Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Landmark for Beamer

A few weeks back, after my cousin's wedding, I mentioned that I generally attend way more landmark birthday parties than weddings nowadays. This is a prime example - as Beamer is the latest of my buds to hit 50.

Beamer and I had actually been out - starting the party early - last night. So, my goal was to behave myself as much as possible and be able to drive home. After all, I had to curl early the next morning. There were plenty of wines to choose from - and add to The List - but I stayed true to the plan and only tried a couple of the wines available.

964. 2009 Grandes Vinos y Viñedos - Beso de Vino Selección (Cariñena D.O. - Spain)

The first wine to be added was a Kiss of Wine. Beamer was told that this wine was full value for the price and he grabbed some to go along with his first alcoholic love - beer on tap. With the distinctive label that it has, I've seen the wine around but I've tended to view it as a Spanish "critter wine" - a take on all the animal-labeled, big, fruity, easy drinking, well priced wines that appeared after the success of [yellow tail].

I don't know that the critter wine description is that far off the mark, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing - and the Beso had enough "stuff" to make you think of it seriously. An 85%-15% blend of Syrah and Garnacha (Grenache), I don't think it'll become my "go to" Spanish sipper, but I won't turn my nose up at the label so easily next time I see it in a store or at a tasting.

There were plenty of old faces in the crowd during the evening. I hadn't seen some of the folks in attendance for well over a decade or more and it was fun having a chance to catch up a bit. I'm pretty sure the accompanying picture is possibly the first shot of Beamer and The Divine Miss M's wedding party since that fateful day over 15 years ago. I'm not so sure that I want to compare this photo to the ones from the wedding though. Something tells me that Miss M and Cher have aged far more gracefully than Beamer and me.

That thought, however, calls for another bottle of wine.

965. 2007 Desert Hills Syrah (VQA Okanagan Valley)

I gravitated to the Desert Hills bottle because I knew the winery had been having some recent success with their Syrah's at various competitions. I didn't find out - until I was writing this post - that the 2007 actually won the title of Top Red Wine at the 2010 BC Wine Awards. I'm not sure who threw this wine onto the bar for general consumption at the party, but they must like Beamer a lot.

I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of Desert Hills. I gravitated to them a whole lot more when I first ran across them a decade or so ago. Lately, I've found their big wines to be a bit too extracted in general. The Syrah was far more reserved; however, its herbaceousness and big acidity cried out more for a full meal than a stand up cocktail party. You don't win Best Red in BC without offering something for the palate though. Maybe I'll get a chance to try a bottle and appreciate it in a more appropriate setting.

There's nothing more appropriate at a birthday party than a rocking birthday cake though - and this one took the cake. Fashioned in the shape of a wine box and bottle, this vintage of Chateau "Beamer" had everyone in awe that the entire cake, including the box, was edible! It was almost a shame that the masterpiece had to be cut up. I think the bakers at The Willow Tree Cakery garnered a ton of fans that night. I know that I picked up a card for the next time we need a cake to impress.

It's kinda hard to believe that I've known Beamer for over 30 years now. I don't know that either one of us expected the friendship to last this long. Something tells me though that we'll share more than a couple new bottles to add to The List before either the friendship or this blog is finished - particularly if he's willing to open a few of all the wines that he received as presents. I took the liberty of looking in a handful of the gift bags and I know that I'll be more than willing to help out.

In the mean time, Happy Birthday and Welcome to 50.

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