What by all rights in a proper setting, Christmas Eve would have been a totally joyous occasion, but with the Matriarch of my Bride’s family having passed away within the year, it was a day of observation and reflection. As with most institutions that are no longer in vogue in today’s society, families have become splintered, as fodder for today’s idea of culture. The five daughters are attempting to keep the family intact, and it will be the next generation that will have to make it work, as it seems that families lament that cousins no longer know each other, whereas in my day, you tripped over cousins all the time at family get-togethers from holidays to birthdays.
We had Christmas Eve at one of the sister’s houses and all but the Louisville clan made it, but it was already known that they would be able to attend the New Year’s weekend celebration. We got there early to help, as my Bride has always been one to chip in and get the work done, as she is a planner and not a procrastinator. I have to give my sister-in-law credit; she had announced that dinner would be at five in the afternoon and she would begin serving at that hour. There were plenty of appetizers laid out and a few of us made the most of the noshes, in between getting dishes out of the ovens and into warming chambers; and constantly checking the meats with thermometers to make sure that all was at the proper settings. One of the wines being poured early on was La Marca Prosecco DOC NV. The company was founded in 1968 as a cooperative of wine growers in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Since its beginning it has now grown and comprises nine cooperative wineries predominately in the Prosecco DOC region. These wine growers comprise some nine-thousand hectares of vineyards of mainly Prosecco (or Glera when the grape is not from the DOC district) as well as a few other grape varietals for some of the other wines that they produce. La Marca uses the Charmat Method and they do a great job with it. In 2007, Wine Spectator magazine listed La Marca as being one of the “Top 100 Wines of the Year.” The wine is an easy crowd pleaser and never disappoints. A nice soft-golden color with medium size bubbles, the wine offers notes of citrus and stone fruit and a touch of honey. On the palate it has tones of citrus and peaches in a refreshing off-dry wine with nice acidity that beckons for another glassful.
For the main entrée dishes, there was an air-roasted pre-brined Turkey with an Apple Stuffing, a Roast Pork Tenderloin and if that was not enough, there was also a Standing Rib Roasted cradled and tied. I offered my help with the meats, about letting them continuing cooking out of the oven, just tented with aluminum foil, until it was time to carve, and I am good at kibbitzing about such artwork. It was amazing that at five, the house became alive with diners, so alas, a lot of the appetizers were not enjoyed as much as in the past. We had taken a couple of whites and reds for the dinner, but my brother-in-law wanted me to try this wine that he had found and my Bride was raving to me about it from another evening when she was with her sister. We had a bottle of Bodega Aleanna El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2018 from Mendoza, Argentina. El Enemigo means the enemy, and the vintners Adrianna Catena and Alejandro Vigil applied this quote on the back label “At the end of the journey we remember only one battle: the one we fought against ourselves, the original enemy. The one that defined us.” The wine was ninety percent Cabernet Franc with ten percent Malbec blended in. The fruit came from the Gualtallary district of Mendoza, an elevated district with deep-calcareous, rocky soil. Maceration and fermentation were done over a five-week period and then was aged for sixteen months in hundred-year-old foudres (very large casks). The wine had a beautiful deep garnet color, with notes of red and black fruits. On the palate it started off very jammy with ripe berries and black currants with good acidity and a smoky edge, but it opened up during the course of the meal and the initial jammy tasted softened up; it turned out to be an excellent and refreshing wine choice.