There is nothing like a holiday and a religious one to boot, to create a whole bunch of scofflaws. It was the first big gathering in over a year and we all practiced common sense, a notion that is lost on our harridan and her brown-shirt minions. First of all, we all had our vaccines without having the audacity of telling the world on Social Media, some of the youngsters that just got out college did, and we just continued about our business. From my Mother-in-Law in her nineties down to the infants that haven’t had a chance to be indoctrinated in Nursery School, we were all suffering from Mandated Lockdown Syndrome. This is a psychological disease caused by listening to self-appointed authorities who cite un-cited scientific facts to keep everyone in isolation. Though we did it, and we didn’t hide our vehicles and to be truthful when I looked down our street in the subdivision, I decided that we were not the only scofflaws and people wanted to get back with their families. The theme of “resurrection” in Easter was the perfect holiday to start claiming our independence.
My Bride was all agog for weeks in the preparations for this dinner. We (mostly her) gave the house an extra thorough cleaning, not that the house was dirty, after all, it was just basically the two of us here for over a year. She was buying cheeses to put out, an item that has been kind of taboo, since we are both trying to lose weight, she has been much more successful than I. She had fruit and vegetables for munchies as well. I schlepped up one of the roasters from the basement, so that she could make a twenty-six-pound turkey including her legendary stuffing. She also made a leg of lamb that was stuffed with whole cloves of garlic, so that they would roast along with the lamb surrounded with a medley of root vegetables, which I could have made a meal of, on my own. She also made a new side dish of diced fennel and onions sauteed in bacon renderings and then the bacon bits were added back in at the end. Besides the huge tub of stuffing that didn’t make it into the bird, there was also Armenian Pilaf and Mashed Potatoes. There were plenty of desserts brought in, but my Bride who gave up sweets for Lent, she made her own Cream Puffs to serve with Ice Cream and Hot Caramel Sauce; and who could deny her such a small reward.
As for the wines, she wanted no surprises and wanted her favorite go-to wines for the past year or two. The white wine was not a bone-dry wine and everyone that had it, was enjoying the selection. Famille Sichel Bordeaux Blanc 2017 was the wine that was poured. Famille Sichel is a family owned negocient firm from 1883 in Bordeaux, as they were in the procurement process for their locations in Mainz, London and New York. In 1938 they even bought Chateau Palmer, which at the time had fallen on bad times and have since brought it back to all of its glory. The family does not believe in resting on their laurels as in 2001 they even built a completely new bottling and storage facility in the Bordeaux region. This particular bottle of wine is a blend of the two leading white grapes of Bordeaux, namely Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. I don’t think that I would be amiss to opine that this wine was aged in Stainless Steel as there was plenty of fruit and very refreshing. It starts off with a nose of citrus fruits and finishes with some terroir with a decent finish. This was the most popular wine of the day, counting the empties afterwards.
The red wine was also chosen for its fruit and suppleness. Gran Passione Rosso Veneto IGT 2019 is a limited production wine made by Cantine Bertoldi. Cantine Bertoldi is known for their Valpolicella and Amarone wines. They were founded in 1932 and have gone through several generations of the Bertoldi family and they are now in possession of fifty acres of hand cared varietals of Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, Garganega, Trebbiano and Cortese, while also adding into the mix they have Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The grapes selected for their passito wines are sun dried and fermented in Stainless Steel. The Gran Passione is made from some of these passito grapes and is made from a “rare red blend” which is a way to describe a mixture that either the winery wants to keep secret, or they just are not sure of their proprietary blend and then there are some years when this wine is not made. While the wine is not as rich and full bodied as an Amarone de Valpolicella, it is a delightful wine.
With my eye on the Leg of Lamb, I also went for another sure to please the crowd red wine. The Cupertinum Cantina Social Cooperativa Copertino DOC Riserva 2011 was the wine that I thought of for this dish. The Cupertinum Cantina Social Cooperativa was founded in 1935, along the lines of many of wine cooperatives that were forming in Italy. The Cupertinum cooperative have even planted a micro vineyard in the ramparts of the old Copertino castle. Copertino DOC is in the Puglia region of Italy, the area that most people like to refer to it as the boot, for easy visualization. The main grape for Copertino DOC, whether for the Rosso or Rosato is the Negroamaro variety. Negroamaro must account for seventy percent of the wine, and the balance may have Malvasia Nera, Montepulciano and/or Sangiovese (but only up to fifteen percent Sangiovese). The DOC was classified in 1976 and today there is one-hundred-fifty-eight hectares and about thirty-one-thousand cases of wine are produced. This wine is a blend of ninety-five percent Negroamaro and five percent Malvasia Nera. Maceration on the skins takes about seven days, and then because this was their Riserva, the wine was aged for twenty-four months in Stainless Steel. This wine had the benefit of being an eleven-year-old, so there were already layers of taste to appreciate. The wine was a nice Ruby red in color with nose of black fruit, the tannin had mellowed and matured and offered still ripe fruit and hints of almonds, black currants and leather, with a nice finish. As everyone finally was leaving after a full meal, my Bride was especially happy, because she thought it was the happiest, she had seen her Mother since the lockdown began, because everyone was together, and that is what holidays are for.