December 9, 2006
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o thine,
We’ll tak a right guid-willie waught . . .
(And there’s a hand, my trusted friend,
And give us a hand of yours,
We’ll take a right good drink together . . .)
— “Auld Lang Syne,” traditional Scots song
adapted by Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796)
Although I abhor drunkenness and cutsie-poo references to one’s experience of consuming huge quantities of alcohol, I have nothing against drinking. I just don’t drink much myself, mostly because I don’t get around to it. I don’t like beer, and I am not often in settings where mixed drinks are readily available. A small amount (say, two whiskey sours or an aperitif or after-dinner brandy) can make me sleepy or even slightly stupid.
I do most of my drinking at this time of year. And I do most of that at home, after I finish the day’s occupations and settle down for a Ten O’Clock Drama. I favor a white wine cut maybe half and half with ginger ale. And the white wine of choice is Holiday White by Nissley Vineyards of Bainbridge, Pennsylvania.
This particular wine is available only in November and December. I first knew it from a gift bottle one of my guests brought to my Open House Extravaganza. I liked it so much that I went to one of Nissley’s tiny mall outlets to buy more. (This wine is available only at the vineyard store and four other small shops in the area.) But by then it was January, and there was no more Holiday White. Since then I have stockpiled it, buying a dozen or so bottles during the season, and making it last all year. (Whisper White, the variety a wine-shop clerk said would be the closest alternative available all year, is very good, but it’s not the same.)
Currently there are three bottles of Nissley Wine in my refrigerator. The following will serve as a guide to their availability for consumption by residents, guests, and other individuals who might wander into my kitchen in search of a refreshing beverage:
Classic White — a perky, semi-dry white wine with a hint of licorice. I bought it to use a small quantity in my first attempt at sfratti (an Italian honey and walnut paste wrapped in a thick sweet dough). It’s very good. Help yourself.
Country Cherry — a sweet wine with a mild cherry aroma and flavor. Also very good. Ask if you would like some of that.
Holiday White — a semi-sweet wine so prized by me that you will be required to fill out an application (which asks for a 250-word essay and two letters of reference) which I will read and use to determine if you are Holiday White Worthy.
Don’t count on it.
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