Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sort of an American Thanksgiving

Despite living our lives awash in American media, one of the things we get used to in Canada is that we celebrate Thanksgiving a month earlier than folks do in the US. Accordingly, it didn't feel like anything out of the ordinary for us to have a Thanksgiving dinner a week before everyone else in the States would be loading up on turkey. There was no way that Boo wanted to experience the airport chaos that is American Thanksgiving; so, our little, mini-family reunion was timed so that we'd be able to make our way back across the 49th Parallel just in time to beat the rush - although it also meant we'd miss Black Friday, but that's another story.

Cuzzin' K and Coke came over from Raleigh and Boo's younger brother, Dan-o, was able to make it up from Florida so that we could all share dinner with Mom Mary.

Mom Mary's move back to and transition to the States hasn't been the easiest of journeys and Boo was apprehensive of how everything would transpire as the whole gang gathered. Seems like he needn't have overly worried. Family, food and wine can help immensely.

If there was one problem encountered though, it was that Boo discovered that our iPad is the perfect vehicle for Angry Birds. Talk about distractions.

987. N.V. Conte Priola Rosso (Medium Sweet) (Italy)

This was a bottle that HDR3, the default ale-drinker, had picked up. I have to admit that the "Medium Sweet Red Wine" that was most notable on the label had me wondering a bit; being a non-vintage wine didn't help ease my concern either. There wasn't much else on the label and I can't find any mention of a winery online, but the label does refer to L.P. Fossalta di Piave which is a small town north of Venice. I'd expected some sugary pop-like drink reminiscent of the Rich Red's and Ruby Red's of yore. It wasn't half as sweet as I'd expected and we didn't have to secretly serve it to the unwitting. I'll likely remain wary of such labels down the road, but I suppose it shows you can't judge a wine solely by the label.

988. 2010 S. Andrea in Colle Il Rosso (IGT Rosso Tuscany - Italy)

Again, this isn't an easy wine to find information about online. There's a bit more on the label this time around though and it is both a vintage and a classified (IGT) wine. Again, the most telling information on the label was that the name S. Andrea in Colle seems to refer to another small town and area outside of Florence. I suspect the wine is produced by a collective of growers in the region. Unlike the last wine, at least this label confirmed that the wine is made of Sangiovese - which would make sense for Tuscany.

One additional note on the label is that the wine is an "Alfio Moriconi Selection." I might not have been able to find anything about the winery, but Mr. Moriconi is a consulting buyer of European wines for the Total Wine chain. Accordingly, the bottle might be one made specifically for sale by Total Wine in the US.

Again, the wine was more than suitable for our purposes. I think the wine was meant to be approachable as an introductory wine for the newer consumer that is willing to try varietals that aren't as well-known as Cabernet or Merlot. Boo and Mom Mary had both had a bit - and they're still smiling - so it couldn't have been that bad.

Turkey and all the trimmings turned to pumpkin pie and cherry cobbler and that brought even more smiles to all those gathered.

989. 2009 Radius Merlot (Washington State)

Who'd have thunk it, but I couldn't easily find out anything about this wine either. Being from Washington State, I figured there'd be a winery website - but not one that I could find and the Washington wine industry has some pretty extensive websites. That likely means that this is a consumer brand wine - much like the two Italians.

Good thing I wasn't expected to know anything about the wines at dinner. Folks were definitely more concerned with everyone else's news and with how Mom Mary's move was working out. Those conversations carried on for some time; so, naturally, we needed to pull out another bottle of wine.

990. 2010 Adolph Mueller Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Spätlese (Prädikatswein - Mosel - Germany)

Surprise, I couldn't find a website for this producer either but, luckily, German wine labels can tell you a fair bit about the wine inside - if you can ever figure out how to read them. "Prädikatswein" is a qualification that the industry uses to identify wines of superior quality. "Piesporter Michelsberg" is the collective of vineyards forming the area from where the grapes were grown in the bigger Mosel region. "Spätlese" is often translated as meaning "late harvest;" so, it's not surprising to find a fair whack of residual sugar in this wine.

That being said, I can't say as I know anything else about the wine or winery. We were drinking it on its own but I think the sweetness might have been a little less prominent if we'd opened it to drink along with dessert. As it was, it was more like a dessert in itself - which isn't necessarily the worst thing that can happen while on vacation.

I must be away from home because it's not too often that I don't know something about any of the wineries or can't find out something about the wine since it's being sold in our market. Not so much today. But then, trying wines that I wouldn't normally see or try or know anything about is a central part of this Odyssey.

And who we're drinking the wine with is another primary tenet of the blog. So, this is a special entry seeing as how far everyone had travelled to get together. If that wasn't reason for giving some thanks, I don't know what is.

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