In my original post about Christmas, I lamented the difficulty of splitting Christmas amongst the various familial parties who feel entitled not only to our time, but to our infant son’s as well. As I mentioned, we’ve worked it out for the most part, and now on the 27th, find ourselves at my family ranch out in the Sandhills of Nebraska, where my mother and father live part time. The ranch was homesteaded by my grandfather and grandmother, Francis and Helen, and holds an important place in the heart of everyone who bears our surname. It is the perfect place to get away and spend the holidays, with a dusting of snow on the ground, no cellular reception, and plenty of time to dine, nap, and play with my son, Titus.
We opened gifts this morning, the morning of the 27th, the first real opportunity we’ve had between the time with other families, the travel, and seemingly countless obligations. My parents are patient. We had something of a tight window between breakfast and Titus’s morning nap, and got most of the way through showering him in presents before he started to melt down. As for the four remaining adults, we gave one another things like olive oil and books, things adults appreciate but which bore children terribly. We opened them quickly, and then we went back to Titus, and watching him enjoy his self-propelled cars, his blocks, his wooden kitchen, and other things. Tis’ better to give than to receive, after all.
In addition to my parents being here, Sonja and my dear friends, Tylr and Sabrina, along with their two children, will be spending New Years here with us. It was my intent that my parents would be here as well, but they made other plans. I regretted that, as I enjoy their company more and more with each passing year, and in addition, I had brought some lovely wines for everyone to enjoy. So when my parents informed us today that they would not be with us for New Year’s Eve, I decided to open one of the special bottles I had brought so that they, too, could enjoy it. Mom was preparing a roast, and I decided that an apt pairing would be a Cabernet. (I’d pair Cab with a deep fried hammer, but all the same, it sounds even better with roast, right?)
Only recently was I introduced to Antica wines, the wines of the Antinori Family in California, but already I’m a huge fan. A few weeks ago, I was at one of my favorite wine bars when the wine dispensing machine went haywire. It drained an entire bottle of Antinori 2011 into waiting glasses, and mine was one of them. The staff told us to keep the wine, and I spent the next hour drinking amazing Cabernet. The 2012 I had at a recent tasting at a local wine shop that I frequent, and enjoyed it just the same. If I could characterize Antinori Cab in a word, it would be understatement. The 2013 is as true to form as any. An excellent food wine, just what you’d expect from an old-world family making wine even in California, it shows beautiful notes of lavender, subtle leather, and deep purple fruits. I decanted it for an hour, yet enjoyed it more and more the longer I let it open up. It paired perfectly with the roast, and my entire family remarked upon it. It is, in short, an excellent Cabernet.
Splitting time around the holidays can be tricky, though I have more time off than most people I know, so I shouldn’t complain. Tonight was a terrific evening, with little Titus giggling away as we fed him roast and veg, and later I “sword fought” him with spoons. Mollie the dog begged because that’s what she does, and the entire family shared conversation, laughs, and time together. All of it was complimented by excellent food and wine, reminding me of the place of wine in life, an important one if not the center stage. I am grateful for all that I have. (sample)