This what I had tonight, just a half a glass, but still . . .
1988 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Pauillac $322
A magnificent wine that's ripe, powerful, seductive and amazingly deep. Massively concentrated and bursting with currant, plum, berry, cedar, chocolate and all sorts of exotic spice flavors, yet it keeps its balance, never going to excess. Lingers on the finish for minutes. A classic. Best from 2000 through 2010. (100pts WS)
This was my second 100 point wine. And I'm in over my head. This is a wine before the Americanization took over. It is a low alcohol, 12.5%, low tannin, low fruit wine. But perfectly balanced! This means there really is all that subtle stuff that snobs usually pretend there is. At first I wanted to just study it, but better sense took over and I just drank it and waited for my eyelids to stop fluttering.
Go in Peace
Hey, this is the 600th post. But I Just got an e-mail from KC and I'll put that up instead. She's in Maoming, China completing their adoption of Zoe Cai. Here it is:
My first chance to sit down at the computer. Been pretty full days - managing a few hours of sleep. Been an amazing experience. We met Cai Hong on Wednesday. I'd actually gotten quite nervous about the Chinese part of the adoption. The process and the paperwork was pretty wacky, but at the end of the day, and after having promised "never to abandon or torture" her, she was declared our child. The next part is getting permission to take her out of the country.
She's such a brave child. She didn't cry at the handover, but carefully observed the situation before lulling to sleep within a few minutes. The next few days she seemed sad and withdrawn, and could generally be almost immediately calmed from crying fits by rocking her. Unlike some of the other children who you could get to laugh and grin, she was very serious and found no reason to smile. Her attitude was like - okay, please feed and protect me while we find my people. Then she had a real hard evening where she was really hard to console, and ended up sleeping most of the night on my belly. And then yesterday she seemed to start getting more comfortable with us, and started laughing and playing with us. And today we had an incredible and tearjerker day in her hometown, visiting her orphanage and the sites where the children in our group had been found. I don't know that you could go through this orphanage and come out the same person. The caretakers seemed all very goodhearted and caring people who were doing great work, but seeing the faces of these children was heartrending. And Cai Hong was again so brave - she was being carried around the orphanage by her primary caretaker, who was her favorite person in the place, as well as a few other loving caretakers, and seeing her crib and her roomates, the whole experience didn't seem to phase her. Tonite she did have one of her scary fits, but didn't take as long to calm her to sleep.
I feel very very lucky. I miss Vincent something awful, but hearing almost daily from Connie & Mutti that he's laughing and charming all kinds of people and drinking over 2 pounds a day - helps so much knowing that, and I can't even imagine what it'll be like being with both Vincent and her - my heart may just bust.
Go in Peace
KC and Luke have picked up their new daughter, Zoey Cai Hung James, and will be back from China next week (she's a take-out order). While they're away, Annual and John were generous enough to invite KC's Mom and Sister over for Thanksgiving dinner. Although baby Vincent wanted to just hang by himself back at the crib, they chose not to leave him because he plays the music too loud.
KT was back up for the holiday and even Antler (Ant's name for the holidays) was in town. We ate John's wonderfully prepared meal and adored the baby. He was all the focus until Kirsten made her announcement: TRIPLETS!! I'm sure Hiroshi still hasn't blinked.
We talked joked and drank a lot of white wine. Ever had a moment where you're talking nonsense to a baby and others overhear you. I was feeding Vincent and he just didn't want to finish the last 1/2 inch in the bottle so I said to him, "Eat up! Don't you know your sister is starving in China?" And everone heard that. Was it really so awful? No, of course not.
Go in Peace
NPR Geek supreme advises:
Great Rosemary Clooney Interview by Teri Gross.
Penn Gillette does this week's This I Believe.
Great story on a homeless guy for all us bleeding liberal hearts just in time for the holidays.
Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish because they run this every year and you'd hate to miss it.
Go in Peace
And a child shall lead them.
Miss Bridget has again announced her position: nay to the X-mas gift exchange tyranny. "I will not be buying presents this year, nor do I expect any. You all know that I love you and you don't need a new pasta machine to prove it." Instead she will be making donations to Doctors Without Borders on our behalf. On the same page, LJR sent a similar e-mail the same day, "Hey, I am asking this of everyone I can convince....let's NOT buy each other gifts. We do such great LIVING the other 364 days a year. We eat, drink and entertain well. We want for nothing...(besides rock hard abs and tight buttocks.)" And she recommends her charities: "I do aspca, pets in need, wdet, kteh & jerry lewis. (not MDA, just Jerry Lewis. I tip him a Benjamin every year.)"
