On the Road Again

One of those human “friends” of our waitstaff stopped in for a visit one day last week. We managed to disappear into assorted favorite rooms and successfully avoided too much contact with said “friend”. All was going well until this “friend” mentioned that she was participating in a Blessing of the Animals at her church. Our own waitstaff were anxious to learn more and it soon came to our attention that this activity required not only our participation but our participation in a place other than our home. Well, this was clearly an activity we had no desire to participate in.

Despite our misgivings, the waitstaff spent an extensive amount of time discussing the possibilities. A serious conversation began, in which the relative merits of subjecting one or more of us to this “blessing” were reviewed. By the end of the dinner, it was agreed that our waitstaff would be participating in the blessing and that Big Fat would join them. Big Fat’s arthritis in his back hips was given as the primary reason for this disturbance in our lives. It’s not enough that Big Fat is forced to consume Cosequin as a treatment for his arthritis. Now some stranger was going to place their hands on him and mutter some less-than-reassuring words.

On the day of the event, we managed to hide Big Fat in the back of the pantry, out of view of the quick glance that the humans generally use when scanning this area. We thought we had succeeded until one of the waitstaff let out a triumphant “whoop” during a third check of the pantry. Big Fat made a run for it, but curse those arthritic hips, one of our traitorous waitstaff  was able to cut him off and shove him rather unceremoniously into the dreaded travel box.

When Big Fat returned, he described a horrific scene. A crowded room, filled with people and their animals, the vast majority of which were dogs who were restrained only by a leash. At some mysterious signal, one of the humans started moving from animal to animal, placing her hands upon each and quietly invoking God’s mercy. At Big Fat’s turn, he was removed from his box and forced to endure this rude behavior. He did admit, the woman was very pleasant, with a soothing voice and a calming touch and perhaps, just maybe, his arthritis was not as painful when they left this cursed event.

And so it was Big Fat’s time to select a wine that would soothe his frazzled nerves. After a lengthy perusal, Big Fat settled on a bottle of the Sinister Hand’s red blend. It just seemed appropriate somehow, even if the story behind the name had nothing to do with Big Fat’s own miserable experience.

According to Owen Roe Vineyards, the producer of the Sinister Hand, the name comes from an old Irish legend. Two families, both interested in the same parcel of land, decided to settle the issue by holding a boat race. The first team to touch the land would claim the win and the land. One of the participants in the trailing boat settled on an extreme solution – he chopped off his own hand with his sword and threw it onto the land, thereby claiming the land. Ingenious, certainly. Sane? Well…..

The red blend is a Rhone style wine from the Yakima Valley. 2016 was a very hot year, leading to an early harvest for most of the West Coast. That means low sugars in the grapes, leading to less fruit-forward wines and something drier than you might expect from even a Rhone. There’s a lovely peppery nose that hints at something red and lucious, something like a big bowl of strawberries. Flavorwise, it’s a subtle, medium-bodied red, with just enough berries to balance the drier tannins and spices that tend to dominate. It’s big enough to coat your mouth but it still leaves plenty of room for that hard-earned treat that you deserve. Say, something in a chocolate. Or a very smelly tuna.

Poor Big Fat. Such a long, terrible day. Well, maybe not that long…or that terrible. Except for all those dogs. And all that barking. There’s only one sure to get some relief after such a terrible day and the Sinister Hand has exactly what you need.


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