Before she was my Bride, she had her Annual Ladies’ Christmas Party and it has been consistent, except for the year the harridan interfered. It used to be a pot luck dinner, but since the interference, my Bride now orders the food and tries to come up with a reasonable price per participant, but I think she still subsidizes the night. This year there were several last-minute no-shows because of illness, but there was still a good crowd and one by the power of the internet. She has scrapbooks of each year with attendees and a list of their goals professed at the party, and she mentions them the next year, at they announce their new goals. I think that I would plead the fifth.
Because all the food was catered in, we had to rearrange the kitchen for all the food and she got fancy with labels for each dish. There was appetizers of assorted cheese and crackers, Deviled Eggs, baked Brie with Onion Jam and Shrimp Cocktails. For the entrée orders there was Salad, Hummus, Chicken Tawook, Lamb Sauté, Garlic Sauce and fresh baked Pita. For dessert there was French and Italian finger cakes and a sheet of assorted Paklavah and of course coffee, both leaded and unleaded. Of course, I ate, before the guests arrived and then immediately went and hid in my office and only came down, if I had to collect coats from the guests and to return them at the end of the evening. I also had the dubious job of taking the group photo for the scrap book and I think that I ended up taking about nine shots, until one was approved.
MFor the beverages we went with two of our latest go-to wines to make sure that we had enough, the idea of running out, just sounds terrible. For the white wine drinkers, we had Cline Family Cellars “Seven Ranchlands” Viognier North Coast 2021. Cline Family Cellars is a producer based in Carneros and known for Zinfandel and Rhone varieties and established in 1982 in Oakley. Fred Cline is one of the original Rhone Rangers of California. The “Seven Ranchlands” is a way of honoring both the seven children of the Cline family, and the seven vineyard ranches. The fruit for this wine is from the Catapult Ranch Vineyard in the Petaluma Gap, and the balance is from the Diamond Pile Vineyard at the base of the Wild Cat Mountain. The grapes are handpicked at night, where they are destemmed and pressed, and allowed to settle for forty-eight hours before racking. The Catapult portion was inoculated with wild yeast, while the Diamond Pile portion was allowed to ferment naturally in barrels. After fermentation, the wine was aged in neutral French Oak for six months before blending and bottling. The wine offers notes of mango, guava pineapple. On the palate tones of dried apricots, pears and banana in a full-bodied wine with nice acidity. And for the red wine drinkers Gran Passione Rosso Veneto 2020 a limited production wine made by Cantine Bertoldi. Cantine Bertoldi is known for their Valpolicella and Amarone wines. They were founded in 1932 and several generations later they now own fifty acres of hand-cared vineyards. They are now part of the larger umbrella wine producer and distributor Casa Vinicola Botter. They began in 1928 selling local Veneto wines. After World War II, they moved onto bottled wines and started exporting. Now in their third generation, ninety percent of their business is done overseas. The soil of the estate is basically clay, and this wine is a blend of sixty percent Merlot and forty percent Corvina. The grapes selected for this wine are hand selected and harvested, allowing for the grapes to dry on the vine, reducing the weight by about fifty percent. This technique is in the tradition of Apassimento (to dry and shrivel), just like how Amarone is made. After harvest, the over-ripe grapes are destemmed and undergo maceration and fermentation for fifteen days on the skins, and then malolactic fermentation occurs in the barrel aging. The wine is an intense purple color with notes of black raspberry puree, black cherry, cassis, black tea and dried violet blossoms. On the palate the wine is a medium-bodied red with intense flavors, medium acidity and medium tannins.