I had to laugh at myself yesterday as I sat down to Christmas lunch in Palm Springs, Calif., with my 99-year-old grandmother, mother, stepfather, sister, brother-in-law and nephew. We had a beautiful turkey with all the trimmings, but there wasn't a good bottle of wine to be found in the house!
My nephew, who works for Wally’s wine shop in Westwood, said that he was bringing wine for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. He did. But we drank it all on Christmas Eve! (And one bottle that he brought was corked.)
We had a 2005 Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio Collio, 2006 Marqués de Riscal Rueda Blanco, and a 2003 Château Faugères St.-Emilion. The latter was the wine of the night, and I loved the unctuous, juicy and generous fruit in the wine and its round and rich tannins. It’s a gorgeous wine to enjoy now but will improve for many years to come. I like it better now than when I first scored it for the magazine.
Anyway, about an hour before Christmas lunch was ready, I thought to myself how some rosé Champagne would hit the spot. I was sure there was some in my mother’s house. Nada! She had some mini-bottles of Cook’s Champagne and Henkell Trocken in the fridge. I just couldn’t bring myself to open them.
I quickly called a local convenience store to see if they had Champagne. All the best wine shops and supermarkets were closed. The dude over the phone said “I think so. We sell wine.” My stepfather went over and found bottles of Almaden California Champagne. He wisely returned home empty-handed.
In desperation, I found in the fridge some already opened 2005 Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne White Laforêt. I am not sure how long it had been opened but it was surprisingly drinkable and reminded me of a good Mâcon with its appley, lemony and fresh fruit and bright acidity.
As I drank my simple Burgundy (there was only enough for a glass) and enjoyed the good food and family conversation, I laughed to myself and thought how I will better organize the Christmas lunch next year in the drinks department. But it didn’t really matter in the end. Christmas is about being with family and friends … the drink is only an extra.
Noel Owsley — Palm Springs, CA — December 26, 2007 6:23pm ET
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