Sunday, February 27, 2011

A White Carpet for the Oscars

So what's all this talk about "red carpets" on Oscar night? It's time for the annual movie fest and we're having a heckuva snow day in Vancouver. The only "carpet" leading up to our front door is white and, like that old shag carpet my folks had back in the 70's, it's not exactly welcome.

Don't get me wrong. I love a snow day as much as the next guy. I mean we live in the Great White North, but clearing the sidewalk is a bugger. Luckily for me, Boo took on the task this morning. In what must have been preparation for the Oscars, last night's dump did result in the sighting of a number of celebrity snowmen in the neighbourhood. After the sidewalk was cleared, we took a bit of tour of our winter wonderland and made like paparazzi with some of Frosty's buddies.

With the Oscars only hours away, it seemed like an appropriate occasion to break out a bit of bubbly and have a sip with some of our new neighbours.

743. N.V. J Cuvee 20 Brut (Russian River - California)

This bottle was hanging around from the "2010 Costco Collection." I haven't seen it available on our side of the 49th Parallel, but I picked it up while at the Bellingham Costco last year. I wasn't sure of what to expect but the packaging stood out and you can always add orange juice to a not-so-good bubble. No need to worry about that on this occasion though. The wine had a great bead (of bubbles) and was full of classic toasty notes and creamy fruit notes.

J is the name of the winery and the Cuvee 20 was introduced a couple of years back in celebration of the winery's 20 years of operation in the Russian River area. The wine is made in the classic methode champenoise and is a blend of the classic Champagne varietals - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.

Although Californian wine country may not see much of the white stuff that we saw today, J's vineyards in the Russian River valley have some site specific cool climate conditions. The cooling pacific fogs that flow up the valley through the growing season help allow the grapes to retain the acidity needed to make sparkling wines.

We weren't exactly cooling the wine in the snow outside, but at least our new friends weren't hogging all the wine.

744. 2009 Marcus James Merlot (Mendoza - Argentina)

Once we'd settled in from the snow to watch the real red carpet and this year's "oh so blah" Oscar presentation, we didn't stick to big name Hollywood style wine. Rather, we just carried on with the Argentine theme from the Wine Boyz the other night. Marcus James is one of the mass market Argentines that have excelled in our market. Indeed, it's one of the top 15 wine brands exported from Argentina in both value and volume.

I still don't generally think of varietal Merlot when it comes to Mendoza - and this wine isn't likely going to be the one that turns my head - but there aren't many wines in our market that come in for under $10. So, it doesn't surprise me in the least that there's a lot of it sold here.

It would have been interesting to see how it fared in that blind tasting the other night. It's easy to reach conclusions when you know what you're drinking, but it's something altogether different when you don't.

I think the J Cuvee won the Oscar for the better wine of the night though.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

    Shag Carpet