Move Over Mary Poppins!

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Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Wine Challenge and the Ghosts of New Years Past

It's a quarter to ten in the morning on New Year's Day, the rain is pattering on the deck, and with the exception of Maurice, I'm alone. It's nice. I should be emptying the dishwasher so I can refill it with the rest of last night's dishes. I should be hand-washing all of the balloon glasses we used. I should be thinking about making breakfast for myself, Mark, and Mark's brother, Jason, since I can hear the boys starting to wake up.

But I'm blogging.

We normally eschew New Year's celebrations, because there's often a sense of trying too hard, and parties somehow fall flat under the expectation of an "amazing New Year's." I was recounting several gems I've had over the years, and it made me laugh. I feel like I got out just in time...

There was the one (12/31/96?) I saw the Bosstones in Worcester with my camp pal Tara. Awesome.

There was the New Year's (12/31/98) that I spent with Al & Friends, traveling around in his station wagon with Ari, Alison, and Matt (not to mention a crazy guy called Andy), and slept under a stranger's dining room table. Ouch. Such a good night, though!

If anyone remembers where I was for 99 or 2000, please remind me. I'm drawing a blank. (No, I can't remember what I was doing when the Millenium turned, whichever way you count it.)

There was the one (12/31/01) when Al and I, and another Andy hit three parties. I hit the cheap champagne too hard. I think I may have kissed Andy at midnight, and then I vomited in a cab on the home, and dropped my wallet on the front steps to my apartment on my way into the house. (A nice man rang the bell and returned it in the morning - Happy New Year, indeed!) Fun night, but a bit soured by the end events...

The first year Mark and I were dating (12/31/02), we got all dressed up, had a cocktail at the Ritz lounge, then had oysters at McCormick & Schmick's, where we rung in the New Year. It was nice.

After that, things have gone downhill...

New Year's Eve '03 we witnessed the death throes of a relationship, after going to another party, waiting for a guest of honor who was two hours late, and then having to leave before he got there so that we could meet up with the couple whose relationship was crumbling before our eyes. Hmmm.

New Year's Eve '04 Mark was in such a bad mood that he didn't speak the whole evening, causing a few of my friends to wonder what medications he was - or wasn't - on...

New Year's Eve '05 we gave up, and veg'd on the couch with Maurice. We were in bed by 11.

Gentle readers, New Year's Eve is back! Last night, Jason brought up a few bottles of wine from his cellar that needed to be opened before they spoiled, and some food, and we had a wine party, just the three of us. We couldn't head out of town because we're spending some of this weekend with my brother and his daughter, so we're sorry we missed all the parties, but last night was just right. All it lacked was a good woman for my brother-in-law.

We started with duck confit (did I mention he's a chef? and a pretty serious wine connoisseur?) and a 1998 Chateau de Montgueret Coteaux du Layon. It was sweet and smooth, almost a dessert wine, but it had enough spine to stand up to the richness of the duck.

Then, we brought back a decade long past and had fondue bourguignonne (with the hot oil and raw meats), accompanied by two bottles, a 1990 Monsanto "Il Poggio" Chianti Classico Reserva, and a 2000 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley Cabernet. I made Sauce Bearnaise with a couple glasses of good wine in me, and didn't break the sauce, so that was cool!

Jason brought four cheeses for the cheese course: a New York Camembert (icky rind, but yummy center), a French Chabichou (mmmm, goaty), a French l'Edel de Clavon (stinky and soft with a nutty finish), and one last cheese which will remain nameless because I don't remember it... The wine, however, was a crisp, clean 2003 Alto Adige Pinot Grigio. A little clarity was necessary at this point in the gluttony. The new year turned at the beginning of the cheese course - thanks for the shout out, Fibby!

To end it, an apple galette with a Campbell's Rutherglen Tokay, and then I had to peel my husband out of his chair and nudge him off to bed. Nice!

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