There’s the highland Dutch and the lowland Dutch, the Rotterdam Dutch and the Irish.

Actually, the words I learned were “the goddamn Dutch and the Irish”.  No matter.  The point is, it’s been a drink drank drunk sort of week.

My family is a little different,  or a little more than different.  What I like to refer to as the Family Massacre [pronounced “mass-a-creee” see reference here] occurs usually a day or two before or a day or so after traditional Thanksgiving.  It’s been going on for years, like so many years that I was sitting in a location last night that was where the “kid’s table” used to be.  When we were actually kids on occasion my Uncle, who hosted the Massacre would come and sit at the kid’s table with us.  I don’t remember them not living in that house, but I do remember a remodel that occurred probably in the late 60’s after my Grandmother passed and the Aunt who lived with her moved into the house.  They’ve recently remodeled the kitchen, but beyond that, the home stands as it always has and remains in remarkable condition.  My Uncle was a cell biologist at the Viticulture and Enology department at UC Davis.  I remember when he was in the hospital sitting in his room waiting for him to wake up.  I was reading a book called “How you dog knows you’re coming home”.  He woke up and asked “What are you reading?”  I told him.  He looked at me like I was full of crap, a look I was accustomed to.  I said “It’s written by a cell biologist.”  He says “Oh!  Than it must be true!”  That was my Uncle.  He passed away in 2002 and for a couple of years the Family Massacre went on sabbatical.  My cousin moved her family back to the family home to care for her Mother and the Massacre resumed last year.  The poor turkey only made it one year, now they’re serving duck and lamb.  The guest list is stable and newbie’s had better bring some humble pie and a steel jock.  Their status is judged by whether we run them out of there on Greyhound or Amtrak.   Yep.  We’ll run you out of town on a rail.  As a rule, you never admit a weakness at one of these events.  The Brother mentioned his recent trial and essentially said that he lost the trial.  Personally, I don’t believe he lost, he just didn’t grind the opposition into powder.  But the silly boy said something in front of The Cousins and it was on.  That’s how we roll.

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With a background story like that you know we’re going to talk about wine.  We’ll start with the Beaujolais Nouveau.  Trust me, I dare not bring that shit to the Massacre without a bus ticket.  There are only two allowed appellations, the Beaujolais and the Beaujolais-Villages.  It is meant to be consumed immediately, prior to the May following its release.  French law governs its release no earlier than midnight of the Third Thursday of November.  Much fanfare goes on with its release.  Plenty of wine people like to turn their noses up at the young unsophisticated wine.  I think those people take themselves way too seriously.  Have some fun for crying out loud.  This stuff is generally around $10 a bottle and shouldn’t be kept for more than 7 months.  It’s a red that should be served at 55 degrees.  Go ahead and turn up your nose.  We think you’re boring anyway.

This year I’ve had these offerings.  Keep in mind, much of the smaller vineyards never make it out of France.  Reason #2 to move there.  Wine that never leaves there.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Village Nouveau

Maison Louis Tete Beaujolais Nouveau

Kermit Lynch Beaujolais Nouveau

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau

Pierre Dupond Beaujolais Nouveau

Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau

Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais Nouveau

I didn’t put the year because it’s this year.  This stuff is in the vineyard in August and in the glass in November.  It ain’t rocket science.  It’s whole berry fermintation.  The one I just didn’t like was the Mommessin.  It was way too tannic.  This is a tannic like hurt your tongue tannic.  Way too much and not much else going on.  The wine as a whole should be drunk with food.  Any food really, just food.  I don’t see this as a “paired with…” blah blah blah wine.  It’s a “this is what’s in the jug” wine that you would get in a cafe in France when you asked for a glass of wine.  They’d pour it until they were out of it.  But the Mommessin was too tight and when you’re dealing with a quick consumption period, I’ve got to say these guys missed.  Georges Duboeuf is like the Inglenook of France.  Occasionally they get it right, but they’re all about quanity and not quality.  This year they got it right.  I liked the Village a lot this year.  Bright dancing fruit with a floral essence.  Light tannins for a Beaujolais Nouveau. One of their best in years, possibly ever in my Beaujolais Nouveau drinking career.  I’d not had the Louis Tete before.  They could get my best of show if not for the Joseph Drouhin.  Crisp flavors, bright fruit, easy on the tannins and floral hints.  More interesting than most of these wines.  I’m not sure how the Kermit Lynch thing goes together, but it was not one of my top choices.

Now for the wine that went to the Massacre.

2005 La Storia Cuvee 32

2006 Hatcher Grenache

2004 Clos Pegase Pinot Noir

Best of show was the 2005 La Storia.  Not a surprise to me.  It’s a Sangiovese based wine.  Very well balanced with blackberries on the front palate and spice on the back.  Just like Miro Tcholakov makes his wines and just like I like them.  It paired perfectly with the lamb.  A little spottier with the duck, but I blame that on the duck.  It was a good duck.  Just not duck enough to stand up to one of Miro’s wines.  I thought the Hatcher Grenache would stand up well with the duck, and while it was ok, it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be.   This is a bright medium bodied wine.  Raspberries, cherries and cranberries on the palate.  I thought it would be amazing with duck, but it was a little too tight on the finish.  I think I should have held it a little while and let it calm down.  The structure is there and I think this one will be decent in the future.  Just not so much with that duck.  Then there was the 2004 Clos Pegase Pinot Noir.  I think Pinor Noir and Napa is not what I think.  Oregon yes.  Sonoma, yes.  Carneros, not so much.  But this one is a good one.  Ripe cherries, that nice pinot earthiness, plums and lavender.  Nice lush finish on this one.  We killed this one (although they will say I killed it and I know I had help) before dinner, so it doesn’t need food.  It might have stood up to that duck.  Nuff said.

Bottle_Barbera

And finally best of show at Sonofabun’s house last night.  The Young’s Vineyard Barbera.  It didn’t make it to dinner, we had the Freemark Abbey Cabernet Franc with dinner and it was very good and held up well to Sonofabun’s rich meal.  Who takes that old green bean casserole recipe and updates it with fresh ingredients and panko bread crumbs?  Yeah rich.  But after dinner another guest whipped out that Barbera.  This thing was really amazing.  Sort of like a zinfandel but not.  Jammy for sure, blackberries, full tannins, cherry coke and a sweetness on the finish that I wasn’t expecting.  This wine sent me to my happy place.  Only 920 cases produced and I really need to get up there and check these guys out.  The best wine I’ve had in a week of drink drank drunk.

And now for 18 minutes and 36 seconds of your life that you’ll never get back.  You’re welcome.

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