with other potentially ill people at the grocery stores.
We actually had decided to have just a very fancy dinner for the two of us, but then another sister invited us to join her family of five, so that only seven would be in the house and even Gladys Kravitz could not scream for Abner. So, my Bride switched gears again and made Armenian Pilaf, Stuffing and her Caesar Salad to take to her sister’s house, and we made a side trip to drop off allotments of those three dishes to her Mother’s house and to leave some for one of her other sisters, who was bringing an apple pie, that we were going to take to the sister that we were going to dine with. Confused yet? Don’t worry, then we found out that the sister and her husband that basically live with my Mother-in-Law had not planned on a Thanksgiving dinner, so besides the sides, my Bride stopped and got an order of turkey and a slab of ribs to take to her Mother’s house. While this was going on, the sister that we were going to join decided that she wanted enough food to also send to her Mother, so they made a turkey, a standing rib roast and a glazed ham, plus more sides. The day began with some wonderful cheeses; cranberry and amaretto and a mango and apricot paired with some delightful artisan crackers and we could have made a whole meal from that. Finally, besides the mentioned apple pie, our host made a pumpkin/cheese cake pie and my Bride made for the first time a Lemon Meringue pie and all the desserts were great.
My Brother-in-Law besides manning the helm on the turkey and the standing rib roast opened up the first bottle of wine. A new wine to me, but the concept I tend to see more often and I have read both pros and cons towards it, but if it brings new wine drinkers into the fold, I think it is all for the best. We had Cask & Barrel “French Connection Chardonnay Central Coast 2017. The wine is produced under the umbrella company of American Vintners offering forty-five wines. They source wines from Napa Valley, Paso Robles, Lodi, Monterey and Russian River as well as from Italy, France and Spain. The production is based in Monterey County, California and the Sales and Marketing offices are in Rochester, Michigan. This particular wine was aged in French Cognac barrels for three months, and offered a nose of pineapple, coconut with some vanilla and had a nice finish of oak and spice. The first wine that I opened for the evening was one that we had discovered on our last trip to Petoskey. We had an estate produced and bottled Mackinaw Trail Winery, Inc. Unrestricted As-cen=sion 2017. The winery was founded in 2004 and they now have a second generation working as a winemaker. The winery owns thirty acres, but presently grows on fifteen acres. 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. The second bottle that I opened and it is becoming kind of a tradition for me was a bottle of Syrah, and I really like Syrah with turkey, maybe it helps that I like the dark meat and I also like it with beef. The Marilyn Remark Syrah, Arroyo Loma Vineyard Monterey County 2005. I have very little information about the winery as my early paperwork, has, I guess been filed permanently away. After a trip to the Rhone Valley, the Marilyn Remark Winery has begun producing Rhone style wines since 2003, but alas the owner retired and sold in 2016. This wine was delightful and still had a nice deep color and a nose, and finish that betrayed its age. It was a pleasure having a wine that was so well made. Here is hoping that Thanksgiving 2021 will be more joyous and families and friends will be able to gather again in peace.