2004 Domaine Henri Bourgeois, Grande Reserve, Sancerre ($20)
Light yellow and straw green. Crisp and lithe with ample acidity and citrus taste. A nice and light aperitif to warm up the appetite.
2004 Turley Old Vines Zinfandel, California ($30)
Deep, dark ruby. The nose is very shy and subdued, which is unexpected for the usually upfront style that is Turley. In the mouth, however, it exploded with raspberry, cherry, coffee, and chocolate. A very ripe and high-octane wine (15.5% alcohol), which shows its hotness in the back of the throat. Any wine that is hot in the back is out of balance. Not the best showing of Turley Old Vines compared with the last 4 vintages (including the '04), though it still managed to be an intriguing wine at the table.
2005 Jacob's Creek Merlot, Australia
Tart and jammy. That's all I could remember. Had a few sips and gave up.
The next day, Sunday, we had a BBQ picnic with 10 of our best friends and their kids at the Will Rogers Park on Sunset Boulevard (nearby UCLA). The weather fortunately cooperated and gave us the whole afternoon of sunshine and low wind. It was a good day, overall. As usual, we hid the beer bottles from the authorities (not that they were around, but just in case) in our ice box and we drank from plastic cups.
Towards late afternoon, when the temperature began to drop, I took out 6 gaiwans, my Bodum glass teapot, and the jasmine tea balls that my cousin sent me from Shanghai. Everyone loved the tea, especially the ladies! There is something good to be said about enjoying tea in the great outdoors with friends and loved ones.
[Front: 2 jasmine tea balls in full bloom, Underberg: a spicy tasting German herbal liquor that my friend brought back from Germany. Back: My bro-in-law with my nephew, Anton, and behind him are our friend and her baby girl. Merely 2 years ago, our crowd clubbed and bar hopped until the wee hours...but not anymore]
Note to guys: impress your lady friends and girlfriends with jasmine tea balls in a large transparent pot. A vessel that fully shows the leaves and the flowers bloom is best.