I had a great surprise this Christmas.
But it wasn’t the beautiful red sweater and burgundy lace top from my mom, Leota. Nor was it the funky kitchen scale from my brother, Grant. It also wasn’t the set of candles from my stepson, Kevin, or the multiple-roll toilet-paper holder from my husband Ken. (We joked that our romance must be dead, because I gave him a can opener and a big saucepan. Nothing says love like bathroom and kitchen accessories! But this is also a man who gave me a garburator one year, and gave his mother, Edna, a chainsaw. However, we both, she and I, wanted these particular items, so really, he remembered what we asked for and followed through, which, in itself, is a great present.
As I continue to digress here, I must also, to redeem him, tell you he’s gifted me with fabulous jewellery over the years. I’ve just put a moratorium on such lavish presents, not because I don’t love them, but because I have so much of it now — the good stuff — and almost all of it came from him. He’s given me gold over our more than three decades together, and now, as we reach our golden years, we’re becoming much more practical).
My surprise this festive season also wasn’t the beautiful gifts of scarves and my favourite Champagne — Veuve Clicquot — from caring colleagues who I love dearly and am so proud to call my friends. Although they needn’t have been so extravagant, I’m grateful for their generosity and the fact that they know me and my tastes so well. We’re a tight bunch and I’m thankful every day for their presence in my life.
So what, you may be thinking, could have possibly been such a stunning surprise that I’ve dedicated this entire column to it?
Well, it had to do with wine. But even more so, it had to do with the point being driven home, once again, that I shouldn’t be closed minded, I shouldn’t judge a bottle by its cover (so to speak), and that sometimes the best gifts a person can get arrive when they’re least expected.
After spending Christmas Eve at our place — my mom, my brother, my stepson, my almost-daughter Erin, my husband and I (Erin and I dashed off at close to 11 to hear her real mother, harpist extraordinaire Ann Germani, perform her annual seasonal gig at St. Matthew’s Cathedral) — we spent Christmas Day — well, the latter part of the afternoon and the evening — at my mom’s place. And while we opened gifts after supper, which has become our tradition now that we’re all grown up, my surprise came to me during happy hour.
I’d been gifted with a bottle of wine, the 2012 Mozelle Riesling, named after the famous Mosel region in Germany. And to put it bluntly, Riesling is not usually my favourite. I mean, I like dry Rieslings, but not the sweet ones. And this one billed itself as medium sweet, which I figured would still be way too sweet for me.
So while I always welcome a taste of any wine anyone will let me try at a get-together, I took this particular wine to our Christmas Day festivities because my mom likes Rieslings, especially sweet ones, and I wanted it not to go to waste just because I only wanted a small bit to try and potentially write about.
When I said, "Mom, I brought a wine I want you to try," my husband said he’d like a glass, too. I was a bit surprised by that, but as he reminded me, he doesn’t mind sweet wine, and again, this one was supposed to be medium sweet.
And it was! I even had a small glass myself, and that never happens. However, this was not crazily sweet. But it was crazy good! Bursting with fruit flavors ranging from lemon and green apple to apricot, I really, really liked it. I have a salad I make with a sweet dressing that’s tough to pair wine with, and a friend, when she came for dinner one night, brought a splendid wine, the Balthasar Ress 2009 Rheingau Riesling Spatlese (it sells for $21.65), which worked brilliantly with that salad. But now I’m dying to try the Mozelle Riesling with it, too. I think it’ll work just as well — at least I’m hoping it will — and if so, I’ll be extra delighted, because the Mozelle sells for $13.05 and is in a beautiful bright blue bottle, which I’ll keep afterward because I’m really into blue containers!
For those who like sweet wine, the Mozelle is an absolute treat. Its medium degree of sweetness allows it to be enjoyed without food, but also without it being cloying. It’s a great little wine that I’m sure the ‘sweet’hearts in your life will enjoy. I know mine did.
And truth be told, so did I!
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 4, 2014