All Shiny and New

That time of year is slowly winding down. We do enjoy the holidays – few things are as exciting as wrapping paper and fresh catnip – but we do hate all the fireworks that signal the end of the season. And there are those neighbors who can’t wait to get started. Loud booms have been known to start before the sun has disappeared for the day. It’s positively painful.

Our waitstaff didn’t even remain at home last night. Rather than providing us with comfort and warmth, the humans ventured to a friend’s house to enjoy champagne among their own kind. It was a sniff-worthy moment and we made our disdain clear but still they left us alone for several hours, surrounded by loud noises and tiresome neighbors. We were hoping the neighbors would at least be forced inside by the arrival of below freezing temperatures, but apparently cold weather was no deterrent to those determined to enjoy one last party.

We were finally forced to survive the night by opening our own bottle of champagne. (The only acceptable popping sound we heard all evening.) Well, all right, sparkling wine for those who are particular. A beautiful bottle of Mumm Napa – Cuvée M. This sparkler is an interesting blend of Chardonnay and three pinots – Gris, Noir and Meunier. It has a long, sweet flavor, full of peaches and cream, that positively bounce along your tongue with all those wonderful little bubbles. On the nose, it conjures memories of sun-kissed strawberries and fresh honey, with a hint of fresh, buttery rolls. Perfect comfort food for a difficult night.

Eventually, the noise died down, the waitstaff returned, and everyone curled up on the extra blanket that had been placed across the bed. As usually happens after a long night, the waitstaff have slept in to start the new day. It’s the surest sign of another slow, sleepy day. We’ve already selected another bottle to open while we wait for the humans to stir and settle in for another day of viewing football, hockey, and whatever other sports they can find.

We looked deep among the bottles and found another treasure from the inheritance that we thought would suit the day. A deeply red 1993 haut Medoc from Chateau Coufran, it seemed the perfect way to fend off the cold air trying to sneak inside. This is a hearty blend of merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon so it’s certain to be a big, beefy wine. In fact, the Coufran wines typically have 85% merlot, higher than most other bottles from the area, and a recipe for bold.

Though Coufran is an older vineyard, the current blend came about when the Miailhe family purchased the property in 1924. The Miailhe’s were firm believers in the merlot grape and its ability to thrive in the Medoc region. It’s a belief that has proven to be true over the years and the 1993 we found is proud evidence of this. With all that merlot swirling in the glass, there’s plenty of plum and tobacco and earthy tones. This isn’t a wine that lingers for very long – it fills your mouth, slides down smoothly, and then, leaves you wanting to fill your mouth with more. Cold weather, be gone!


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