Sunday, March 17, 2013

Plantagenet Bubbles

We've found ourselves facing a bit of a conundrum. Why is it that we seemed to stay more in touch with Miss Jaq when she was on the other side of the world in Abu Dhabi than we do now that she back in Vancouver? Just one of life's little mysteries and a underlying belief that our current proximity will lend itself to easy access I suppose.

Proximity doesn't always lend itself to fitting each other into busy schedules though - particularly when Boo's and my wine-drenched activities can scare a girl when she's on the Merlot Boy No Merlot Diet. Not that Miss Jaq scares easily.

We managed to work this Sunday morning into everyone's calendar and, naturally, Miss Jaq wasn't feeling on the top of her game. Thoughts of strolling The Drive for brunch morphed into something a little less taxing: bubble, chat and coffee. A few of of our favourite things.

1271.  1997 Plantagenet Mount Barker Brut (Western Australia)

As you might guess from the '97 vintage, this bottle has been hanging around for awhile - waiting for an appropriate occasion (and, without doubt, any get together with Miss Jaq qualifies). Boo and I won this bottle at the very first Australia Wine Appreciation Society event we attended. I'm not even sure how many years ago that was but, suffice it to say, it was long before I started this blog.

I can't say that I'm accustomed to seeing Plantagenet wines on Vancouver wine shelves. Indeed, I'm not sure that I've ever seen another bottle of their wines here. The winery was established by Tony Smith in 1974 and was named after Plantaganet shire, the region that surrounds the town of Mount Barker. The region itself is named after the English royal house that ruled from 1154 to 1399. Smith, himself, is a descendent of the Plantagenets and he purchased land 350 kilometres south-east of Perth and planted a trial vineyard in 1968 with Shiraz and Cab Sauv. Three years later, he planted more vines and produced its first vintage in 1974. During the following year, they purchased an old apple packing shed on the highway nearby and, voilà, the region's first winery and cellar door was born.

Nowadays, Tony Smith is still involved in the management of Plantagenet; however, the winery was sold in 2000. They now produce approximately 60,000 cases annually under the Plantagenet, Omrah and Hazard Hill brands.

I couldn't find much information about this Brut. It doesn't seem to have left much of a trail on the internet. Plantagenet still makes a Brut but I can't definitely say that our older vintage was made in the same traditional method that the current wines are made. I think it's fair to hazard a guess and say that production methods are similar and that, if that's the case, this is a classic Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend. It certainly had those classic biscuit notes - likely intensified by the additional years of ageing.

Boo is encouraging me to pull more of these classics out of the "cellar." Guess if we can find more occasions to fit Miss Jaq into the schedule, it'll be easy.

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