• The sunlight streamed in through the window laying across Jeff’s desk.  It was another boring Thursday.  Of course nearly any school day was boring as far as Jeff was concerned.  The pen he was holding cast a shadow on his Algebra book which drew his attention away from Mr. Brobeck, his Algebra teacher.  He was probably the least favorite of all his teachers at Marscott High School and not just because he was the ugliest, which he most certainly was.  Jeff would often describe Mr. Brobeck to other people, and he always started with, “He could curdle milk.”  He would then go on to describe his huge floppy ears and how he must be a century old with as many wrinkles as he has.  His nose was extra wide and looked fake like someone stuck it on his face to cover up some hideous disfigurement, but Jeff couldn’t imagine what could have been worse than the nose so he dismissed the idea.  Mr. Brobeck’s hair was only existent on the sides except he didn’t like that so he would comb a few strands of hair from one side to the other hoping nobody would notice that he was actually bald on top or perhaps he thought that it was a new hair style, either way Jeff thought about finding a toupee and leaving it on is desk as a joke.

    Jeff’s thoughts left the lecture on Algebra to the movement of his pen’s dancing shadow.  Jeff always seemed to have trouble concentrating in Algebra.  In fact, he has a difficult time focusing in all his classes except art, and the only reason he pays attention in art is because of Miss Stine.  She would be enough to distract Jeff from his note taking or working in class, but he continually wants to impress her because if he does she walks over, places her hand on his shoulder and says,“Wow Jeff, that’s very good.”  Those five words are enough to keep a smile on Jeff’s face for the rest of the day.  Its not that she’s beautiful, although she most definitely is and of course that has something to do with his devotion to her, but its more than that.  She has a soft and wonderful personality.  She seems to care genuinely about everything and everyone, and that makes Jeff want to please her.  However when he’s in Mr. Brobeck’s class he can only daydream about Miss Stine and her smile.

    “Jeff!  Can you tell me what the Pythagorean Theorem is?”  Mr. Brobeck asked, rudely awakening Jeff from his drifting imagination.

    “Huh?”  Jeff responded once he realized he was being asked a question.

    “The Pythagorean Theorem.  What is it?”  Mr. Brobeck asked a second time with a haughty attitude knowing that he had caught Jeff at a disadvantage and wanting to make a point of his not paying attention to the rest of the class.

    Jeff smiled once he heard the question.  “A squared plus B squared equals C squared”  He responded as if it was common knowledge, but the only reason that he knew the answer to the question was because he happened to have heard that part of the lecture and thought how dumb it sounded.  As easy as ABC was what went through his mind when he first heard it and then again when he smiled at his now somewhat deflated teacher.  After Jeff replied so smugly a slight murmur of a chuckle left the mouths of his fellow classmates only upsetting the teacher more.  Jeff realized that by answering the question correctly and with such a devil-may-care attitude that Mr. Brobeck would view it as an act of rebellion in his little fief, but Jeff didn’t mind being the rogue knight rescuing his people from the oppression that the evil overlord was imposing upon them.  Jeff could never be accused of lacking in imagination which was a trait that seemed to be on the teachers’ list of negative characteristics in a student.

    What does Jeff have to do with wine you might ask..
    Absolutely nothing is my response. He’s not even 21.
    However I do enjoy the holidays and wine consumption during said holidays. The time is nigh for some eggnog and pie. I also encourage you to use Christmas and New Years as an excuse to imbibe. As if you needed one.
    I was prompted earlier today for a good tapas plate for a party, and although tapas are small Spanish plates of food they have a wine related origin.
    At sherry bars in Spain the patrons would use a piece of bread or meat to cover their sherry between sips (tapas is derived from the Spanish word tapar meaning to cover.) The covering was to keep out fruit flys, but led to the beginning of small bites to go with their fortified wine.
    I thought of a nice simple tapas. Thin slices of baguette, thin slice of serrano ham, slice of manchego cheese and a round of seared Spanish chorizo, not to be confused with Mexican chorizo (whole different ballgame.) Stack the four pieces together like a tiny open faced sandwich, and serve.
    These can be made for any party and are delicious. With these sumptuous treats I recommend a bottle or three of Tempranillo blends.
    2011 Fournier ‘Urban Uco’ 50% Tempranillo and 50% Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina
    Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave it 91 points and had this to say about it..
    The 2011 Urban Uco is a blend of 50% Tempranillo and 50% Malbec that spent 3 months in oak. Deep purple in color, with an inviting bouquet of smoke, blackberry, and blueberry, on the palate it is loaded with flavor, depth, and length. This stunning overachiever may be the finest value in my Argentina tastings. Buy it by the case.
    K&L Wines has it available for purchase online at $9.99!
    Another wine that is 100% Tempranillo is
    2011 Bodegas Riojanas ‘Canchales’ Joven Rioja
    This wine is done in the style of a Beaujolais Nouveau so it’s whole clusters of grapes in vats using a carbonic maceration technique. Typically grapes are crushed and the juice goes through an extracellular fermentation. With this method, the grapes are mostly fermented intracellular giving it a fresh drink now bright easy going happy wine. At $9.99 it aims to please.
    One last wine I want to throw at you is comes in at $14.99..
    2010 Teso La Monja ‘Romanico’ Toro
    Robert Parker gave it 92 points
    The 2010 Romanico (100% Tinta de Toro aged in 100% new French oak for six months) exhibits a sensational bouquet of licorice, unsmoked cigar tobacco, blackberries and cassis. Full-bodied, smoky, rich, complex, big and dense without being heavy or awkward, this beauty will drink well for 5-7 years. These are two extraordinary wines produced by the Eguren family in the province of Zamora in Toro. Readers who love full-flavored, robust, exuberant red wines will adore these two 2010s.
    With a little bit of a Spanish flair you can warm up that party with good wine and good food. I think you should even have a tapas party yourself.