Jul 162010
 

My Messina Hof Winery Harvest Dinner

It was sure hot today in Houston. It seemed even hotter than the 108 F heat index since I was scurrying to get done what I needed to do before I caught the limo for Messina Hof and their Moonlit Harvest and Dinner.

Well, I made it to the pick up spot this afternoon by 3:30 pm, the intended departure time, along with a group of us Houston wine lovers. But, guess what? The limo wasn’t there. In fact, our limo driver showed up at the Messina Hof tasting room at 3:30 thinking that it was the pick up point instead of our destination. Go figure!

We were promised alternative transport. With every vehicle that showed up at the pickup spot that looked like it could hold a dozen or so people, our excitement peeked.  After nearly an hour of waiting, even FedEx and UPS trucks and a yellow cab looked inviting.

Nearly an hour and a half after the 3:30 departure time, and still no bus. Messina Hof’s marketing maven and trip organizer, Kim Padgett, was pacing and calling, and calling and pacing. Finally, with a very sad look on her face, she had to tell us that the outing was cancelled. Actually, as she explained, it was more like postponed. Kim, thanks for the valiant effort. Sometimes, stuff just happens. You have to roll with it or get covered with it. So, skin off my nose and I hope yours.

As I drove back to the house, I went past Central Market and it seemed like a voice said to me…”If you can’t go to the harvest dinner, make the harvest dinner come to you, Russ.” Central Market has a way of doing things like this to me as if there is some unearthly force living inside that place. I’ve always said, “I’d be a rich man today, if I didn’t live so close to that damn [but oh so, so good] place.”

So, I picked up the fixin’s and went home. My wife is out of town this week and I had my dog at a sleep over at my Mothers house with her dog. So, it was just our parrot, Paco and I to celebrate the start of the 2010 Texas wine grape harvest. Actually, he’s not a parrot, but a lean green (and red) flying machine, a Hahn’s Macaw.

The festivities for “My Messina Hof Harvest Dinner” were all in place. I popped the cork from a bottle of Messina Hof Pinot Noir, compliments of Kim. If you pardon the expression, I then cut the cheese, and a baguette, and made a toast to the new harvest. Then, I went outside of our downtown Houston town house, carefully placed a cluster to red table grapes in middle of our cactus garden, and proceeded to carefully simulate the harvesting of the grapes from the 2010 Texas vintage. This is the kind of thing that seems to confirm the neighbor’s suspicions about me, but its fun; good clean wine fun.

As the ceremony continued, I brought the ceremonial grape cluster inside the house and it was presented along with the bottle of Messina Hof Pinot Noir by Lucille. Lucille is no gourmet floozy that I picked up at Central Market. She’s our art deco nude statue that hoists a platter emblazoned with grapes and the likeness of none other than Bacchus himself. Spooky, isn’t it! It was almost like she was ready for this ceremony, before I knew what the ceremony was going to be.

What I needed now was some suitable music.

If you don’t have Pandora as an application on your iPhone, Blackberry or computer, you need to get it. It is like a modern day online version of those records that they used to sell on TV back in the 1960’s – Two thousand years of music by Franni and Techer on one album. Just name the song or artist and it’s there and all free. I punched in the theme, Traditional Italian Songs, and immediately it was if I was whisked to a Tuscan villa with a band of lute wielding cherubs as if they flew right off the old Messina Hof wine labels.

It was time for the first course. Paco and I shared some baguette and cheese and a little Messina Hof Pinot Noir while enjoying the heavenly music.  Unfortunately, he ended up pooping on my shoulder and I new that it was going to be bedtime for Paco, right quick. He just wasn’t going to be a good partner in my harvest celebration, unless that’s how parrots celebrate the new harvest.

After that little interlude, I moved on to the second course that consisted of a medley of tomatoes with an oregano vinaigrette made with Texas virgin olive oil. As if on queue, the music on Pandora turned to Boncelli just when I brought out the main course. The main course was a sausage medley (pork & black pepper, chicken and jalapeno, and chirizo) served with haricot vert and a small cluster of my harvested grapes all paired with Messina Hof Paulo Father and Son Cuvee.  Once the first Bocelli song was complete, Pandora cycled into perhaps one the most beautiful songs ever written. It was Amapolla sung by, of course, Bocelli. When he sings this song in Italian, it brings tears to my eyes. I bet that even “Paco pooped on my shoulder” in Italian and in Bocelli’s voice would sound as striking as the voices of angels overhead.

With My Messina Hof Harvest Dinner coming to an end, it was time for dessert. The Pandora music moved to Vivaldi and I returned from the kitchen with an open bottle of Messina Hof Paulo Port Limited Edition and a gold plate. On the plate were two scoops of vanilla ice cream, fresh fruit and chocolate sauce. Included in the fresh fruit were blueberries and, you probably guessed it, the grapes from my 2010 harvest.

As Bocelli’s voice returned on Pandora, I though, “Things just can’t get any better than this. I’m ready. Messina Hof Cherubs, it’s time to take me up to heaven to meet St. Peter at the pearly gates.”

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