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…

FREIXENET CARTA NEVADA BRUT—Questionable choice to ring in the New Year

I love New Year and the sparkling wine that comes with it, but OMG, my fellow inebriates, I can’t get my nose into those narrow little flutes.

Thankfully, Miss P had a solution. She used an empty apple-sauce container as a trough for yours truly so I could enjoy New Year as well.DSCN2998

“Isn’t that a bit humiliating?” someone asked.

Well, you tell me. Is it more humiliating than trying to stuff your head into a 1.5-inch hole?

Ahhhh, but that’s how you enjoy the bubbly experience. Flute-shaped stemware helps retain carbonation with its reduced surface area at the opening. The whole idea is to reduce nucleation so the bubbles keep sparkling as long as possible.

But does it matter? With a champagne flute, I get nothing. With P’s trough, I get some of the cheap-ass bubbly (my parents went all out: $4.72 for a 200-mL bottle of FREIXENT CARTA NEVADA BRUT). Thing is, once it’s been poured into my trough, the bubbles are gone.DSCN2997

But how does it taste?

I’ve had it with bubbles and I’ve had it without. And it definitely needs bubbles. It needs them as a distraction from its tangy-sour-bitter nastiness. While Freixenet has some reasonable bubbly out there, this is not among those offerings. Imagine drinking something at the stroke of midnight that reminded you of dissolved Aspirin—persistent screaming high notes, a medicinal chord, and little else. All it has, my fellow inebriates, is fizz.

So do not drink it out of a trough, friends, even if a helpful little seven-year-old offers her apple-sauce cup for that purpose. This stuff is difficult to drink—it needs all the help that effervescence can give it. If the New Year’s ritual were important to you, maybe you could slug back one flute, but more would be masochistic.

My dad, however, went over the line. He threw his FREIXENET out without finishing it. Like no one would have helped him with it.

MARQUIS DE LA TOUR—Sacrificed to a turkey

My Fellow Inebriates,

When we changed headquarters this summer, we lost the camera charger.

Dozens upon dozens of boxes have been searched, and it has not turned up.

But if we buy another one, it will turn up immediately. So we haven’t. And therefore it hasn’t turned up.

Where the hell are you?? Where did you go? Did my dad put you in his jacket pocket and then throw away the jacket? Did he insert you somewhere and forget about you? Arrrrghhhhhh!

Meanwhile the camera has lost its charge. This means no more drunken pictures or bear porn for the time being. And while it’s not such a loss in terms of yours truly, whose appearance follows an imperceptible but predictable trajectory from mangy to filthy, the kids in the house are aging, getting taller, growing their hair, losing their teeth. Undocumented.

They may well be teenagers by the time my dad breaks down and buys a new charger. He’ll arrive home with it, having surrendered the battle against Murphy’s Law and finally ponied up at the NCIX counter, only to interrupt Miss P necking on the couch with some scurrilous unworthy kid—because she will be 15 by the time he finally caves in. OMG!! We are dying without that little connector. The children are losing their recorded childhood, not to mention any documentary evidence they might one day proffer to Child Services. This is serious shit.

Surely not? Not in…in there?

It’s almost as awful as when my mum poured an entire bottle of MARQUIS DE LA TOUR over the Thanksgiving turkey. She does this every year, and I always cry when she does it. She says it “makes the gravy,” which seems to neglect the contribution of the gigantic dead bird being baptized by $12 sparkling vino.

Admittedly she did give me an infinitesimal sample before wasting the bottle. My thimbleful (NO PICTURES AVAILABLE) was pale gold with teeny moustache-tickling bubbles. The scent was delicate and pleasing if somewhat simple. On the tongue the bubbles danced with more sweetness than expected. While the flavor was crisp and clean, it nevertheless suggested melons and other fruits that appeal especially to the rapidly maturing kids (NO PICTURES AVAILABLE) who reside at LBHQ. Were one allowed to have a full glass of MARQUIS DE LA TOUR, the sipping would be easy and refreshing.

I don’t honestly think a small swallow of sparkling wine is adequate for a fair tasting, but my parents countered this argument by saying that Robert Parker regularly swishes as many as 50 wines around his gob in quick succession, rendering judgments within 30 seconds. Essentially they called me on my bitching and donated a bottle of perfectly good booze to a dead turkey. And then they said: “You’re lucky we’re not cooking a bear with an apple in its mouth.”

Hello, Child Services?