I love my family. Let me repeat that: I love my family.
I can only take them in limited doses. There have been times on this blog where I have lamented visiting my in-laws, but that is mostly a shtick—I actually enjoy visiting my wife’s family, particularly when compared to visiting my own family.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I love my family and we certainly have some fun and laugh a lot.
There was a reason I left the Midwest. Actually, there were several reasons why I left, but I go back usually once a year to see my mother and my two siblings that are still living there. It is also good to see my nephews and niece, and my boys enjoy spending time with their cousins.
Let’s be honest. I am the fourth person in our little family of four that anyone in my larger family wants to see—yes, they would rather see my wife than me. The reason? I guess like most people, when I go back home, all of us act like we did when we all last lived together—when I was in high school.
I hated high school.
This year was different, however. My wife did not come with us—she claimed that she had to work, which is an assertion that I never challenge since, well, she is a pediatric oncologist and there is no way that I would ever win that argument.
It was also different since I had a bunch of wine waiting there for me—Kendall-Jackson wanted to send me a few wines from their portfolio and since they could not send them to my home in Pennsylvania (I will not jump on that soapbox again right now), they sent it to my mother’s house in Michigan.
So thanks to Kendall-Jackson Wines for sending these wines for me to sample with my family—I was only going to be there for three days, so seven bottles seemed like it might be enough (one of the tasting notes will be published in another article).
2012 Cambria Katherine’s Chardonnay: Retail $22. Buttered popcorn on the nose with hints of lemon peel. Well rounded on the palate: round and buttery while maintaining a vibrant acidity. The good times last all the way through the memorable finish–Very Good, maybe more. 88-90 Points.
2012 Edmeades Zinfandel Shamrock Vineyard: Retail $31. I opened this the day after Thanksgiving, which might be a better “holiday” than Thursday since there are leftovers and football, but not all the people. This wine was a step up from the Murphy-Goode as the fruit is balanced with the spice. Not only is this Outstanding now, but this will continue to get better, particularly over the next few years. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2012 Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands Chardonnay: Retail $35. After a few wines on Thanksgiving that were a bit regrettable (I thought opening the 5-year old 2-Buck Chuck was a good idea), this was a decided step up from the previous. The Eagles were about to start and I needed some solid wine. The oak is there, but not dominate in any way. Good acidity and fruit–a wine that my sister-in-law gave a couple of thumbs up. Who am I to argue with her? Very Good to Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2012 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Pinot Noir: Retail $26. Our last wine of the evening (or at least the last one I opened before everyone left). A bit of black cherry Kool-aid in the glass and a touch of earth in the mouth. While this is not ethereal, it is certainly a solid Pinot. K-J is doing a very nice job with their upper end these days…. Very Good to Outstanding. 88-90 Points.
2012 La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: Retail $30. I was home visiting the family and I could not wait to pop this one. Sure, it was not even 2:00, but, well, did I mention I was visiting my family? Nice berry notes with a bit of allspice led to juicy red fruit and some earth on the palate. It was a nice diversion from the cousins rolling around on the floor kicking each other in the head. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2011 Murphy-Goode Zinfandel Liar’s Dice: Retail $20. I broke this out with the family when my sister was looking for something sweet. By no means is this sweet, but I got my sister to at least try it when she heard “Zinfandel” (there is no doubt in my mind that she associates “Zinfandel” with that pink, sweet stuff). Very fruity on the nose, the palate, and through to the finish, but there is also a bit of depth. A decent selection for the Thanksgiving table. Good to Very Good. 86-88 Points.