Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nooks & Grannies

As I continue to get longer in the tooth (hence the "Granny" bit in the title), I may not need or enjoy nearly as much attention as I might have in years past when birthdays come around. Nowadays, I'm just as happy to get a little pampering at home and leave it at that. Boo isn't one to let me easily forget that I'll always be older than him, but to do that, he has to make up for the ribbing.

Since that "big" day was on the doorstop yet again, Boo decided to take me out for dinner to Nook, a little restaurant in Vancouver's West End that a number of our friends had been saying good things about. Nook doesn't take reservations, but we were very lucky with our timing. The line up was full of threes, fours and larger parties. but there just happened to be a table for two available. Basic Italian fare, it was a great little choice. Naturally, our wine was Italian as well.

765. 2006 Tenuta Lodola Nuova - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (DOCG Vino Nobile di Montepulciano - Italy)

I didn't recognize many of the wines on Nook's list but I've enjoyed Vino Nobile di Montepulciano before - not to mention I just love the way that the name runs off the tongue. I thought this one sounded as good as any. When the bottle arrived, I saw that it was part of the Ruffino family - one of the most important wine companies in Italy. I don't know much about the Ruffino of today, but the first thing about them that will always come to my mind is university days, their Chianti and the old straw wrapped "fiasco" bottles it arrived in. How many of us used those bottles as candle holders way back when?

Tenuta Lodola Nuova is one of seven estates (and brands) that Ruffino now has in Tuscany. Its vineyards are mostly planted with a Sangiovese clone, Prugnolo Gentile, that is used particularly for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This wine is 95% Sangiovese and is finished off with 5% Cab Sauv - the use of the international varietal is something that has become more common since the success of the Super Tuscans in foreign markets.

It was perhaps a bit bolder than expected but that was no problem. I can work with big. But the best part about the bottle was that the waitress came over to our table and asked "Is one of you named Bob and is it your birthday?" Thinking that they wanted to bring some silly cake with a candle in it, I said "No," but Boo set her right. Good thing he did because, earlier in the day, I'd mentioned that we were going out for dinner and The Boss had called to arrange to buy a bottle for us.

If I'd known that in advance, I'd have asked to look at a reserve wine from the secret list. It was a perfect little treat though - and, since we'd saved the price of the wine, I called up Mr. D. to meet us for a cocktail over by his place and I made Boo treat us. Those cocktails - a Pink Brazilian and a Pretty Boy - were pretty hard to take though. Good thing the bartenders provided a good dose of eye candy. Otherwise, that would have been a good waste of an hour.

What we hadn't expected was that Lady Di would call up and urge us to join them at their place for cake and wine.

766. 2008 Bonny Doon - Le Cigare Blanc (Central Coast - California)

This was an interesting wine that Lady Di pulled out. I know that Bonny Doon is known as being front and foremost among California's Rhone Rangers. Le Cigare Blanc is a blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, two white Rhone varietals that aren't seen too much as varietal wines in the Vancouver market. In the Rhone, this would be marketed as a white Chateauneuf -du-Pape. How appropriate for this little b-day - around our house, (thanks to my sis) these wines are known as Chateauneuf-du-Poof, although they're usually the red ones.

Little did she know, but Lady Di gave me another present as well - another varietal to add to my Wine Century Club application. I haven't added Grenache Blanc before now. Yippee and happy birthday to me!

As far as birthday cakes go, this was a keeper, strawberry shortcake - but this was, naturally, a high end version because that's how the Lady and She Who Must Be Obeyed work their magic.

I can't believe that I wasn't taking pictures of everyone (especially the bartenders) through the night. Hence, I don't have any shots to add of the evening. I suppose my mind is just slipping somewhat at this advanced age. Good thing I at least remembered to take shots of the wine.

All in all, a great night. I might even be willing to do it again next year.

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