Saturday evening was the finale of our town's week long "Small Town Days" celebration. The morning began with a parade and fun-run, an art and quilt show, an afternoon rodeo, culminating with a neighborhood party and real fireworks. It was very pleasant.
Chris, our two older boys and I watched the fireworks from our backyard. I'm not a photographer, so forgive these images. It was pretty. You had to be there...
Chris' parents live in Colorado and have many neat, interesting friends. One of them is a man we call Joe Merlot. He makes wine. Chokecherry, plum, merlot, and even dandelion wine.
I tasted dandelion wine for the first time five years ago. I was spending the afternoon with my father-in-law at a semi-regular meeting of retired guys (long story) that they called "The Garden Party". I can't express what a fun afternoon this was. There were three friends in the group. They alternated hosting which entailed serving lunch and beverages. The men engaged in light conversation and adjourned late afternoon after a sip of Scotch. I was referred to as "the guest speaker" the day I was included.
Joe Merlot was one of The Garden Party members and he fascinated me with his wine making stories, particularly how involved it is to make dandelion wine. He had recruited his friends many times to harvest dandelions which is very labor intensive because, I was told, it's important to pick only dandelion petals and avoid the green, bitter stems or leaves.
My father-in-law was hosting and happened to have a bottle of Joe Merlot's dandelion wine. Lucky me - he opened it for us to share. Sipping dandelion wine is cool, simply because you're sipping dandelion wine. This bottle tasted a little like chardonnay, with the smokiness of a Scotch (I don't think my palette was influenced by my adjourning sip of Scotch - but possibly). I liked it.
Joe Merlot gave me a bottle of dandelion wine to take home to Utah after that trip five years ago. He sent a bottle with my father-in-law a year later, and last summer, one more bottle was sent with my father-in-law for us to share. I wish I lived closer to him so I could be his apprentice.
WHY do I tell you my dandelion wine story? Because the only thing that would have made the culmination of our "Small Town Days" more enjoyable, would have been if we were sippin' dandelion wine...