It's been a fun Christmas Eve... I started off the day with some of the Sam Adams Winter Lager at lunch. Great spice, and substantial enough to be an ale. Probably one of the darkest lagers I've ever had.
Then it was off to the parents' abode to spend a bit of quality family time. Along with some gifts I'd brought along a wedge of Cranberry Wensleydale. I first glimpsed this cheese at a local shop back around Thanksgiving... Sold in one pound wedges, it had an attractive burgundy wax rind, creamy white flesh and a generous dotting of cranberries throughout. I lusted after that cheese, but never got around to buying it... A few days ago, I picked up a wedge and have spent the intervening time resisting the urge to consume it myself. Fortunately, the wait was worth it. This was an amazing cheese. Almost like cream cheese in consistency, tart and slightly sweet, and with a great richness.
We had the cheese along with some smoked salmon and the 2003 Jacob's Creek Cabernet Merlot, a good fruit-forward, medium tannic offering from Australia. I'd give it a little more time, but I was more focused on swapping stories and spending time with family.
Later in the afternoon, some neighbors dropped by to visit, exchange gifts, and play with my parents' spoiled Yellow Labrador, who happens to be the mother of my goofy Chocolate Lab. With several men present, Dad decided it was a great time to break out the 12 Year Old Macallan Single Malt Scotch. Dad and the neighbor preferred theirs with water and ice, but I just took a healthy splash neat. I'm not the biggest fan of Scotch, but if I sip it slowly over time it grows on me. This had a pungent, almost fishy aroma, but more time spent with it revealed deeper and more elegant qualities.