The dream of every Jew…

The dream of every Jew (at least this one)? To write Christmas music, of course!

Every since I was a child, I’ve dreamed of writing Christmas music… just like one of my idols, Irving Berlin, who wrote “White Christmas” and “Happy Holiday,” among others…

And so when we “went into the studio” this year to make Nous Non Plus’s new album, Freudian Slip (Aeronaut 2011), we also recorded some holiday music.

The A-side of our new self-released single, “Holiday,” was inspired by and written for Tracie P (every day with you is a holiday…)…

The B-side is a song inspired by our troops, “(General, Please) Keep My Baby Safe This Christmas Eve”: it’s an anti-war song, sung from the point-of-view of a soldier’s wife or mother… Céline did an awesome job with the video… And the song features an heart-wrenching guitar solo by our friend David Garza, one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever had the chance to work with…

The single is only available on CD (no digital release) and costs $5 (including shipping).

For every CD shipped, Nous Non Plus will donate $1 to Operation Homefront, providing “emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members.”

Even if you don’t want a CD, please consider Operation Homefront (based in San Diego, California, and San Antonio, Texas) for your charitable giving this year…

To order a copy of the disk, please send me an email by clicking here (or leave a comment in the comment section below).

Tracie P and I LOVE Christmas music (Karen Carpenter, anyone?) and we have a strict rule at our house: NO Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving… and then LET THOSE BELLS RING! :)

Happy Holidays, yall! And thanks for listening…

06 Barolo Ravera by Cogno INSANE! (06: so far so good)

For our Christmas day meal in Orange, Texas (at sister and brother Misty and Ricky’s house), we opened this bottle of 2006 Barolo Ravera by Cogno (sent to us by winemaker Valter Fissore).

While I’ve tasted a lot of 2006 Barbaresco at this point, this was one of the first expressions of 06 Barolo that I got to spend some time with. The more and more 06 I taste, the more I’m convinced that this is going to be a fantastic vintage for Langa wines, despite the controversy stirred in 2008 when B. Giacosa decided not to bottle his 2006).

06 may not be as great as 01 and 04, but it’s an indisputably balanced, classic vintage, where people who make and made honest wine are going to be rewarded for their faith and integrity.

I was stunned by how good Valter’s 05 Ravera was: beautiful nose, bright acidity, and a great balance of earth and fruit. Chapeau bas, Valter!

The other star of the Christmas day meal was this 2004 Vinsanto by Boutari, also sent to me as a sample (for the Boutari Social Media Project, which continues in 2011). At a youthful 6 years out, this wine showed the depth and complexity that the appellation in known for, with a gorgeous balance of candied white stone fruit and saltiness. The Assyrtiko grape and its unique expressions, whether vinified as a dry or dried-grape wine, continue to fascinate me and the Boutari Vinsanto is one of my favorites (for the record, it’s actually a blend of Assyrtiko and Aidani, which imparts a wonderful aromatic character to this wine). Tracie P and I have been blown away by how well new oak and small cask aging works with Assyrtiko and in this case, the wood gives a nutty counterpart to the fruit and salt (the label reports that the wine was bottled in 2008, leading me to believe that it spent nearly 4 years in wood). I also love how this wine clocks in with a judicious 12% alcohol, remarkable for the dried-grape category but in line with overarching attitudes among Greek winemakers. Great stuff…

Xmas eve gumbo and Prosecco

Took a week-long break from work and blogging over the Xmas-NYE holiday but now I’m back! Where do I begin… to tell the story of how great a love can be? Buon 2011 ya’ll!

Uncle Tim’s Christmas eve gumbo, made with his housemade deer sausage. Note how the potato salad is served in the gumbo. That gumbo alone was worth the 4.5 hour drive through the heavy rains that fell that night on Hwy 290 and I-10. A delicious reward at the end of a white-knuckle road!

Tracie P and I had been saving a flight of Adami Prosecco (sent to us as samples) just for the occasion. Great pairing and a super fun Christmas eve in Orange in East Texas, on the Louisiana border.