Sunday, May 29, 2011

Inspiration & The Party At The Point

This Saturday was the University of BC Alumni Weekend and, perhaps for the first time since I graduated all those years ago, I decided to drag Boo out for a bit of visit. I'd really hoped to make the tour of the UBC Wine Library as it is described as "one of the most exclusive wine libraries in the world." The Wine Research Centre, in part, studies the aging of wines produced in BC. Unfortunately, by the time I tried to sign up, both tours were already full. Considering I tried on the first day after notice was sent out, those tours must have been among the very first events to "sell out."

As disappointing as that discovery was, I was pleased to be able to take in a tour of the UBC Farm. The Farm is one of those areas that I've known about for some time - especially since the Farm has hosted a farmer's market for the last couple of summers - but have never actually visited. I think my desire to visit was piqued even more when discussions were taking place to potentially convert the Farm into condos - like much of the surrounding university endowment lands. Although I'd never been to the site before, I knew that it was a unique part of the university.

It's next to impossible to take in everything that the Farm encompasses in only 45 minutes, but I was definitely intrigued by some of the projects taking place. A couple of those studies include the effective re-introduction of an increased native bee population and the interactive Urban Aboriginal Kitchen Garden. Our tour barely scratched the surface, but it made me all the more eager to come back and dig a little deeper (pun intended, sorry).

We were going to call it a day after the Farm; however, our shuttle bus made a stop at the UBC Botanical Garden. Despite our intended departure, we found ourselves jumping off the bus. Again, despite all my years at the campus, I'd never actually visited the Botanical Garden. I've been to the garden sale in the parking lot - just never inside the garden itself.

Just like the Farm tour, there was no way we were going to be able to take in the full garden, but we happened to stumble upon the Greenheart Canopy Walkway just as a tour was departing. I had no idea the Walkway had even been created but it was quite the experience to traverse the suspension bridgeway from platform to platform. At points, we were over 50 feet in the air and, for me, it was a unique way to see the upper layers of the coastal rainforest canopy.

Between the Farm and the Botanical Garden, I kept thinking of all the opportunities to set up shop for a picnic that were just staring us in the face. A little rest stop with a bottle of wine was truly alluring. Too bad I'd never considered the possibility in advance.

The tours did, however, motivate us to hightail it home and get to work in our own garden - because the neglect currently abounds. We managed to clean up and plant our plot in the community garden - although it certainly didn't look so lush after we'd ripped out all the volunteer forget-me-nots and laid down a straw mulch. After another couple hours of soil remediation, planting and clean up in our own yard and the boulevard, there was a definite need for some refreshment.

What could be more refreshing on a sunny afternoon than a cool glass of rosé?

815. 2009 Dominio Dostares - Tombú (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León - Spain)

This wasn't just any dime-a-dozen rosé either. It was made of 100% Prieto Picudo - a varietal that I'd certainly never heard of before. The grape is primarily grown in the province of Léon in northwestern Spain. What little I found to read about the varietal points to the fact that it was nearly extinct, but that a movement to emphasize the production of indigenous varietals has seen a revival in plantings. Domino Dostares' vineyards, however, features vines that are as old as 90 years.

Prieto Picudo is generally seen as being similar in profile to Tempranillo and is used for both blending and varietal wines. One writer, on the primarily Iberian wine blog Catavino, postured that the varietal could be seen as a Spanish Pinot Noir. Like Pinot Noir, Prieto Picudo appears to not be the easiest of grapes to grow or fully ripen. Also known for its high acidity, the varietal is also often vinified as a rosé - such as the bottle we've opened today.

Taking sips between pulling weeds and digging dirt doesn't lend itself to particularly extensive tasting notes, but I do know that it certainly hit the spot for Boo and I. I also know that this bottle brings me one step closer to making my quota for the Wine Century Club. Prieto Picudo is definitely a new varietal for my application and I think this brings me up to #94. The end is definitely in sight.

Farm and Garden canopy tours. A good bout of home gardening. A glass of wine in the sun. And a new varietal for the Wine Century Club. I think that qualifies as a rather productive day.

No comments:

Post a Comment