Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Four More Years

As a Canadian, I certainly play no role - legitimate or otherwise - in the American presidential election.  As a Canadian, I do feel, however, that my day-to-day life gets affected by the directions that American politics veer - and that's not only because I'm married to an US citizen.  (Or, should I say that I'm considered married in Canada and at least a handful of American states.)

That lack of direct input aside, I'm still fascinated - and perhaps a little scared - by the theatre that is American politics.  And so, it was with rapt attention that I sat glued to the television as results streamed in from across the country.  I was rather hopeful that the final result would have been declared somewhat earlier in the evening, but at least I'm on the West Coast and didn't have to stay up too late after my bedtime.

Such an important night for the US seemed to call out, obviously, for an American wine.  So I pulled out a bottle that we'd picked up in Seattle.  Canadian duty limitations are so strict that we're only legally allowed two bottles of wine per person after a 48-hour stay State-side.  (Tell me I wouldn't be among the first to vote against that law!)  That doesn't allow a whole lot of room for experimentation with my wine buys.  Accordingly, as a rule, I go into one of the top wine shops in town, tell them my dilemma and ask what wines they'd buy if faced with the same limitations.  This was one of the bottles that came highly recommended.

1281.  2006 Bunnell Family Cellar Syrah (Horse Heaven Hills AVA - Washington)

I'd have to have been pointed in the direction of this wine as I knew nothing - and still know little - about the winery.  The winery's website advises that owner/winemaker, Ron Bunnell, is hoping to build a family legacy after years of making wine at such well known operations as Chateau Ste. Michelle, Beringer Vineyards and Kendall-Jackson (and, even as a Canuck without much knowledge in American wines, I know all three of these).

Bunnell left Chateau Ste. Michelle, where he was helping to spearhead the ambitious Col Solare project, in 2004, to start making wines under the family name.  They now specialize in small lot batches of Rhône varietal wines.  Indeed, only 370 cases of this Horse Heaven Hills wine was made.  Although the winery now produces wines from estate grown grapes as well, the fruit for this wine was sourced from growers in Horse Heaven Hills - the neatly named sub-appellation of the Columbia Valley that is home to some of the most highly regarded grapes in the state.

BC's own Okanagan Valley is becoming well regarded for its Syrah/Shiraz wines; so, it should be no surprise that neighbouring Washington state is producing some winners as well.  Like many BC wines, I found this to straddle the profiles of the French Rhônes and bigger Aussie Shiraz.  The dark fruit was there but it was far from jammy.

I think I would have enjoyed the wine regardless of what I see as a favourable outcome in the election, but I'm glad I didn't have to test that theory.

I do know that there's not much chance of running across a wine like this on our side of the border.  I shall have to be thankful that, despite some political differences, we Canadians can still cross the 49th Parallel as easily as we can to grab some more tasty American wines.

Until that next visit of mine, here's a toast to four more years with President Obama - and to an even greater hope that politicians of all stripes - and the American people - can find some bridges across the Democrat/Republican chasm that seems to be - at least this Canadian - an ever widening gap.

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