The walls and roof did not collapse or cave in, because I stepped into a church, which is a good thing. We attended an Easter Vigil Mass, which is also called a Paschal Vigil to watch our nephew finish his vows and take his first communion. This is the first time that I attended such a service and I survived. My Bride and I are of different faiths and all is good. Even though we were in special reserved seating in the church, with all of the social distancing that has been mandated as a way to intimidate the faithful from attending their church, I lucked out and had a huge circle of free air all around, and I didn’t wear my mask, except when there was perchance someone walking by. I am not that cavalier and dismissive, I have actually had my two vaccines, so I am golden as far as I am concerned. The service was fine, perhaps long winded, but that happens when someone finally gets a crowd to speak in front of. I am not a fan of modern church architecture, as I am old-fashioned and I adore the solemn appearance of a cathedral, not some big hall, that looks like it was designed to be adapted to some other business at a later date. I am also of the era when going to church on Easter required wearing your best clothes, and I guess that almost everyone younger than I am did not get the memo. I am sorry, but I just cannot enter a church without a coat and tie. I also miss the beautiful floral and poetic wording of the Bible when the Modernists got their comic-book mentality education and ruined a work of art. I can just imagine what the Modernists could accomplish with the sonnets of Shakespeare.
We finally finished the mass, had a group photo taken, and my Bride informed me afterwards that I was blocked out by someone else, but I know that I was there. We then went to where our nephew wanted to have dinner following the service, and because of more social distancing rules, we almost could not even all fit in the same restaurant, but my Bride pulled off a miracle and got everyone accepted, though it looked like four of us were going to have to dine away from the party in a balcony, and we were fine with that, as long as everyone was kind of together. When we got to the restaurant, the manager and staff made a few quick changes and we were all kind of socially distanced and in the same back room of the restaurant, so that was wonderful. My Bride started with a salad and had the French Onion Soup. She then went on and had Whitefish; and by now you are aware that is one of the main dishes in the State of Michigan. I went with a half slab of Baby Back Ribs and in hind-sight, I should have ordered the full slab, they were that well done.
The four of us at our table had to go through two bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2018 as the first bottle just evaporated. Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest and one of the most prestigious wineries in the State of Washington. They are known for their Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay, but are famed for their Riesling. It was founded as the American Wine Growers in 1954 by the merger of two that companies that followed the repeal of Prohibition; the National Wine Company and the Pomerelle Wine Company. The National Wine Company had planted Vitis vinifera grapes in the Columbia Valley, and under the consultation of Andre Tchelistcheff they planted even higher quality grapes in 1967. These were under the name of Ste. Michelle Vintners and the first wines released were Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Semillon and Grenache. In 1974 in a blind tasting their Riesling came in first place over Germany and California. In 1976, they changed the name to Chateau Ste. Michelle. The wine is aged Sur Lie for six months in a mix of French and American Oak, with ten percent new, and then blended with Chardonnay that was aged in tanks, so that there is a blend of crisp and oaky wine combined.
After all of that white wine, I needed to have a red wine and I chose from the list Beringer Vineyards Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon California 2018. Beringer has the honor of being the longest continuously operating winery in California. They have a range of offerings from affordable generic table wines to single-vineyard cuvées and a private reserve label. Brothers Jacob and Frederick Beringer had their first harvest in 1976 in what is now St. Helena AVA. Frederick built his Rhine House, a Victorian mansion in 1883 which is now the main visitor building at the winery. This home was added to the US National Register for Historic Places. They even survived Prohibition, the first dismal nanny-state disaster, by getting a Federal License and producing sacramental altar wine. After Prohibition, they were the first winery to offer public tours which was the start of making Napa Valley a tourist destination. In the 70’s Beringer was bought by Nestlé, and then it changed hands a couple of more times and is now owned by Treasury Wine Estates, which also owns among other labels Penfolds and Stags’ Leap. In 2015, Mark Beringer became the Chief Winemaker and he is the great-great-grandson of Jacob Beringer. While Beringer owns vineyards in Napa and Sonoma as well as their leased vineyards are all certified sustainable. The Founders’ Estate collection is an introductory line where the fruit is harvested from across California. This was a perfectly acceptable table wine and that is what I was looking for. A perfect evening with family.