RKS Wine: The Penniless Pensioner’s Blowout Christmas Parties of Yesteryear

PP told me recently his small 25 lawyer Toronto Bay Street law firm used to hold a blowout Christmas Party primarily designed for support staff and articling students who were given the 24th off to put them in a celebratory mood for the party that night. PP says we held it over the years at swank hotels. Cocktails, dinner, dancing and prizes with an open bar and taxi chits mandatory for all. The support staff were excited for weeks about the party. They could bring a spouse or best friend. Perhaps it was luxury they could never afford. PP fondly recalled a variety of wines from Australia’s d’Arenberg Winery that were served at this party. He remembers one red was called The High Trellis and the Stump Jump which suited the ox filets flown in from Portugal.

The High Trellis was a Cabernet Sauvignon from the famous McLaren Vale region in South Australia. PP said with the Portuguese ox it was divine..a mind blowing food and wine connection. Not a trophy wine as of course only the senior partners of the firm would appreciate such fine wines. PP was a bit of a snob when it came to food and wine. But the food prepared was fit for a royal dinner. The wine was pretty good…”good enough for the staff “ PP said.

So reliving PP’s fond memories I try The High Trellis.

It seems upon opening the bottle we are facing an Aussie big blaster. A huge nose of blackberry, cassis, red plum, prunes and milk chocolate. On the palate moderate and broad-based tannins with a slight burn not surprising considering the alcohol is at 14.5%. The palate was definitely full of robust and almost overly ripe black cherry, subdued blackberry and cassis. This is a full throttle Cabernet Sauvignon that takes no hostages and is the type of wine that launched many Australian Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays. Really a must with food but if you are not willing to fly in Portuguese ox a huge slab of Prime Rib or Filet Mignon in black peppercorn sauce will do nicely. PP did mention there were some “good looking hippy vegetarian law clerk chicks” (not my words) who selected the vegetarian option of Portobello and Truffle Burgers and he did try the burger with the wine and gave it a thumbs up. “Man can those hippie chicks dance!” Such a phrase in today’s politically correct world would not be uttered yet with the new ethos of diversity and global inclusion peddled in the corporate world perhaps such a phrase is now politically correct! Don’t we have to include everyone so we can exclude everyone?

Getting back on topic of wine rather than the musings of a possibly lecherous old corporate lawyer the wine is brash and bold and is still the type of Cabernet Sauvignon adored by many.

By the way PP did marry one of these hippie chick vegetarians and that marriage lasted less than a year. Mental cruelty was the basis for the divorce. The PP’s meat consumption was unreasonable cruelty. Although the divorce was granted the judge was PP’s friend and as the skills of the petitioner would readily afford excellent employment prospects PP walked away without any support obligations.

He denied the child was his.

(The High Trellis McLaren Vale 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, d’Arenberg, McLaren Vale South Australia, $19.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 943456, 750 mL, 14.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).

The Stump Jump is a GSM (Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre) which the Australians do quite well. A nose of strawberry jam, Christmas cake, blackberry and raspberries. On the palate spicy and feisty. Cherry pie, black pepper and blueberry. Well made indeed like the High Trellis. Give it some air and it smooths out with a slight bit of sweetness. Good to quaff and I’d pair it with slow cooked leg of lamb on the barbeque. Might as well drink by the end of 2022 although I do not think it will improve with ageing.

(The Stump Jump 2017 GSM, McLaren Vale, South Australia, d’Arenberg, McLaren Vale, Australia, $15.95, 14.5%, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 173294, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 91/100).

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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