Monday, October 7, 2013

Thanksgiving Pie and Birthday Cake

My sis, Vixen, is now fully into the whole Brady Bunch blended family with her man, Big Trucker. Vixen's kiddies still live at home but B.T.'s three chillun's is all grown and moved out. As such, it can be difficult to try and gather the combined clan for family dinners - particularly when the Big Trucker kids traditionally spend Canadian Thanksgiving with their mom. As a result, Vixen thought she'd have everyone over for an early Thanksgiving dinner and combine it with Big Trucker's birthday.

I get to be truly thankful for the fact that she does all the cooking. my job is simply to bring wine for dinner.

1446.  N.V. Rosenblum Cellars - Stark Raving Red (Sonoma - California)

Boo and I arrived to an already opened bottle of this Stark Raving Red. I'm not sure if it was Vixen or one of the girls that picked up the bottle but they clearly succumbed to label's allure and knew nothing about the wine. Neither did I before looking into it a little further. My first thought was that, if this is a Rosenblum wine, what's going on? I've never known much about Rosenblum but I always recall the fact that I was told many years ago that it was one of the "R" wineries in California that make a mean, premium Zinfandel. The Stark Raving Red is a non-vintage, entry level wine that is an unlikely blend of Tannat, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cab Sauv and Petit Sirah. It didn't sound much like a Rosenblum wine.

One website promoting the wine says that it is "made for the man who likes his wines big, bold, jammy and luscious." Reading that, it's pretty easy to conclude that this brand is as much about marketing as it is about wine. While the winery website doesn't talk much about the wine itself, it didn't take much of a Google search to lead me to a video that takes you to a behind the scenes look at a photo shoot as the powers that be work on wine label images. Some wineries promote videos touring the vineyard and facilities. Others, I suppose, take you to fashion shoots worthy of America's Next Top Model.

It was much later that I learned that the Rosenblum family actually sold the winery (and name) to drinks conglomerate, Diageo, back in 2008 and the winery's old take on Zin is being largely usurped by new directions.

The wine wasn't bad but it's hardly the best commercial wine that I've tried either. The $15 price tag in our local market may well help the label stick around for some time to come though.

1447.  2009 Talbott - Logan Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands - Central Coast - California)

Another California red was up next but this was just a tad more upscale - read "just a tad" as a polite "head and shoulders above...." We'd picked it up awhile back during a visit South of the 49th Parallel. But, like the Stark Raving Red, I didn't really know anything about this bottle.  A little searching revealed that Talbott Vineyards has been making Pinots and Chardonnays for three decades now, releasing largely single vineyard wines.

The grapes for the Logan Pinot were all estate grown fruit from the home Sleepy Hollow Vineyard. While the wine is definitely on the lush, fruit-driven side of Pinot Noir, it was a popular pour. It's probably a bit big for turkey but no one seemed to care much about that.

1448.  2010 Robin Ridge Gewürztraminer (Similkameen Valley)

We don't tend to drink a whole lot of Gewürztraminer in our household. Boo doesn't have much time for it and it's not my favourite for a white varietal wine. I tend to appreciate the grape's floral and mouthfeel more when its characteristics show through on a white blend than I do when it's served up as a varietal wine. All the same, we usually have at least a couple nice Okanagan bottles that we've stumbled upon just for occasions like this - you know, ones generally involving turkey.

Not exactly an Okanagan wine, Robin Ridge hails from the neighbouring Similkameen, but it still reflects that BC tree fruit and spice-driven profile. Not the easiest of sells with this crowd but, hey, traditional pairings are traditional pairings.

Another pair of traditional pairings are cake with birthdays and Boo's pecan pie with Thanksgiving. Vixen even managed to coax an extra apple pie out of Boo as well.  Let's just say there was plenty of dessert to go around. There might have been no worries about getting enough dessert but Big Trucker had barely blown out the candles and the forks dove directly into the cake. No need to cut slices with this crowd apparently. Thankfully, folks gave Boo's pies a little more respect than they gave that chocolate cake. If they'd tried pulling that stunt with his toiled over crusts, it might have been the last pies they'd get to taste.


Turkey. Pie. Chocolate Cake. Tasty Pinot. The fact that it's Big Trucker - and not me - getting another year older. I'd say there were a couple decent things to be thankful for - early or not.

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