February Birthdays 2018

As is our usual thing we all get together one day in the month to celebrate all the birthdays of that month. This one was kind of touch and go, as it seems that Winter has lately been tormenting us here at the house. We ended up with two big plumbing problems in our en-suite, which resulted in a complete makeover of that room. The winter cold snap also caused our garage door to break down, which resulted in having to get a complete new system installed. All of this occurred just days before the scheduled party, and then another blizzard. For some odd reason the media kept reporting four inches and everyone I knew, including us had at least ten inches of snow, when it was all done, and we were running out of areas to put the snow. Not only was I trying to keep the driveway and the walks clear, I had to do extra duty as the snow plows insisted on putting more snow on the apron of the driveway. I was also clearing extra parking spaces on the street to accommodate our guests, just because Mother Nature kept trying to throw me some extra curve balls.


The day of the party my Bride was already in the kitchen preparing for the party and the phones kept ringing, because there was concern about the weather and the road conditions, which was totally understandable, but until the last minute, the real honoree of the day looked like she might be a no-show. My Mother-in-Law was celebrating her ninety-second birthday and she was concerned about the sidewalks and driveway. We put out extra salt and some extra shovel time and all was good, though we did have a few that did not make it, and their drive was the longest. My Bride had put out a salmon pate, cheeses and crackers and an assortment of fruit as appetizers. She was making two big pork tenderloins and about ten pounds of chicken, plus the usual sides that everyone agreed on. There were also plenty of desserts afterwards, as these are the most popular that the guests bring. The food was a big hit, there was very little left, so my Bride was elated and the birthday recipients were also happy.


There were some craft beers being poured, but I opened up two different wines for the evening and they were both from 2012. The first wine that I opened with a little trepidation, because it was a white wine; the Reif Estate Chardonnay Reserve Niagara River VQA 2012, which was made from a slow warm fermentation in Stainless Steel, followed by aging for twenty-four months in a mix of eighty percent new French Oak and the balance in American Oak. The winery was very proud of this vintage and suggested that it would age for seven to nine years. In fact, when we were at the winery, it was so hectic that we left without buying any and we made a special trip back just to buy this wine, as it rather haunted my Bride that it was so good. When I opened up the bottle and poured it into the glass, it had a very deep honey gold color and I was concerned that I had kept it in the cellar too long, but the winery was right, it aged perfectly and my Bride was ecstatic and it disappeared very quickly. I was trying to find something a little different that would work with both the chicken and the pork and I grabbed a bottle that I had received from our club “A Taste of Monterey.” This bottle was the Cambiata Tannat 2012 with a Monterey AVA. It is estate grown, produced and bottled by Laumann Family Estate Wines of Soledad, California. Eric Laumann intention was to make wines beyond the classic Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone wines of France that do so well in Monterey, and some of the varietals that he grows are Albarino, Tannat and Dornfelder. The Tannat grape actually means tannin, and the wines are known to be very dark and tannic, because of the thick skins and many seeds per grape, and the varietal is famed from the Madiran region of France, but it is becoming popular in South America and in the United States, it is being grown in Texas and Virginia, as it thrives in hot climates. The grape is also known as Maidiran, Harriague, Moustrou and Bordeleza Beltza. The wine was aged for twenty-eight months in sixty-gallon barrels, all French and forty percent new. All the fruit came from the Rocosa Loma Vineyard and 348 cases were produced, with a suggested aging potential of eight to ten years. As an aside, in music, the Nota Cambiata is a leaping note that enlivens a melody. This wine was pure bliss and my Bride mentioned it to me a couple of times that evening, because she didn’t want to miss out on it. So, in spite of Mother Nature, the party was a success and I can relax a bit, from all of the extra work that I had done in the last two weeks.

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About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Twitter.com/WineRaconteur Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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6 Responses to February Birthdays 2018

  1. I bought a bottle of 2006 Chardonnay a couple of years ago after a winery tasting. It was great then and I was assured that it would cellar well for up to another 10 years. Seems like a lot for a white and I have nervously been wondering if I should open it…any opinions/advice?

    • Chez, I would say go for the gamble, that is what I do, in a group like setting, with something else chilled as a back up for insurance. I was impressed with this wine, and alas I do have some other whites that I will have to do the same thing with myself. Good luck and thank you for stopping by. – John

  2. Here’s hoping you get a breath of spring sometime soon. Until then, at least you have plenty of wine!

  3. Winter is sure causing havoc. Fingers crossed for a warm up soon.

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