Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pac Rim Cup

Much like the Canucks game the other night, I'm not expecting much on the wine front from the weekend at hand. Our curling league is hosting its annual Pac Rim Bonspiel and our team opted to take part - even though we haven't exactly been setting the league on fire this year. I say that I'm "not expecting much on the wine front" because, even though curling is about as social a game as it gets - particularly in the lounge following the game - beer tends to rule.

And far be it from me to buck the beer trend - especially when the other team is buying. Seeing as how the bonspiel takes up the better part of the weekend, you have to know that I'll find a way to fit in a bottle of wine or two though. We did have two dinners at the club after all.

Problem - such as it is - is that the club doesn't exactly have an extensive wine list to choose from. And, if memory serves, it hasn't changed since the doors opened two seasons back.

1250.  N.V. [yellow tail] Pinot Grigio (Australia)

Faced with a combined sushi and Chinese food dinner, I figured the [yellow tail] would be a decent, if generic, match. Indeed, the wine was as expected but I was intrigued by the fact that the brand seems to be undergoing some changes. I've previously added a 2008 vintage Pinot Gris from [yellow tail] to The List but I noted that there was no vintage shown for this bottle. I followed that discovery up with a question at the big, government liquor store and the staff hadn't noticed the change themselves. However, I see that the brand's distributor in BC now shows most of [yellow tail]'s varietal wines as being non-vintage.

I know that Casella Wines, the company that makes [yellow tail], has been in the news lately as it is facing financial issues due to the steady rise of the Australian dollar against the American greenback. The wine's brand has been largely based on its affordability and the Wall Street Journal reports [yellow tail] relies on the US for three-quarters of its total sales. As such, the company faces a scenario where it can no longer produce the wine within its traditional price range, but its hands may be tied regarding any flexibility in raising its prices.

I don't really see how the dollar's rise would affect vintage designation on the bottle but it is a bit of intrigue surrounding the brand that so many wine lovers love to hate.

For those not familiar with a curling bonspiel or tournament - especially a large one involving 32 teams - there can be a fair bit of down time. Hence, the predominance of socializing and social drinking - be it beer, wine, scotch (especially for those kilt toting Scots) or shooters. During one lull, we found ourselves in the middle of game of Trivial Pursuit. I can't remember the last time I played the game but it's a good thing that we did because it was about the only game that I won all weekend.

Our team is a new one this year and I think it's fair to say that we were just a little out of our league in the bonspiel. We've got a full year's experience between our lead and second players and, as luck would have it, our draw had us facing some pretty seasoned teams. Our one team win came against the Curling Housewives who had even less experience than we did and they didn't even know how to hold the broom properly as a guide on how to take the next shot. At least they were fun to play - even if the win against them didn't do much to boost our egos.

1251. 2011 Pascual Toso Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina)

Our second bottle at the bonspiel was another easy drinker - an easy drinker with a strong reputation for over delivering on value mind you. Exactly what you need when the boys are chomping down on a burger while debating the previous game's shots and misses.

Actually, there's not a lot of need for team debates over shots with our guys. We'll take a win over a loss any day, but we're not exactly going to cry into our beers (or wine) if we don't happen to pull out a win.

Besides there's always next year and, by then, we'll be that much more seasoned. And, maybe, I'll sneak in a bottle of bubbly to celebrate that expected big win to come.

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