There is something about this time of year that makes us smile. Whether it’s the thought of spending time with our daughters or visiting family – or stopping for a bite to eat and a night cap at a local business – the atmosphere spells “HOLIDAYS”. Thanksgiving has always been the ‘traditional’ beginning of the Christmas season. There was a time (we know, we’re dating ourselves) when you didn’t get to see ANY holiday decorations until the day AFTER Thanksgiving. It was a ritual, and an unwritten law, ‘thou shalt not promote thy Christmas until thouest hath finished Thanksgiving.’ A little over the top? Perhaps, but true. Ask anyone born in the 70’s or before and they’ll tell you that rarely – if ever – did a store ‘reveal’ it’s Christmas displays – let alone their after Thanksgiving specials–a week, a month, a half year before the actual shopping day . . . AFTER Thanksgiving.
Something happened in the early 1980’s – we were newly married and remember walking into one of those “supercenters” and being amazed and astonished by the sheer volume of Christmas decorations and “deals” for the holiday shopper. It has only gotten worse since then. We know that’s a matter of opinion, but from where we sit, it’s become LESS about the HOLIDAYS/CHRISTMAS and more about getting stuff. Don’t get us wrong – we LIKE stuff, especially if it’s red and comes in a wine bottle . . . BUT, and we’re kind of on the same path from earlier this week, if all we are doing is opening early to make the sales that we would have made the next day at a much more reasonable hour – then what gives? Is this what the Holidays have degraded to? Not so much.
Thinking back to the days of no shopping malls – no outlet centers – no regional strip centers – just good old fashioned Main Street businesses that supported their community; worked hard for their customers and gave back to their community. Today . . . not so much. Just like the retail business, it’s more of a ‘what do I get out of it ‘ mentality – as opposed to what can WE do to make the place better. Times sure do change – for the better? Mmmm–not so much.
Tonight we sampled a 2009 Forefront from Pineridge Vineyards. Now, what’s cool about Pineridge Vineyards is that they are not set in the status quo . . . in fact bringing reduced vine spacing from Burgundy to the Napa Valley and introducing Dijon clones to Carneros established a new level of winemaking excellence in the States. The experimentation with clones, rootstocks and winemaking techniques, which continues today, allowed for constant learning and improvement. From vineyard to bottle, the winery has continually embraced innovation in the pursuit of ever higher quality. They challenge the status quo with ForeFront. Their adventurous spirit joins decades of knowledge and expertise to produce an array of intriguing, high quality wines. Wines that are modern and distinctive. The nose of this wine – very nice; fruity but not too much with lots of oak . . . you can’t be misled when you get a snoot full of oak and black cherry!!
The taste; however, turned dark and ominous – could it be? Two nights in a row with a thumbs down? The taste was missing something – fruit, oak, smoke, cedar, tobacco . . . anything please, but NO, the taste and finish of this wine was a big “THUMBS DOWN” – which is really a bummer because the fruit for this wine was sourced from two different and distinctive appellations. The lush taste and bright characters of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from Lake County elegantly balance the dark berry fruit and deep complexity of the Napa Valley Cabernet and other Bordeaux varietals. BUT, it just doesn’t deliver. Too bad . . . we were really thinking that this could be a magnificent wine. This wine we got at HEB for $13 and don’t think we will purchase again.
Alas, just like the early shopping times this wine falls short on our list and it’s ‘Not So Much’ when it comes to a recommendation . . . so as you get ready to enjoy your Thanksgiving with your favorite wine, please remember to enjoy it responsibly and recycle whenever possible.