Cheers for the Holidays

Family. Wines. Hoops. Big Dinners. Friends…and Fires.

Fires in Los Angeles are seasonal…just like the holidays. Fires come every few years. Hmmm. They were especially brutal this year especially in NoCal. The SoCal fires burned through the brush-filled canyons of northern LA. The foto above is looking northwest from Las Virgenes Road. Shows how the fire was left to burn out the empty canyons. Fires did burn right up to several housing compounds. Wealthy homes adjacent to these fuel centers particularly in Malibu went up in smoke.

Here is an excerpt from a 1998 NYT review of a book that received renewed attention post firestorm.

In “Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster,” Mike Davis has the temerity to argue not only that Southern California has always been a place where extremes of earth, wind and fire make notions like “average rainfall” a mere abstraction, but that the modern, man-made monstrosity of Los Angeles “has deliberately put itself in harm’s way.”

A suitable introduction to tBoW’s views about the end-of-year holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. For many folks the holidays are celebratory times. Here are the things we observe as the 60-some days envelope of time gently unfolds. Get your curmudgeon on.

#1 The arrival of the Wally’s catalog. Since the Marciano family bought out founder Steve Wallace the annual catalog has featured Dom Perignon on the cover. The first catalog was ostentatious and – to be frank – ostentatious to the point of laughable. The 2018 edition is restrained, even understated…until one turns the mag over and finds the Marciano Estate label on the back. The vintage is 2015, the fourth release for Marciano Estate. It is the synthesis of Napa in its current rendition; glitzy, out of reach, foolish. [ed. Mr. Story: I concur.]

men who mean well

#2 Thanksgiving meal is a family affair. It is not a wine tasting. There are essentials which make a great family dinner at Thanksgiving. [ed. Mr. Story: such as turkey marinated in wine, brussel sprouts baked in wine, whipped potatoes with a hint of buttery chardonnay, and of course a glass of wine that compliments each element of the meal, rightfully poured into a pumpkin-shaped wine wineglass.] A cadre of members must travel from “afar.” Eventful news should be “revealed” such as a wedding or pregnancy which causes a stir among the kindt. [ed. Mr. Story: Other forms of eventful news should include which wines each family member purchased that year, where they got them, how consuming the wines made them feel, what they thought about during the time of consumption, if the wines encouraged them to think about things in a different way, and so on and so forth.] [ed. tBoW: I concur!]

men who know better

The doomed attempt to “taste wines” should be abandoned in favor of an opportunity to toast and tilt with the cousins aka the “young ‘uns.” tBoW and the Larj work each year to bring an assortment of wines red and blanc that will complement the meal and entertain the troops. Let us end this pretense of a tasting and call it what is; a chance to clean our cellars just like the meal is an opportunity to clean our colons. Bottles are opened and poured like beer at a home football game. Let the wine flow! Nobody knows what they are tasting. This year’s amusement was provided by the young ‘uns who have acquired tasting lingo. “I get rhubarb, slate, charcoal, freshly layed asphalt…” Exactamemente monte mous! Makes me look forward to 2019 T-Day!

Despite all odds that any wine would distinguish itself there was a U20 winner. The Soave had some slate, strong acid and worked with every freakin’ bizarro plate put in front of the chattel. Bravo Mssr. Larj and Mdm. Patty of Hi Times Wines.

#3 Christmas and New Years end the seemingly endless season. Let’s save these thoughts and observations for another few weeks. Until then…flog on!

Jim Gaffigan reviews Halloween which actually kicks off the “holidays.”


  1. Wavatar
    Kris-B says:

    Wait, slate in Soave?? Those are volcanic soils, not sedimentary!

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      Bacchus says:

      I stand on my slate comment. This is an impression not a soil lab! Maybe it was pebbles or marbles (in my mouth not head). I need to get you my new biz cards where all is made clear as salt.

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    Lawrence Siegel says:

    Wally’s catalog was included in our Sunday NY Times delivery. “Reasonable” isn’t part of their lexicon. I still like the broad and colorful selection at Vallarta. Albertsons has some fine values too.

    • Wavatar
      Bacchus says:

      The annual Wallys catalog is a great ice breaker for corporate holidays parties. Only the C-suite can find the “values” inside. I keep mine at the wine bar. Makes for clazzy “towel” to soak up the ice bucket sweat. ALbertsons? Our local A was closed and replaced by a Gelsons. Imagine our disappointment. Please keep the comments coming. I am going for a record on a single post.

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