Saturday, October 26, 2013

La Spinetta Pin

On a last minute whim, I grabbed two tickets for the Vancouver East Cultural Centre tonight. I just happened to hear on the radio that Canadian Dance Legend, Margie Gillis, was teaming up with collaborator, American actress Elizabeth Parrish, to stage their piece "Bulletins from Immortality...freeing Emily Dickinson." I knew nothing of the show but I do have a most marvellous memory of the one time I saw Margie Gillis dance a short piece years ago. The thought of an entire show was simply too enticing to pass up.

The plan was to grab a quick bit to eat before the show. We were hoping to luck into a table at Via Tevere (since it's only a couple of blocks from the Cultch); so, we brought along a BYO bottle that'd be worthy of a Gillis performance. As usual, Via Tevere was packed and we didn't have enough time for the expected 45 minute wait. Luckily, the wait was only 5 minutes at Marcello's and they allow BYO as well (although I think their $25 corkage fee is rather cheeky considering they have such a limited and pedestrian wine list).

1459.  2006 La Spinetta Pin (Monferrato Rosso DOC - Piedmont - Italy)

La Spinetta has been a favourite of our's ever since Boo and I visited the winery during a second honeymoon and our short stay in Piedmont. This was one of the bottles that Boo and I were able to bring home with us but we promptly hid it in the cellar. Once in a blue moon, I'll see a bottle of La Spinetta in the Vancouver market but they're always priced as high end buys. I certainly wish that we could have brought a six-pack of this home with us because, the one time I saw a bottle for sale locally, it was for easily twice the price we paid for it in Italy.

La Spinetta is best known for its Barbarescos and Barolos but Pin is a take at a more approachable blend of 65% Nebbiolo and 35% Barbera d'Asti. The Nebbiolo provides a complex depth and structure while the Barbera adds a lighter fruitiness to the wine. The wine might have been a bit big for our pizza - particularly since the winery's tasting notes say that the wine could continue to evolve for 25 years - but we didn't seem to have any problem finishing the bottle off in time to make the performance.

Marcello's squeezes in the tables and we were definitely within ear-shot of our immediate neighbours - two young women. It was virtually impossible not to learn that they had spent the past summer travelling through Italy. We struck up a bit of conversation with them and, ultimately, asked our waiter to pour them a glass of our Pin. I don't know if they really enjoyed and appreciated the wine but they certainly professed their love of the wine and they let it linger to try and enjoy the nose and taste far longer than Boo or I ever could have.

As much as we were enjoying the wine and 'za, our timing was getting tight and we needed to leave for the show. Once there, we lamented the fact that the theatre doesn't allow drinks during the performances. It would have been nice to carry on with a bit more wine. I'm the farthest thing from a dance critic - hell, I barely scratch the surface in knowing my way around wine - but I wanted to enjoy the performance far more than I did. As much as Margie Gillis will forever remain a stellar memory for me, this piece didn't place her on an even higher pedestal. I liked the concept of the interplay between spoken word and dance, but the execution just didn't excite.

I'll just have to find another bottle of La Spinetta to cheer me up.

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