I know that you think I have totally lost it, but I have a cousin that has decided that the best way to keep all of the cousins in contact, is to have an Easter Eve dinner. When I was young, I remember my grandmother having all the holidays with her children, in-laws, grandchildren, nieces and nephews all crowding into that two-bedroom flat for spectacular meals and a wonderful time was had by all. After she passed away, her three children took turns having the holidays, but eventually it became a major undertaking, because now all the grandchildren that had moved up to the parent’s table, had children and sometimes grandchildren on their own. And those children had much bigger homes compared to that warm and cozy flat, but then you must add in new in-laws and more cousins and friends and the holidays were getting splintered. That is where my cousin had the brilliant idea to have Easter Eve and bring in all the core cousins and their families for a get-together on a night that really wasn’t reserved.
We arrived at her new home, my Bride had already been there once for a girl’s night, and as we were walking up from the street, my Bride wondered if we should go through the front door or one of the garage doors was open, and it smelled wonderful. As we entered the garage, we saw a man cooking on two large Shawarma devices as we were bringing in some wine and a cake that my Bride had ordered. Just as we were getting to the side door, my cousin showed up and laughed and said that we were front door guests, but I really wasn’t concerned and I was a bit nosy anyways from the delightful smell that was emanating from the garage. We walked by a whole island of appetizers, and after taking off our coats and hat, I went to check on a glass of wine, I know I have no shame, but my Bride was a bit parched as well. I did not bring any white wine, and there was none to be seen and the last time the whites were in overabundance. I opened a bottle of Korbin Kameron Merlot Moon Mountain District 2015. The Korbin Kameron Merlot Moon Mountain District 2015 is an Estate Grown wine and Merlots have been one of my favorites since I was a teenager. The Moon Mountain District AVA was awarded in 2013, so it is still basically a new designation from Sonoma County. This wine was aged for eighteen months in French Oak, of which half was new, and they produced two-hundred-ninety cases of this wine. I think the extra couple of years in the bottle really changed my mind, but then I am very partial to older reds. The 2015 was now showing me the virtues of good breeding that a Merlot needs, and it paid back with the nose of red fruits and spices, a taste of rich cherries and a charming silky tannin finish.
Eventually it became time for dinner and another island of food appeared, with a lot of our classic Armenian food, and we also had to go out to the garage to get either a plate or a sandwich or both Shawarma that was still being cooked and carved off the rotating spit. I always thought that the Armenian word that became generic for a barbecue spit in the Middle East was “sheesh” and I thought it sounded nicer. As for me, after all the appetizers I really attacked the Armenian Pilaf and the legendary “Hot Ham” that my father created and no one has been able to totally duplicate. I went to the bar area, and I saw that the Merlot was gone, and one of the young ladies was attempting to open a bottle of wine and she was going to brutalize the cork. I took the bottle from her and tried to assure her, that I have opened a couple of bottles of wine. The bottle that I saved from destruction was a Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico DOCG 2016. This is a wine that one usually sees on menus as Ruffino Gold Label (Oro) and it is not issued every year, only when it is a great vintage. This wine comes from the demarcated zone known as Chianti Classico and Ruffino uses their famed Gretole and Santedame Estates for the fruit in the sub-region of this area known as Castellina. Naturally with this wine eighty percent is made from the Sangiovese grape and the other twenty percent is rounded out with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The grapes are aged in an assortment of oak, Stainless Steel and concrete and aged for thirty-six months, twelve months longer than required by law for a Riserva from Chianti Classico and then it spends additional time in the bottle before it is released. The garnet-colored wine offered notes of cherries, and graphite pencil sharpening. On the palate cherries, spices, and strong tannins with a nice medium count finish with some terroir. This wine is excellent and I have enjoyed it over the years, but I was surprised that I thought it came a weak second after the Merlot, but I made the most of it.