Monday, April 25, 2011

Not Even A Canucks Bonnet Can Do The Trick!

Boo and I grabbed a last coffee for our stint in Seattle and then we had to make a bee-line for the border since we had to get back to the True North Strong and Free for the family Easter dinner at my sister's and, perhaps more importantly, Game 6 of the Canucks-Blackhawks playoff series.

Colour me sacrilegious but I'm having a hard time getting over how our Canucks were leading the Blackhawks three games to none and, here it is Easter Sunday, and the Hawks seem to have risen from the dead to win today's game - 4-3 in overtime none-the-less - and tie the best-of-7 series at three games a piece. The next - and final game - is going to see one of these teams' hopes for the season crucified.

But, with no spoiler alert, that little intro rather gives away the ending of this post - at least as far as the hockey goes. I guess I'll just have to carry on with a bit of wine (instead of whining about the hockey scores) and showcase what really mattered to many of today's dinner guests - the creations from this year's annual Easter Bonnet Parade.

783. 2007 Domaine de Chaberton Syrah (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Luckily, the hockey game hadn't started yet when Boo and I arrived at Vixen's. Consequently, we didn't immediately open the wines I brought from Red Rooster, the BC winery matched up to this playoff's series. Rather, we started with a bottle that Elzee brought along - a little something to get the juices flowing as we started to work on this year's Easter Bonnet creations.

This is the first wine I'm adding to The List from the actual Domaine de Chaberton label. (A private label wine produced by the winery was added at #596.) So, I was a little surprised to find out that Domaine de Chaberton is one of the oldest and largest estate winery producers in the province - putting out over 50,000 cases nowadays. I was also a bit intrigued by the fact that the first wine we were trying was a Syrah.

Domaine de Chaberton and their estate vineyard is located in the South of Langley in the Fraser Valley - about 45 minutes out of Vancouver. The winery claims to benefit from a slightly warmer micro-climate than the rest of the region. Micro-climate or not, the Fraser Valley is not known to be able to ripen Syrah or Shiraz grapes. Indeed, even the winery has primarily been known for its cool climate varietals, mostly white and often unknown - like its signature grape Bacchus. Because the winery found that its general portfolio was somewhat out of sync with the tastes of the buying public, they made some connections with growers in the Okanagan and have sourced grapes, like these, to put out some bigger reds.

I think, once the hockey season is over - and, hopefully, once some semblance of Spring or Summer arrives - I might need to schedule a visit to the Valley to check out the winery and see what it's up to. There's obviously more going on than I ever knew about.

Creative juices flowing or not, I figured I'd stick with the hockey playoffs theme for my bonnet. You can't really tell by the photo but, together with the "Go Canucks Go" hockey stick, there is a small-scale game going on between two teams of marshmallow peeps - the Bluechicks and the Golden Bunnies. I was rather hoping that both the Bluechicks and the Blackhawks would get eaten alive in their respective games - but it was a case of "if wishes were horses..."

Other notable bonnets this year included Stargirl's hommage to Will and Kate's upcoming wedding, Boo's ocean adventure, Vixen's feather extravaganza and Skeletor's rock chicks concert.

Having made her debut and wowing the masses at last year's Easter Bonnet Parade, Elzee was asked to join us again. Having to equal or out-do her floppy bunny bonnet from last year, she opted for a big, old chocolate Easter egg as her centrepoint for this year. That way, if the gang didn't go ga-ga for the hat, at least everyone could have a bit of a tasty treat.

784. 2009 Red Rooster Bantam (VQA Okanagan Valley)

785. 2007 Red Rooster Reserve Merlot (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Boo and I brought along a couple of different Red Rooster wines for the crowd. I think think three different vintages of the Bantam - the winery's easy drinking white blend - have already been added to The List. If this is really the fourth vintage of this wine, it has to be up there as one of the most tasted wines on this Odyssey. I usually bring out the Bantam as a patio sipper, but it seemed a good fit for a crowd that doesn't necessarily drink a lot of wine.

This is the first Reserve Merlot to be added to The List however. We opened a bottle of the regular label Merlot for Game 2 of this series and the Canucks won that game; so I was kind of hoping that bringing out an even bigger gun might help pull out a win. The result on the ice may have not met up with our expectations, but the wine in the glass sure did. At $30, this is one of the most expensive wines that winemaker, Karen Gillis, and team produce. I can see - and taste - why. This is definitely one of my favourite wines that I've tried from the winery.

The 2008 vintage is the bottle currently available; so, I didn't see any wine notes for the 2007 on the winery website. I did, however, see a one line snippet of a cached page on a Google search and it said that there was 5% Malbec added to this 2007 vintage. If it was the Malbec from the vineyard just outside the winery tasting room, that might explain the great appeal. The row of "Malbec" that Boo and I "adopted" at Red Rooster may have contributed to this wine. Having a little bit of "us" in the bottle, it's no wonder the bottle was as good as it was. I'll have to see if we have any more of this wine at home. I hope so, but we went through three bottles of it during dinner. Perhaps the additional stress of the overtime period just required a continual filling of our glasses.

As a final note to the Easter Bonnet Parade, it's become such a little event in our calendars that folks spend a whole lot of time coming up with some rather inventive bonnets. And, then, there are those that think completely outside the box. Two years ago, Big Rod tapped into a new market with his Easter brassiere. Not wanting to abandon his love of all things Victoria's Secret, this year we were treated to his take on the Easter thong. Despite calls for a full modelling of his carrot-ed extravaganza, a full runway show, sans jeans, was not to be coaxed out of him.

In retrospect, that may have been a good thing. Some creativeness is best left untapped.

Despite the game's outcome, a fun time was had by all. These Canuck losses are fraying my nerves however... you'd best pass me another glass of wine.

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