Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crawdads Like They Should Be

Still being a relatively new convert to Twitter (yes, you can follow me @2001bottles), I'm constantly surprised with the great news and laughs that abound.  I saw a tweet mentioning that a fish monger, not far from our neighbourhood, had a rare shipment of live crawfish arriving.  A quick call into the shop scored us three pounds and a chance to redeem our invite to Mr. D. from a couple of months back when Boo ran across some frozen bugs - that turned out to be truly awful.  I mean REALLY bad.  We owed Mr. D. big time after that night.

These ones, on the other hand, were so fresh, we caught a handful of them trying to escape from the bag they were in prior to their impending engagement with our dinner plate. Indeed, one was found behind our microwave about 10 minutes into dinner when we kept hearing a funny sound coming from the kitchen.  Despite the little guy's valiant efforts, I wouldn't have the slightest idea about keeping a crawfish as a pet; so, he went into the pot all the same.

1248.  2011 Kurtis Wild Ferment Semillon (VQA Okanagan Valley)

The first bottle that we opened was one that I'd been looking forward to trying ever since I'd heard about it.  "Kurtis" is Kurtis Kolt, one of Vancouver's most recognizable wine names.  In 2010, he had been named Sommelier of the Year by the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival (as it was at the time). As of that year, an intriguing prize was also awarded to the recipient.  In conjunction with the Okanagan Crush Pad, the concept of a Wine Campus was conceived and Kurtis was given the opportunity to make 100 cases of his own wine - with all the proceeds going to the BC Hospitality Foundation.

In one of his columns in the local WestEnder paper, Kurtis wrote that "I've had no illusions of giving up the city life in favour of small-town living in the valley, but the idea of having a hand in making just a barrel of something really floats my boat." As one of the promotional releases recounted, he was afforded the opportunity to "take part in the full decision-making process that is involved in creating a wine label, from viticulture, grape selection, and winemaking to the final blending, labelling, marketing and bottling process."

I find it interesting that Kurtis chose to go with Semillon.  It's not a grape that's all that common to the Okanagan.  His choice of going with a wild ferment and use of one of Okanagan Crush Pad's new concrete egg fermenters just made the wine's production all the more interesting to me.

I'll admit that I don't drink all that much Semillon and I'm not all that familiar with its best known characteristics.  As such, I can't say whether the wine is all that true to the varietal or not.  I do know, however, that it's certainly getting nice reviews in the local wine press. As for me, I'm really glad to have found a bottle - given its great background story and limited availability - but it didn't rock my world.  It could just be that it didn't match up with our crawdads and that, maybe, I'd have a completely different opinion in a different setting.  For the moment though, I like the story behind the wine more than the wine itself.

1249.  2007 Château Sainte Colombe (AOC Côtes de Castillon - Bordeaux - France)

The evening's red was a bit of a nod to the new Bordeaux release that's just on the horizon. The Côtes de Castillon district isn't generally seen as a star appellation in the Bordeaux system, but it is seen as region that shows lots of potential and has seen considerable investment in an attempt to compete with its neighbouring districts - Saint-Émilion and Pomerol.  Sainte Colombe is owned the Perse family who also own the higher end Château Pavie in Saint-Émilion - a wine that has been in the centre of stylistic criticisms between Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker, two of the most influential wine critics in the business.  Château Pavie goes for hundreds of dollars each but the Sainte Colombe is far more affordable - try low double digits.

Typical of Right Bank Bordeaux wines, this is a Merlot dominant wine (70% or so) with Cabernet Franc making up most of the remainder.  Unlike the 2009 vintage which is about to be released, 2007 was a cooler year for the region and, accordingly, this wine isn't quite as full or flush with fruit as I tend to like.  That being said, the cajun spicing on the crawfish seemed to draw out some spice in the wine and I went for a refill of the red before I reached for the Semillon.

It doesn't seem like I've given a ringing endorsement to either of the night's wines.  Regardless of that fact, there wasn't a drop left in either bottle by the end of the evening.  And, perhaps more importantly, the crawdads were delicious!  The mortification would have been unbearable if we'd served up to crawfish stinkers in a row to Mr. D.  Big sigh of relief there.

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