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The last time I saw Uncle Carl he and Aunt Jeanne were two-stepping around my cousin Richard's makeshift dance floor to 'All My Exes Live in Texas' at his 90th birthday party down at the Colorado River in Arizona. He was scammed, thinking that we all just came for a big gala family Thanksgiving bash only to learn that we were all there for him. For the big 90. It brought tears to his eyes.
Carl was old fashioned. A manly man; tough, generous, good with a Porterhouse steak and a shotgun. Maybe some would have called him a good old boy, and perhaps he was.
This son of a blacksmith came to the California desert a lifetime ago and manged to parlay a worthless gold mining claim into one of the richest limestone mines in the west.
After he retired, he and my aunt traveled a lot and he always kept his shotgun in the motorhome. I ribbed him about that once and asked him if he kept it loaded (okay, so I was setting him up). He responded with a look like this might be being hit in the head lessons. Of course it was loaded, "what the hell good is it iffen it ain't loaded?"
"Well" I said, "that's illegal, Uncle Carl."
"I don't give a shit 'bout that Mike" waving me off with that infectious grin.
94 good years. No wasting away in a home for the infirm, he was elk hunting just a couple of years ago.
Our thoughts tonight are with my aunt, my cousins, and the family.
TWC planned to review a Chilean wine with an unusual blend of grapes but that might not be fair to today’s sponsor, Smoking Loon Winery.
Huh? Well sure, I'm aware that Chilean wine is odd. Of course, chili 'n beer would be a better pairing (omigod), but anyway, onward….
Veramonte Winery’s Primus is a big fat rich mouthful of red wine from the Casa Blanca Valley of Chile featuring the lost grape Carmanere, together with Merlot, and Cabernet in that order. This is an elegant and complex wine with many layers of subtle flavors and aromas. Matched with a fine meal your guests will be singularly impressed (they’ll think you spent a lot more than you did, always a plus).
Another plus is that TWC didn't suffer from any of the morning after allergy symptoms (pollens?) that are typical of Spanish & Chilean reds (at least for me). These wines tend to give me the same kind of next-morning pleasure as mowing a half acre of ragweed-IOW a couple glasses of Spanish or Chilean red wine translates into an instant cold that is only alleviated with Claratin. Didn't get that with Primus.
Carmanere (also called Grand Carmenet) is a rare red grape that once was THE premier grape of Bordeaux. It was obliterated in the 1800’s by a nasty disease called phylloxera that ravaged many of the vineyards of Europe. The grape was lost for a century and many assumed it to be extinct. Up until the 1990's this grape was thought to be simply a Chilean adaptation of Merlot but with subsequent advances in technology and science it was learned that it was the long lost Carmanere grape of Europe.
The Wine Spectator rates Primus at 89 and calls it a “smart buy”. Although it hails from Chile, Veramonte Primus is part of the Franciscan family, known for its superb California Merlot (drink some today). Primus is available for under $20.00 just about anywhere but can be found for as little as $12.00 if one is paying attention.
Today marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Army. The one (count em) deed that may keep some Rooskies from burning in hell for eternity. And you wonder why the Israelis don't take a dime's worth of crap from anybody? Sorry, they won't be giving up their guns any time soon because the Israelis are pretty clear about what happens to unarmed Jews.
"I was here (at Auschwitz) naked as a young girl. I was 16. I am Israeli, I have a country, I have a flag. I have a president."-Merka Shevach