Saturday, January 19, 2013

This Is What We've Been Waiting For?!

Seeing as how tonight is the start of the 2013 NHL season, I thought it only natural to go with a bit of a hockey theme. It seems that, throughout last summer and this Fall's league lockout, the biggest - if not only - hockey topic in Vancouver has been what's going to happen in the Canuck goal crease? Who will Luongo be traded to? Is there even any interest in his contract? Who would be your dream choice of a player in exchange?

Well, it's opening night and we still have two goalies.

So, what could be a better choice of wine than one called The Goal?

1246. 2010 Bartier Bros. The Goal (VQA Okanagan Valley)

The "Bros." part in the winery's name refers to brothers, Don and Michael Bartier. Raised in the Okanagan Valley, their lives have taken divergent paths - that is, until they decided to combine their areas of expertise in this joint venture. Don had spent years in Alberta as an accountant while Michael has been making a name for himself as a winemaker for well-known Okanagan producers Hawthorne Mountain, Township 7 and Road 13. Business acumen meets wine skills - sounds like a good start.

The Bartiers have taken to naming their wines after notable accomplishments by exceptional people. "The Goal is a nod to the Penticton Vees downing Russia 5-1 in the 1955 World Hockey Championship."

Who knows? Maybe they could name a new wine after this hockey season should the Canucks manage to win the Stanley Cup.

Bartier Bros. is one of the original participants at Okanagan Crush Pad - the custom crush facility that allows winemakers to utilize on-site equipment and make smaller production vintages without all the costs of buying expensive equipment. The 2010 vintage was already in barrel by the time the Crush Pad opened in 2011; however, newer vintages will have benefitted from the centralized facilities.

As for The Goal, the 2010 vintage is a blend of Merlot, Cab Franc and Syrah (40/30/30) - all of the fruit having been sourced from the Black Sage Road.  Bottled under screwcap, The Goal was still filling our glasses as a big wine with a good bit of life left in it for ageing and mellowing out. We found that, when drinking the wine on its own, the dark fruit was overpowered a bit by the heft of the tannins. That heft lightened up, however, when we paired it with the flank steak that we grilled up and the bottle had been exposed to the air for awhile.

Unfortunately, the game itself didn't quite match up to expectations. After months of waiting for the lockout to end, our boys gave up an early lead against the Anaheim Ducks and ended up getting skunked 7-3. Ouch! After all this time, that's what we were waiting for? Not exactly the start to the season we'd all wanted!

My guess is that we'll be pouring more than a couple of bottles as the hockey season carries on and that there'll be ups and downs during those games. "The goal" around here will just have to be to continually serve up winning wines as the boys hit the ice. We'll simply have to wait to see if we'll be toasting a change in the Vancouver goal soon or whether the team will continue with a 1-2 punch that has to be the envy of most other teams.

With any luck, everyone will be drinking celebratory tipples out the Canucks' first Stanley Cup at the end of the season! I'll raise a toast to that possibility! THAT will have been worth the wait!

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