My 60th and 7 year old Chateauneuf du Pape

Today was my 60th birthday. I did not do anything special during the day. I did not want a large party. We just had my son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren over for dinner. I also spoke to my oldest son and grandchildren who live in London England. I opened a 1998 Magnum (1.5 litres) of?? Chateauneuf du Pape wine, which had been given to me in France by my friend Patrick Gay some 5 or more years ago. Patrick, a retired Chief Executive of a major French company was recently honoured by Jacques Chirac for his wonderful charitable work in building schools in Madagascar.

With this wine I decided to do more than just drink it. I decanted it a few hours before dinner. I swilled the wine in a proper wine glass and spent a lot of time smelling it and detecting the different aromas before tasting it. I made sure that my wife, son and daughter in law did the same. It was worth it.

My wife Carmen spent a good part of the day preparing our delicious meal. We started with a great favourite, gravad lax or salmon marinated in sugar and salt with dill. Carmen had been to Costco to buy their excellent steaks, the best in Vancouver. She also bought some wonderfully sweet tomatoes which she roasted with tarragon, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and I do not know what else, but they were awesome. We had a wonderful salad and some scalloped potatoes to round out the main course. She also made a tapenade of chopped olives, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese and anchovies as a snack to keep us busy while she finished up the last minute preparations. For desert she made a great tarte tatin or upside down French apple pie which we had with ice cream. I had a little grappa to finish it all off.

It is not your 60th birthday every day. I also got out of doing the dishes because it was my birthday. Tomorrow it is Canadian thanksgiving and we are over at my son and daughter in law???s place. The feast goes on.

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