Monday, October 31, 2011
Trick or Treat (or: Home Shopping Network of a Different Kind)
Happy Halloween, guys! Kathy and I carved our Jack O’ Lanterns yesterday afternoon in anticipation of the onslaught of kids tonight. I think I posted previously that, in our little house in Seattle situated on a dead-end street, we had maybe a total of eight kids come for candy over eight years. This will be our third Halloween in Oakley, and we ran out of candy the two years previous. Kath stocked up extra supplies for this year, but since trick or treating falls on a Monday this year (our first two years in the house here saw Halloween fall on a Saturday and Sunday night, respectively), we’ll see how it goes when I have to hold down the fort before K gets home from work.
It’s a balmy, high-70s day here in East CoCo County this October 31, and it behooves us to sit on the front porch Adirondack chairs with a bucket of candy for the kids, cocktail or glass of wine in hand (us, not the kids). As one mom said to us our first year, eyeing our Gin/grapefruit/Triple Sec and Grenadine “Pink Cay Flash”-laden Martini glasses as we deposited candy into her daughter’s pillow case, “Now that’s how I want to spend Halloween!”
Now, a couple of weeks ago, Kathy was flipping through the cable TV guide and stumbled across a station listing for “Wine & Epicurean Auction.” It was a fundraiser for KRCB, a PBS station located northwest of us in Rohnert Park, just south of Santa Rosa, in Marin County. It’s hadn’t been one of the PBS affiliates in our local listings or on our personal radar, but it seems that a recent boost in signal strength got them listed on the Comcast remote guide, and that’s how we became addicted to two weekends, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. of wine lots up for bid.
Primetime evenings, for two weekends straight, Kath and I went full-metal QVC: calling in bids, seeing our bids erased for another one higher, rejecting outright most lots, frantically writing down lot numbers of ones of which we got only fleeting glimpses, and trying to mentally calculate the real cost of any wines with which we were familiar. We eschewed the many lots comprising “Tastings for 4” or “12” (never mind the fact that I don’t know even 2 other people; and by now you know how I feel about paying for tastings), and went for real bottled juice. We watched as certain lot boards closed, then waited for the phone call telling us that we won the bid(s). We cracked up when one such call came at 11:30 p.m. on a Saturday, after the night’s auction had ceased and we decided to stay up for some local news.
By the time the auction dust had cleared a couple of weekends later, we were the successful bidders on three lots. And then I got a call the middle of last week, days after the auction was over, saying that the high bidder on a mixed case of Navarro had declined, and with our bid being next in line, did we want it?
OK, make that now four lots. And, because our reserve bid for the Navarro was slightly higher than the minimum, we ended up awarded, gratis, two $65 admission tix to the Grand Tasting at the Artisano Wine, Food & Art fest in Santa Rosa mid-November.
Kathy had to work last Saturday, and with KRCB open that day for auction pick-up, I drove the Lisa Marie up to Marin to fill the hatch with our own Halloween treats, a couple of which are featured in Kathy’s photo above: a signed magnum of Rockwall Napa Cab from our winemaker pal Shauna Rosenblum; and one of the high-end Pinot Noir selections from a fave Mendocino producer, Navarro, both flanking Kath’s haunted mansion pumpkin carving. Also picked up a nice two-bottle lot of Washington state Bordeaux-style reds, as well as an inexpensive case of Moscato sparkling, perfect as a Sunday sipper for those pesky 78-degree November Sunday afternoons here in Oakley. Not to rub your face in it, or anything.
Hey, it occurred to us that we haven’t done a tasting note in a while. So, Kath and I pulled the cork on a 375-ml half of 2007 Navarro Anderson Valley Mendocino Pinot Noir “Méthode a l’Ancienne,” part of our mixed auction case from this NoCal fog bank region whose second-biggest cash crop is wine grapes. (Cough, cough, ahem.)
The half-bottle poured a youthfully transparent berry color with hints of plum-to-be. Lots of tart cranberry and bright acidic fruit on the nose, with hints (to me, at least) of smoky sweetness on a lengthy finish.
PS: Have ya’ll stumbled across a PBS show called “Vine Talk”? Hosted by Stanley Tucci, it features a few of his Hollywood and Broadway pals, and culinary guests doing a regional blind tasting while swapping stories. We caught one episode by accident (on our new best friend, KRCB) and we can’t wait for the next, with Nathan Lane as one of the guests.