For the last two years I have opted out of the gift giving as well. I buy bags of groceries for those in need. Well, I give a check to Glide and they do the rest. Last year some 3000 needy families were given take home bags. I still exchange with my family, although I am stuck for a list this year- I don't need anything. And I will still be buying gifts for the children. Small gifts, simple things . . . like smokes. I'm pretty sure The Boon prefers menthols.
Oh, and I will still be buying wine for the holidays. Tomorrow I'm bound for Van der Heyden on my annual holiday wine run. Aside from the standard case (or two) of the Table White, I'm looking for a good red wine as well. Do they still make Andre Cold Duck?
Go in Peace
While the rest of you were sound in your beds, LJR and I have been up 'til short of 2am ranting, cajoling, insighting and divining all the wrongs in the world from SouthBay Barbies to Millionaire Civility Voids. For two hours of effort we have come up with one irrefutable truth: BACON IS GOOD.
Go in Peace
Here's what I'm drinking while listening to a Rosemary Clooney interview from the Fresh Air archives:
1999 Van Asperen Signature Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $36
I have no idea where this bottle came from. Maybe there's a Wine Fairy out there, she gives you a bottle of wine in exchange for lost hair (a much better exchange than a quarter for a tooth- it's not like my "adult hair" is going to grow in soon). According to the bottle, only 16 barrels of this wine were made. That's 400 hundred cases of this Bordeaux style blend (86% Cab, 14% Merot). And a fine bottle it is: smooth, ripe full fruit flavors of red plum and just a enough spice and tannin to give it some strength. Wish I knew where it came from, I'd buy some more.
"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." ~ Frank Sinatra
I never drank by myself. This wasn't a way to prove anything, I just didn't find a desire too. Living on my own for the first time twenty years ago, I tried having beers by myself after work and it just didn't do anything for me. In the last year I've taken to drinking wine after work and now I love it.
Working in a kitchen is a prolonged adrenalin rush. Get the prep done, start the hors on time, execute the starters, roll into the game course, pick up the main, plate the cheese course, and get the dessert finished. Bam, bam, bam. So you go from running in fifth gear to idle once it's over. An hour after such a high level of focus and execution you're sitting at home starting the hours long process of decompression so maybe you can get some sleep. Back in the day, I went for drinks after work and was grateful that it was the fastest way back to normalcy. Well, normal for a brief time and then into a whole other head setting.
Moderation, never a strong point, has allowed me to have two glasses of wine and this gets me into a much more relaxed place, one that allows me to go to bed and not waste hours with the TV or the computer. I think it's mostly in my head. Two drinks can't do that much, really. Even if it's just a delusion, I'll buy as long as I'm getting 8 hours of sleep. For the next 5 weeks I'll be on the hospitality Iditarod, pushing 'til the last friandise hits the tables on Friday December 23, 2005.
Go in Peace
I keep posting photos of me holding little Vincent. Yes, they all look the same, kind of. But, I put them up as proof that I'm NOT DROPPING THE BABY. As a 40 year old bachelor with minimal infant experience I have to work harder to prove my trustworthiness as "Uncle." Maybe it will help to compare and contrast my responsible behavior against that of an actual biological father of three.
This what I'm drinking while re-evaluating myself:
2001 Lancaster Estate Alexander Valley Red Wine $48
The 2001 Lancaster brims with aromas of wild berries, cassis, and violets. Ripe, black cherry and chocolate flavors, toasted oak nuances, and supple tannins combine to deliver a most balanced, and full bodied wine. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. 88% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 2% malbec, 1% cabernet franc and 1% petit verdot. (84 pts WS).
It's okay. Came as part of my wine club order, so I only paid half price for it and don't feel burned. The other wine is a '99 Brunello I tasted last month- that puppy will be stored for the next 10 years. The Lancaster would be a great $12 wine. I find it surprisingly balanced, in a Hootie and the Blowfish sort of way. Let me 'splain, Lucy. Hootie and the Blowfish were the a band that had a decent sound and were fine jukebox music in a bar. You'd never choose it, but it filled all the necessary minnimum requirements of background necessary for the whole bar environment. No matter how drunk you got, you'd never sing along but it was so much better than listening to that Who Let The Dogs Out bullshit. The WS review (of the wine, not Hootie) says, "(it) still leaves you hoping for more fruit depth and complexity and a lot less oak." Which I find odd because this wine isn't as oaky as most of their darling high alcohol Cabs. Go figure.
More importantly: I'm checking out the Wine Spectator on-line and I have learned the following things:
As a wine drinker I am fighting off Alzheimer's.
I am keeping my blood thin, reducing the chances of circulatory problems (but increasing the risk of hemorrhaging- like that's ever gonna happen).
Diabetes is less likely (unless I'm drinking too much, but that mostly seems to be a problem for the women folk).
So, from now on no more Chris is an alcoholic jokes, please. I much prefer the label "health nut."
Go in Peace