New Year’s Day– What Wine for the Apocalypse?   Leave a comment

There are 356 days in 2012 until December 21st, the Winter Solstice, the end of the Mayan calendar.  There are bound to be dire predictions this year about the end of the earth.  Which brings to mind Harold Camping’s apocalyptic predictions of the Rapture first on May 21, 2011 and then on October 21st.  It’s too easy to make fun of knuckleheads like this because they have mastered the art of Unwitting-Self-Parody.  And if I am wrong, then very few of you reading this will be in a position to tell me so. 
 
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The Face of the Apocalypse: Christian radio host Harold Camping on May 22, 2011.

And were the world to end tomorrow, what would we choose to drink (assuming we could plan ahead)?  It would have to be something traditional and something modern.  And it would have to be shared with my loved ones.  Which brings me to a recap of the First Day of the Year.

Every New Year’s Day for the past 10 years, Ms. R and I have had a brunch at the house.  Previously known as the “Hair of the Dog” Brunch we have recently decided to rename this event the “What Happened Last Night” Party.  No matter the title, it is an informal get together of our closest friends with a lot of food, usually a regional culinary theme, and of course some libations to liberate us of any remaining inhibitions that may have been leftover from the previous evening’s countdown to insanity.  This year we went with a Spanish theme with a some new recipes from a terrific new cookbook: FOOD OF SPAIN by Claudia Roden.  Simple to prepare, yet glorious food.  Easily worth the $40 retail price.  Get it. 

Yes, we served a great Sangria (on the rocks) and some sparkling wines (merely chilled on ice), but once the party got in full swing, there were a couple of wines that I pulled from the cellar to accompany me and some especially helpful guests while putting the finishing touches on some dishes in the kitchen:

Chateau Puy Arnaud Maureze, Cotes de Castillon 2005.   100% Merlot goodness from Bordeaux.  Old world restraint coupled with good fruit from an excellent vintage.  Aromas of herbs and dark fruit and a long finish.  What came between the aromas and the finish was even better.  Rated *** 1/2

Vina Mayor Secreto Ribera del Duero Reserva 2003.  100% tempranillo.  In stark contrast to the Puy Arnaud, this is a big wine done in a new world style full of lashings of dried fruit coupled with oak and moderate tannins and a lasting finish.  Aged 18 months in 225L French oak barrels and aging in bottle for 18 months minimum.  Rated ***

 Now we are planning on having another “What Happened Last Night” brunch on January 1, 2013.  But that may be looking too far ahead.  Depending on your point of view on the Rapture-Apocalypse-Deluge-Whatever, we have Some or All of 2012 to get through.  We have new vintages of our favorties coming down the pike.  And we have the allure of new wine and food discoveries to be made.  

And what about New Year’s Resolutions?  A Sybarite doesn’t need any stinking resolutions. 

Let me explain.  The arrival of the New Year is a bit like turning the page to the next chapter in life.  Rarely is a chapter completed on the first page.  There are Revelations about Self that will define me this year and may result in changes that I will incorporate into my Life.  I just don’t need to do that at a moment defined by the arrival of a New Year.  Lasting change is gradual.  It has to be evolutionary.  And the arbitrary arrival of the New Year, in and of itself, does not suffice as an impetus for lasting change.  Abrupt change of habits just don’t work for most people, including myself.  Just take a tour through your local gym for the next month.  Then see how many of those folks are still at it on March 1st.  However, you can expect this gym rat to be there after all the New Year Neophytes have gone back to their cushy Lazy Boys, soft drinks and corn chips! 

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Posted January 6, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

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