Monday, October 17, 2011

A Farewell to Mexican Lou

Over the last so many years, one of Mr. D's best friends, Mexican Lou, has become a good friend of our's as well. It was with some sadness that we heard he'd decided to move back to Mexico City for the foreseeable future. We figured we had better fit in at least one last evening before he leaves on a jet plane.

Lou has quite the green thumb and he needed to find homes for a number of his plants as he cleaned house. He and Mr. D made a surprise visit to our place when Boo and I were both at work and they completed a little guerilla gardening. It seemed completely appropriate that we share a bit of a tipple as Lou led us on a tour of our own garden and he showed us the plants that he'd left behind.

961. 2009 Stoneboat - Duet (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Stoneboat is one of the extra-curricular wineries that I visited last month during the BCWAS Bus Tour and the Duet is one of the bottles I tried that was more than intriguing enough to pick up. The 2009 vintage is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinotage - rather a rare bird considering how little Pinotage is grown in the Okanagan.

It turns out that Lanny Martiniuk, patriarch of the family that owns and operates Stoneboat, comes across his use of Pinotage naturally. Lanny has been in the Valley for decades now and most of that time wasn't spent making wine but, rather, was spent growing grapes and propagating vines for others at his nursery. Lanny has propagated hundreds of thousands of vines at his nursery over the years, including many experimental varietals. He originally propagated the Pinotage vines for Lake Breeze winery when they wanted to introduce the varietal to the Okanagan. Lanny has kept some plants of every variety he has ever grown and he likes growing the Pinotage for its bold, distinctive characteristics.

It was an easy sipper, well suited for our garden tour.

It didn't take much time to finish off the Stoneboat; so, we made our way to Nicli Antica, the high end Neopolitan pizza joint that's been generating a culinary buzz in Gastown (and Vancouver as a whole) since it opened earlier in the year. I've wanted to make the trek there but just haven't been able to pull it off yet. It must be doing okay because there was a 45-minute wait on a Monday night and they don't take reservations.

I think we all thought it was worth the wait. Each of the four of us chose a different topping and we ended up swapping slices with each other so that we got to try each of the versions. I'd be hard pressed to pick a favourite but the Bianca was right up there.

962. 2009 Michele Chiarlo - Le Ormé (Barbera d'Asti DOCG Superiore - Italy)

The wine list was limited and was, for all intents and purposes, all Italian. (I think there was some French bubbly but we didn't go there.) I don't drink a lot of Barbera but I find that, in general, it's a tasty and reliable varietal when it comes to Italian wines. This one didn't let us down at all.

I don't know much about Michele Chiarlo; however, I did recognize the name because his Nivole Moscato d'Asti was one of the first wines that was added to The List - way back at #34. Apparently, the winery is a standard bearer for the Piedmont region. If this Barbera is one of the winery's more easily accessible wines, I'd like to try one of the higher end wines, particularly a Barolo.

As part of a fun evening with great pizza and wine, we got a bit of a celebrity treat in that Vancouver's other "Lou," Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo walked through the front door as we were waiting for our pizza. For a brief moment, we thought he might get seated at the empty table next to us. Turns out he was only picking up six pizzas to go. We were told that he's the only person in the city that is permitted to phone in for take out. We asked our waiter if we'd ordered one of Luongo's favourites. His reply was "Oh yeah, the Bobby Lou Special - it goes between your legs" - a rather cheeky riff on armchair commentary and some questionable outings during last year's playoff run.

If nothing else, we will put it out there that Roberto cleans up a whole lot better than you might expect from all those post-game interviews.

But that sighting quickly brought about a close to our evening. We'll miss Mexican Lou. Adios muchacho. Hopefully, we'll see him back sooner than later and we won't kill his plants off too quickly.

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