Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mission: Possible

We're here! The Stanley Cup Finals! It doesn't get any bigger than this for hockey fans and Canucks Nation has locked into the mania full force. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising. The Canucks have never actually won the Cup in its 40 year history and it's even been 17 years since the team has made it this far in the playoffs and had a chance to bring home the big prize. The fact that the Canucks are playing one of the original six NHL teams has only brought the furor to greater heights.

Go anywhere in town and you'll see Canucks jerseys, t-shirts, banners, car flags and everything else in between. And you know that I'm just as "guilty" as the rest of them. We've been flying the flag since April and the flag prompted my favourite moment of fan recognition this weekend. I was out putzing in the garden and I could hear a little girl continually repeating "Go Canucks Go!" There's been a lot of that lately. But, the tiny voice just kept going and going with the same phrase. Turns out she was out for a walk with her parents and she couldn't have been any older than two or three. As they strolled by our place, I mentioned to her folks that "I guess that's a pretty good phrase to know nowadays if you can't say a whole lot." Her mom said that the little gal's pre-school has been teaching everyone about the Canucks and the excitement they're causing. When she saw our flag, from about a block away, the words just came flowing out. And, as if just on queue, the little sweetheart pointed to our flag and chimed "Go Canucks Go!" and kept on for another dozen times or so as they continued down the sidewalk.

But, it's a new series and that means I need to match up another winery to this round. Boo and I have a few bottles of some decent Mission Hill wines in our cellar and it's probably about time that we opened a few of them. It only makes sense that I throw a couple of BC's big gun wines out there as the Canucks try to finish off their own mission - winning the Stanley Cup!

818. 2007 Mission Hill - Quatrain VQA Okanagan Valley)

I don't think I'd raise too many eyebrows by saying that winemaking in BC doesn't get much bigger than the Mission Hill Family Estate winery. The winery can boast everything from it's spectacular setting and physical winery - that attracts upwards of 150,000 visitors a year - to its Terrace restaurant that, a few years ago, was named one of the Top 5 winery restaurants in the world, to the fact that the winery has 24 estate vineyards throughout the different regions of the Okanagan which help lead them to an enviable position where they can access fruit to produce an array of wines that ranges from big-styled Bordeaux or Rhone-based varietals to more finessed white or Pinot Noirs and even ice-wines. And that's not even commenting on the unquestionable quality of the wines that they produced.

The Quatrain that we opened tonight is part of Mission Hill's Legacy Series of wines - the website proclaims them to be "rare and limited" wines that the winery hopes "showcase the finest of everything at Mission Hill Family Estate."

Like the four line poem or stanza that the wine is named after, Quatrain is a blend of four varietals - Merlot, Syrah, Cab Franc and Cab Sauv (42%, 24%, 19% and 15% respectively for this vintage) - looking to capture the best characteristics of each of the four grapes, be it fruit, structure, spice, whatever.

The Legacy series is a fairly recent addition to the Mission Hill portfolio. I think the 2005 vintage was the very first for Quatrain - and it's been perhaps my favourite of the high end Mission Hill wines since that initial introduction. At $45 a bottle, it's not the least expensive bottle in the store, but there's no doubt that there's a lot of punch being packed into that bottle.

I think that's just what we need to start off the Stanley Cup Finals although I do have to admit that there wasn't any wine left in our bottle by the time the Canucks finally scored against Boston. I was pretty much resigned to the fact that we were going to have to head into overtime when Raffi Torres scored with only 18.5 seconds left on the clock. Good thing too. My anxiety levels were so high, I definitely would have needed some more wine for overtime. The wine left in my glass wasn't going to last long and there wasn't any more Quatrain to be found in the house.

Something tells me it's going to take the best that the Canucks have to win this series. I'll do my part by delivering the wine.

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