My Fellow Inebriates,
This week Miss P is touring a historic Fort Langley site with her class. My dad, who is joining the field trip as a “parent helper,” has the option of dressing up with her in old-time pioneer clothes. Although this leaves the house empty for us bears to party, I still get freaked out by these Fort Langley outings. Last time they went, my mum emailed me a photo of a bearskin rug.
This is how the conversation went later.
Me: Nice photo. We bears call that “bear terrorism.”
Mum: I thought it would make you laugh.
Me: Did “Silence of the Lambs” make you laugh?
Mum: Some bits of it.
Okay, so my mum is a freaking psychopath. She nevertheless has produced a useful justification for getting into the wine. I mean, what bear wouldn’t need to calm down after seeing something like that?
The wine in question is J. LOHR SEVEN OAKS CABERNET SAUVIGNON (2010). How a wine costing $22.99 entered our home is a point of dispute between my dad, who took my mother’s disappointment with a recent $11 bottle as a command to go and spend 100 percent more next time, and my mother, who has a “wish list” of $25+ wines but won’t ever buy any of them because of a pathological parsimony that, once early-onset dementia and $11 wine claim a few more of her brain cells, will probably eventuate in her cooking seagulls after they’ve choked on our garbage, and who therefore hotly disputes having had anything to do with my dad’s decision to buy the J. LOHR.
Needless to say, this dampened their enthusiasm for the bottle. Neither one made so much as a comment on its aromatic cherry notes, its glass-gripping body, or its ripe, jammy fruit swimming in vanilla-oak. It was biggish, almost lush, stopping short of hedonics however, and more or less thumbing its nose at us for parting with 23 bucks.
If anything, J. LOHR SEVEN OAKS is a consistent wine. From vintage to vintage, it holds up in its price range. It has a certain velvety smoothness that suggests fine attention and craft. On the tongue it could linger a little longer, but of course I can always just stick my paw in the glass and slurp it out of my fur. Because it’s my fur, damn it!
So I would buy it again, my fellow inebriates, but only when my mum ups the wine budget. Until then, there are plenty of decent wines that ring in under $15 and give J. LOHR a run for its money.
My Fellow Inebriates,
On Friday my mum told me to go away and make myself “useful.” When I offered to drink the bottle of ANCIANO GRAN RESERVA TEMPRANILLO on the counter and come back with useful tasting notes, she looked at her watch (9:00 am) and said, “No, I meant you could help Dad wash the car. He could probably use something small and absorbent.”
This seemed abusive, so I determined that I would drink that bottle at the first opportunity. I’d show her “absorbent”! Watch me absorb a bottle of wine!
They were sneaky, though, and poured it into a bearproof decanter. Tempranillo is a varietal that benefits hugely from decanting, often changing character entirely from one hour to the next if it’s allowed to aerate sufficiently.
By law, a Spanish wine can be called “Gran Reserva” only after being barrel-aged at least five years. This particular bottle has seven years under its belt, and we’ve previously tried another by the same vintner that boasted ten years’ ageing. The ten-year wine was delicious, striking very typical Tempranillo chords: leather, vanilla, tannins, plus raisins, plums, and vegetal notes. I didn’t expect the seven-year wine to stack up, especially at $3 cheaper. How did it fare?
Well, once I got my furry face into a glass of seven-year ANCIANO, it delivered a surprisingly easy-drinking experience. Lush and full on the palate, inky in the glass, ANCIANO served up a diversity of flavors, headlined by ripe raspberries/currants with some vanilla and cedar for back-up. It was smooth and mellow—not challenging the way a Tempranillo often is—the sort of bottle you could open with your breakfast omelet, then sip all day (okay, you’d need several bottles). I loved it, people, and I’d buy it again. It’s a mellow sipper, and goodness knows we could stand to mellow out at LBHQ. Especially my mother.
In the bathtub this morning: the most massive silverfish ever witnessed at LBHQ.
I wanted to put it in a cat carrier and send it to Stephen Harper as a pet, but instead my mother took a shower with it. So immense and robust was the silverfish, she reported, that it would not be nudged by mere water down the drain. Instead it filibustered by the hole until she aimed the showerhead right at it.
Now, ordinarily I would prefer not to have a play-by-play of any of my mother’s nude activities. But I like to monitor our silverfish situation—for a while, you may recall, I thought Fluffy Bear was summoning the creatures from some nearby Hell Mouth. He seemed to be marshalling them for some sort of arthropodic assault, an insect-amplified grief cry for our deceased Granny, whose bear he was before he came to live with us.
But then my dad sprinkled some white powder (instructing me not to even think about snorting it) around the baseboards, and the silverfish disappeared. For the most part. Those that survived his poisoning emerged larger, stronger, and more apt to wrestle you in the shower.
I think you’ll agree, my fellow inebriates, that the foregoing ramble warrants wine on at least four counts:
- Encountering a silverfish the size of a cat is traumatic.
- The mere notion of my mother in the shower is doubly so.
- Should Fluffy choose to summon armies of silverfish again, they will be formidable.
- Stephen Harper is still the prime minister of Canada.
Knowing that Stephen Harper probably wouldn’t think to reward us with, say, a bottle from the cellar at 24 Sussex Drive, I don’t feel so bad about failing to wrangle him a creepy new pet. Nor do I feel bad about busting the screwtop off a bottle of STARK RAVING RED. A big, jammy blend of Tannat, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet, and Petit Syrah, STARK RAVING RED is gonzo with plums and cherries, filling the mouth with sweet, somewhat cloyingly boozy fruit. It’s not disciplined in the least, MFI, it’s in-your-face, as bold as a silverfish on steroids, but without scales or antennae. I liked it even though there wasn’t a chance of taming it, decanter or not.
Would I send a bottle to Stephen Harper? Not on your life. He probably drinks $100 wine every night. Nope…if I ever send him anything, it’ll be a cat-sized silverfish, and he can stroke it.