R and N were in town, friends that we wanted to meet and that wanted to meet us. The plan was for J, brother Eric and I to swing by right after work, around 5:30, for drinks. For an hour or so, so the original 6-some of the friends and children could eat dinner.
The best laid plans...
We only stayed for 2 hours, which in the scheme of things doesn't sound like much. But those two hours, surrounded by friends, children, great wine and beer, were the stuff summer nights are made of in our neck of the woods. It's the reason most of us live here, aside from the desire to get snowed in during the winter months, the proximity to Chicago, the lake, and the produce.
I showed up with a bottle of my sure to be favorite summer wine, the Paul Zinck Alsatian Pinot Blanc. (Incidentally, I'm also in love with the Pinot Noir. But that's for another time.) They had the Simi Chardonnay (a personal favorite) and some delicious Riesling open. (N: if you remember the name, post it in the comments, please!) The cooler of beer from the non-baby shower was still mostly full of New Holland Golden Cap, Harpoon Saison Royale and others.
Sitting outside, surrounded by vineyards, with kids playing in the background, bringing toads for me to pet, it was a gorgeous, exciting entry into summer. Eventually R brought out a phenomenal cheese plate with a triple creme French cheese that I basically lopped up with every cracker on the plate! There was laughter, there was business talk, there was a really lengthy discussion about Twitter that I'm fairly certain I owe someone a dollar for.
It was one of those early evening experiences that make you realize life is not only good, but life is great. That all you really need is a great bottle of wine, some incredibly fattening cheese, and the company of wonderful and fascinating friends to make an evening.
One I'm very much looking forward to repeating again and again all summer long, in one backyard or another.