Sunday, February 17, 2013

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler. Mercy me! How those words have a way of stirring up memories. It may be close to a couple of decades since I've partied away on the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but that doesn't mean I can't throw on some beads, deck the joint out in purple, gold and green and invite some friends over to "let the good times roll."

Now, true enough, a Mardi Gras party may not be the most traditional of occasions for gathering material for a wine blog - but there's no denying that, when there's that much booze present, there's bound to be some wine to be had.

And, have it we did. It's just that there was plenty of alternative libation around and it may have served to cloud my wine tasting abilities a tad.

I think it's fair to say that the Hurricane is the "official" drink of Mardi Gras. You can't truly say that you've been to Mardi Gras if you didn't throw back your fair share of the Rum punch that makes Pat O'Brien's, Bourbon Street and New Orleans as memorable as they all are. So, I naturally had to do my best to set the scene by making a couple gallons of the naughty, red elixir. Knowing just how much Rum went into filling those "go cups," I was sure to give a good, stern warning to and keep plenty of ice handy for all our revellers - many of whom have never had the pleasure of living through a Hurricane before.

The truly naughty part of our hosting, however, was that, a couple of days before the party, I happened to see a recipe online for Hurricane Jello Shots. Now, I've never tried making jello shots before but, if there was ever going to be an appropriate occasion, it was going to be this party.

Tasty little things I might add. Good thing you could taste the booze in the jello and you knew better than to keep popping them. Between the punch and the shots, however, I think you can understand why I'm not even going to try and talk much about the wine. Indeed, I'm rather pleased with myself that I even remembered to take pictures of the couple bottles that I tried during the course of the evening.

1261. 2008 Bodegas Piqueras - Castillo de Almansa Reserva (D.O. Almansa - Spain)

I rather wish I did recall more about this little Spanish number. I always try to keep my eye open for good value wines and Spain is as good a source as any nowadays. I'm not familiar with either the producer or the Almansa region but the back label says that the wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Monastrell (Mourvèdre) and Garnacha (Grenache). It didn't go down quite as easily as the Hurricanes did - but that's likely a good thing. I may have to give it another go, however, as I did enjoy it a bit more than the second bottle I helped finish off.

1262. 2009 Christian Moueix Merlot (Bourdeaux AOC - France)

It was the gaggle of BC Wine Appreciation Society ladies that brought along that second bottle. They highly recommended the Merlot but it too will have to be a bottle that I give another chance to and try when the taste might be better appreciated. I just remember it as being fairly big for a French Merlot.

It may just be that the Spanish wine went a little better with the cheeses and mini-muffulettas but I guess I'll never know. To be honest, I don't know that either bottle truly went with the gorgeous Mardi Gras cupcakes that Cupcake brought along or with either of the King Cakes that were served up. I'd "slaved" over one of the traditional Mardi Gras treats but I was floored when Isotopos and Dr. Dirt showed up with one of their own. They apparently Googled "Mardi Gras desserts" and discovered what a King Cake was for the first time. They did a great  job at whipping one up when neither of the gals had ever tried one before.

In fact, I think it was a great night all around. We may not have insisted that our guests "Show Us Your ______" in order to earn some beads, but there was still plenty of fun to be had. I was rather pleased when Nature Boy found the baby in the King Cake. Of all the folks that might have discovered that special bit of cake, I think Nature Boy might actually follow through with the tradition of throwing the next party.  But that's a ways off still. Thankfully, I knew better than to imbibe as freely as I would have twenty years ago on Bourbon Street. If I had tried taking a stab at reliving my youth, I have a feeling I wouldn't be all that eager to open any more bottles of wine before Nature Boy comes through with his shindig.

And I certainly wouldn't want that to come to pass.

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