Gravy be damned!

My mum likes cooking, but not enough to do it sober. That’s why, when Auntie H called to ask what she should bring for dinner, Mum said wine. Auntie H was hesitant; she said she didn’t know anything about wine, so I got on the phone and coached her through it. Well, actually I sat beside the phone gesturing madly while my mum claimed to be just joking about requesting wine. Dammit, we needed that wine, no matter what crazy bottle Auntie H and Uncle B might choose.

real de aragonWe especially needed wine because Mum had committed her annual profligate crime—she’d poured a bottle of LANGA REAL DE ARAGON over the turkey, torturing any liquids-only folk and animals (okay, just me) to suffer the sizzle of quickly evaporating alcohol off the browning poultry as whatever angels inhabit the LBHQ oven greedily guzzled their supposed share. It was horrible, people, but of course you know I’m getting used to it. Apparently it makes good gravy, but that doesn’t make it forgivable.

We did snatch one glass of LANGA REAL DE ARAGON, noting the 90-point Robert Parker accolade it wore around its neck before the cork got popped. Not bad for $13.99—could it be true, or was Parker just hammered when he made the call?

Don't let my mother do this to you, my fellow inebriates!

Don’t let my mother do this to you, my fellow inebriates!

It was true. OMG, my fellow inebriates, it was true. LANGA REAL DE ARAGON is crisp and subtle, wafting bright orchard goodness and biscuit notes. Fresh and lively on the palate, this Spanish bubbly deserved to be drunk, not sacrificed to the turkey. Gravy be damned!

Once the sparkling wine was gone I felt very morose. But luckily Auntie H and Uncle B arrived with their two monkeys and not one but TWO, count ‘em, two bottles of wine. Check it out:

Gnarly Head Zin 2011

Now, if I can only get the bottles open…

GARNACHA DE FUEGO—The cure for the End of Days, but not Fluffy

When we bought GARNACHA DE FUEGO (2009), we did so just in time. Some dude was grabbing up all the bottles! Naturally this made us eager to hang on to our treasure and maybe even taunt the guy with the one bottle in our basket.

Ahhhh, the liquor store. The clinking! The tinkling! The samples! The atmosphere! The scent of empties being returned…I don’t accompany my parents there very often because they don’t trust me, but if my mum’s using her big patent leather bag I sometimes jump in just as they’re leaving. On this particular day I wasn’t just lured by the thought of thousands of booze bottles. I wanted to get the hell out of LBHQ. Scarybear had just mentioned that we were approaching Fluffy’s first Halloween in the house.

On this day last year, Granny was very sick, and Fluffy was with her. Far away in Ireland, he sat on a chest of drawers, observing Granny’s last days…waiting.

Fast-forward to today. Granny: dead. Fluffy: haunted by Granny, who didn’t always get along with my mother. Scary: preoccupied with the earth’s overdue magnetic field shift and needing to project his apocalyptic anxiety onto the easiest victim, yours truly.

Scooping that one bottle of GARNACHA DE FUEGO felt like such a score that I forgot about these problems. Spain has been lucky for us lately, $15.99 wasn’t painful, and 14.5% alcohol gets two paws up any day. Situated high in the hills of Calatayud (say that drunk), old vines produce grapes bursting with concentrated sweetness and depth. And when the guy ahead of you in the checkout is buying 15 bottles of the stuff, it’s a strong endorsement.

My dad was afraid of the silly label. True, it’s a little over the top, but at LBHQ we are much more leery of a wine label bearing wombats or chooks than one depicting “Grenache of Fire.” Indeed, the former type is more frightening than Fluffy’s paranormal antics and the great magnetic pole flip put together.

What Scary doesn’t realize in his countdown to December 21, the generally agreed-upon End of Days, is that a magnetic reversal would take tens of centuries to occur. It’s not like planes will fall out of the air or birds will start bonking into each other suddenly. The change will be subtle. Some scientists believe the shift is already in its early stages but is so slow as to be imperceptible.

North is magnetic by virtue of atomic majority rule in the planet’s molten core; more atoms face north than south. As individual atoms flip, eventually the dominant magnetism may shift to south, but a long and middling interval will precede any definitive magnetic south. During this time—and this is the potentially dangerous part—the earth’s magnetic field will weaken as its atoms’ polarities split roughly evenly between north and south orientations, leaving the planet more vulnerable to the solar flares that a strong magnetic field would deflect. In turn the ozone layer will be more susceptible to holes, although, as Scary should know from his other theories about Armageddon, by then we’ll have torched the whole protective layer anyway. We’ll (well, you will, and I if I shave my fur off) be running around with skin like crispy KFC, but not this December 21, people.

Scary is a total dumbass but at least he stayed out of the GARNACHA DE FUEGO. The “fire” may be a reference to the peppery spice that characterizes the wine, especially at rear palate after it’s dealt you much-welcome lashings of rich, earthy fruit with a nice acidic backbone. Considering the reported desolation of the Calatayud region, it makes some kick-ass grapes, which translate into a gorgeously balanced wine with just the right tannic profile. You could drink it with food, but if you’d prefer to get ripped out of your head, enjoy this quaff solo (especially if “solo” means you don’t have to share with Scary, Fluffy, or your dad).

The best thing about having a whole bottle of GARNACHA DE FUEGO to yourself is that you’ll lose all concern for magnetic shifts, tectonic upheavals, solar flares, and the like. But you might still worry about the occult potential of any possessed members of your household, especially on a night like tonight. I hear that when you’re really wrecked you become more susceptible to suggestion, and this was probably the case when I thought I heard Granny asking me if I had any cigarettes. I didn’t (holy shit, my fellow inebriates, I’m too flammable to mess with stuff like that, and where would I keep them—being ever-nude I don’t even have a pocket for a flask), but when I turned toward the voice, all I saw was Fluffy with his vacant eyes.

And how was YOUR Halloween?