Saturday, June 11, 2011

Game 5 - A Clutch Game If There Ever Was One

Two rather nasty games in Boston. Just as soon put them out of my mind, thank you very kindly. Don't even bother to ask what time it is? 12 past Luongo got tired rather quickly over the last couple of days. But we're back in VanCity and the whole city is hoping that the real Canucks show up tonight. I don't think anyone would give our guys much of a chance if they go back to Boston for Game 6 being down 3 games to 2.

I'm out of the big gun, Mission Hill Legacy Series wines now, but I'll just have to hope that tonight's wine will have enough ooompf (a very technical wine term) to propel the Canucks to a big win. I wouldn't say that it's exactly lacking in pedigree. Ryan Kesler may be on the canucks' second line, but I don't think anyone would argue that he's not top tier quality.

825. 2006 Mission Hill Select Lot Collection Merlot (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Having mentioned its "pedigree," I suppose I should point out that this wine won a Gold Medal at the 2010 All Canadian Wine Championships. And, despite being a 2006 vintage, I think this is still the current release for the SLC Merlot. Nice of the winery to age the wine for us as long as they have. A "gold medal" may be more appropriate for hockey at the Olympics, but I think the whole idea of being the best at your game is a pretty good call for the Canucks at tonight's game.

The SLC label may not be part of the Legacy Series but it is still considered a premium wine for Mission Hill. I don't know for certain, but I believe the grapes chosen for this wine are easily of the calibre used in the Legacy wines; however, these grapes can come from more than just the single vineyard used in that series.

I can see - and taste - why the wine did as well as it did at the 2010 competition. We haven't necessarily been drinking a lot of 100% varietal Merlot from BC of late - but this has a profile that could clearly convince me to try more if all BC Merlots were this good.

Rich and well structured, it's big for a BC Merlot, but it doesn't over-power you with its fruit or any other component. The winemaking team showed some restraint in trying to extract every last iota from the grapes - and I'm grateful for it.

Too bad that, at $40 a bottle, I'll pretty much have to keep it to special occasions - like a Stanley Cup playoff game - to reach for one.

Other than having had a fine bottle of wine, I'm more than happy to say that the bottle did it's job and the Canucks pulled off a 1-0 win. Vancouver is a happy town and the team now has two chances to win one game AND the Stanley Cup.

In fact, I was so enthralled that I opened another bottle that I'd been keeping on hand to celebrate this third win. (it just took a little longer to be opened than I'd hoped.)

826. 2005 Mission Hill Reserve Late Harvest Riesling (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Considering what a sucker I am for dessert wines, ports and stickies, we don't tend to drink many of them. I guess it's easy to buy a bottle and end up putting it away with all the other "special occasion" wines that never seem to get opened. Good thing a third win in the Stanley Cup Finals is about as "special" an occasion as there can be - especially when you consider that the Canucks have only ever done that once before in their existence and that was 17 years ago. I guess I can admit that I was old enough to be drinking at that time; I don't, however, think I was drinking wines of this calibre.

Despite being a Late Harvest wine, the grapes for this wine weren't harvested until February 2, 2006. If the winery left the grapes on the vine for that length of time, my guess would have to be that the principals just didn't feel that the remaining winter weather was going to get cold enough to dip to the requisite temperatures needed to qualify for icewine. Otherwise, why would you wait that long? Our gain though - since icewine can standardly be double the price of a late harvest wine.

During this Finals series and all the Mission Hill wines, I've mentioned a couple of the winery's fine showings in international competitions. There's no doubt that BC produces some of the finest late harvest and icewines in the world. Tasting this, it's easy to see why. If, like me, you can drink glass after glass of full, fruity, sweet, aromatic wines that kick back with a nice brace of acidity, this bottle won't disappoint. You'll just need to find that "special occasion" because at $30 a half-bottle, the wine just disappears a little too quickly from my glass to make it a regular occurrence.

Hopefully, I don't have to wait for another third win in a finals series before I open another.

Now, the task will be to pick a wine that's, hopefully, good enough to drink from the Stanley Cup. One more win will do it!! Keep those cheers loud!

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