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My mom turns 78 today. We celebrated on Sunday because today she and Sonny are on the way back home to Maryland via Montana and Alabama. I imagine they're somewhere between St George and Big Fork about right now.
When TWC was 15 I got my girlfriend's birthday mixed up with my mother's (they were three days apart). Boy howdy, did I ever hear about that. Lordy, my mother was fit to be tied. What kinda son doesn't know his own mother's birthday? Thought I was Jewish for about a week.
At long last, TWC sampled my first screw top wine, a splashy 2003 pinot noir from Argyle, and I must remark that although some of the biggies in the persuasion business were thrilled, TWC was slightly to moderately underwhelmed. For the money, I'd go elsewhere.
Oh, it was a decent enough wine but certainly not deserving of a berth in the low 90’s and a price tag approaching two sawbucks. Plus there was that ghastly screw top reminiscent of Tyrolia, Carlo Rossi, or worse, Night Train. And maybe that’s the whole psychological taint right there. The wine wasn’t corked it was, ahem, unscrewed.
TWC is against screw top wine on principle. Spare me the lectures about spoilage and technology and how dispensing with the cork will put the earth back into balance and what a boon this will be for producers and consumers alike. I don’t care. It’s just not done and those who praise innovations like this have obviously been raised by wolves (thanks Shepard). And screw tops make it just that much easier for your kids to get into the juice. Corks are for the children you know.
That said, it should be noted that TWC is among those who dwell in the Dark Ages, along with 80% of those polled by Wine Spectator.
But wait, just this past week, in Robin Garr's informal poll, those raised by wolves are running away with it. Hummpphhh.
Mind you, TWC likes his movies, but I don't care how they package him, Christopher Walken is just way too sinister-looking to be electable. Good gravy, look at the mugshot he picked for this campaign poster (Adobe Acrobat required).
OTOH, as Commander In Chief, that could work I suppose, it might spook the terrorists (come on, those guys ARE superstitious). But sheesh, except for Sarah Plain and Tall, Mr Walken looks like he's got an entire box of dolls in the basement that resemble you enough to work (close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, shotguns, and voodoo). There's plenty of candles and needles down there behind that shackled and quite substantial oak door to keep him busy all night.
I know, I know, he's typecast but if I were him I wouldn't be hanging (get it?) anywhere near those concertina-wire topped fences marking the outer boundary of most looney bins. It'd be a tough sell to convince anybody that he hadn't just gone over the wall.
Rick L and TWC had been snorting cheap beer, shooting pool, and feeding quarters to the jukebox filled with Willie, Waylon, and the boys since about sundown. We really were worried about Rick's little boy but there warn't nothing else to do but wait it out and see. Best place to do that was polishing a bar stool at Sports Valley, which afforded us a nice view of the river and our campsite directly across. We did get the boat back to the other side, we did get it on the trailer without sinking it, but lordy, Mrs Rick L was hot under the collar when she found out, but that's a story for another day. Wasn't even her boat.
Meantime Rick and Steve the Sootsucker celebrate today.
Lots of interest lately in the forgotten (shunned?) grape of France called Malbec, a bit player often found in Meritage and Cabernet Sauvignon blends as well as Bordeaux. It has rarely been taken seriously as a stand-alone, at least until the Argentineans started doing for Malbec what the Chileans have done for Carmanere.
Wine Spectator whips out a well-deserved 90 for the 2003 Terrazas Reserva Malbec and at under $15.00 a bottle you need to scamper out to the local wine shop and stock up (or let your fingers do the walking).
The grapes are grown at 3500 feet on the slopes of the Andes and irrigated with snow-melt. The wine imparts an earthy, intense, rich, full-bodied flavor. Lots of big black fruit, loaded with blackberry and plum, good depth and balance, with just a tease of pepper and briar on the back side (five bucks says the Kosmik Kid is going to email and ask me to define briar). It’s a bit fumey upfront but a little air will help that along (let it breathe for a while or decant it altogether).
UPDATE: several readers asked about fumey, which refers to the smell of raw alcohol (fumes) on the nose (when one swirls and smells the wine or first tips the glass to sip), as in rubbing alcohol or cheap vodka. Fumey isn't entirely or always unpleasant but it tends to get in the way of the pleasant aroma of red wine. The condition tends to fade with cellar time and/or a little breathing.
This is a magnificent wine with a cellar potential approaching seven to ten years. But you could enjoy it now with some strong cheese, a mesquite grilled steak, some good jazz, or all three. Throw in some conversation and it’s an unforgettable evening with the lady or the gent of your passions. The dessert is up to you.
It wasn't hot enough here at Casa de las Rocas Grande so we packed the kids, the cousins, and Aunt Linda (formerly known as The Flooze) into the politically incorrect SUV and cruised out to Knott's Soak City in Palm Springs (107 and thunderstorms). Dude, there were more fat kids with man-boobies and jelly roll tummies than you could shake a stick at.
This was the final installment on That Boy's ninth birthday celebration. Used to be that every three or four years your mom would invite a bunch of neighborhood kids over. They'd show up with a gift wrapped bag of cheap plastic army men, try mightily to pin a fake tail on a donkey thumbtacked to the back wall of the garage, and swill some Kool Aid to wash down the birthday cake. Two hours and, Bam, you were done.
Good gravy, today, even people we think of as poor are dropping hundreds of dollars for birthday bashes at Chuck E Cheese and the local skating rink.
Seems as though birthdays are more like Christmas used to be, which I suspect is a testament to the often ignored affluence in America.
The House Blond (right end) went to a birthday party in June. They piled the girls into a Hummer limo and whisked them off to Girl Mania, a girly-girl salon geared specifically to little girls, where they got their hair and nails done up just spiffy (and they dare curse us for our decadence).
TWC thought some of those water slides were more fun than a roller coaster. The red one was great, just like I imagine a luge ride might be. Goes to show, I suppose.