Sunday, October 27, 2013

Something Wicked This Way Comes

With Halloween just around the corner, we found ourselves overwhelmed with offers for the Saturday night before. Unfortunately, we had to say "no" to a couple of invites but we did our best to fit two seasonal treats into our schedule. That's "seasonal treats" as in events as opposed to wines, but we managed to incorporate some wine as well. Duh.

1460.  N.V. Cantine Pellegrino - Zebo Moscato (Sicily IGT - Italy)

When I hear Pelligrino, I think sparkling water. Apparently, however, Cantine Pellegrino was established on the island of Sicily in 1880. It remains a family owned company and is the largest winery in the region with nearly a thousand acres of vineyards.

To make this bottle even more interesting, I wouldn't normally associate Moscato with the Southern reaches of Italy. To me, Moscato generally means Northern climes but Pellegrino is using Muscat of Alessandria fruit from vines that average 20 to 30 years in age. So, they've been growing these grapes for some time now. Indeed, the reference tome, Wine Grapes, says that the grape was already known on Sicily back in the 16th Century under the name Zibibo - no doubt, a fact playing part of the wine's name "Zebo."

It's definitely a light and simple wine with a definite dose of residual sugar. It's also only 6% alcohol in volume. I saw that the winemaking process involves fermentation in thermo-controlled stainless steel tanks where the wine is cooled down to stop the fermentation once the desired alcohol and sweetness levels are attained. With the lower alcohol, we thought we could pull off opening this bottle and still move on for the remainder of the evening.

While we didn't find much sparkle to the wine, it still matched nicely with Aperol when we tried a follow up pour as an Aperol Spritzer. The price works for that option nicely as well.

A Trio of Parade of Lost Souls Participants

After an early dinner, Boo and I headed down The Drive to take in a bit of the Parade of Lost Souls. A signature event in our neighbourhood, this was the first time we'd been able to make it in a couple of years. Admittedly, we weren't overwhelmed with this year's event. There wasn't even an actual parade that we could locate. We just figured that organizers had run into insurance problems or NIMBY complaints and had to condense the event into a single location. Following the evening, I discovered that this was apparently a transitional year for the Parade of Lost Souls. The Public Dreams Society had been at the helm of the community-driven parade for over 20 years; however, the Society is stepping back from its position as a premier provider of public celebration. As a result, this was the first time that the event was under new directorship.

Here's hoping that the new caretakers of the Parade - The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret - find their footing and are able to re-invigorate the 2014 edition with the excitement of years past.

After touring the Parade grounds, we hustled back to invoke warmer desert climes and make our way to Mickey Rooney's Halloween Party. Rooney is the Queen of Halloween and has hosted many a costume party over the year - simply as an excuse to haul out her vast assortment of haunted decorations. Her theme this year was "black and white." So, we thought our UAE robes were the perfect fit. Only thing was that we hadn't been able to make a Mickey Rooney Halloween Bash for a few years and, in the interim, they've dropped the costume aspect of the evening.

We were the only folks to show up in costume - naturally, turning a few heads and eliciting a whole bunch of queries on a theme of "Are you heading off to another party after this?"

Mickey simply laughed and handed us a couple glasses, saying "You might like these."

Rooney, on the other hand, was all excited at our silliness and announced that she was going back to a costumed party next year.

1461.  2010 Longview - Devil's Elbow Cabernet Sauvignon (Adelaide Hills - Australia)

I guess this is where I admit that I can just as guilty of grabbing a pretty or themed label as the next wine buyer. I thought I'd bring a bottle that'd match up with the haunted nature of the party. The only bottle I could find that fit the occasion was the Devil's Elbow Cab. I hadn't run across Longview before and I was somewhat apprehensive about forking out $30 for what might be a take off on a critter wine label. Luckily, the wine was far more substantive that a simple, commercial fruit bomb.

The winery was established in 1995 and currently produces approximately 20,000 cases annually and I've since found out that Longview was featured in a recent Wine Spectator article on Australian wines. Both this Cab and a Shiraz were submitted to the magazine and both received 90+ points - if you're interested in point chasing. The winery is found in the Adelaide Hills region and apparently has family estate vineyards that enjoy a micro-climate that is slightly warmer than the surrounding area. The additional heat allows Longview to step outside of Adelaide Hills' decidedly cool climate (by Aussie standards anyhow) reputation of producing primarily white wines.

Bigger and fruitier than what I might normally associate with a cool climate Cab, I suppose there shouldn't be too much surprise in that I see that Ben Glaetzer is the consulting winemaker and he's well known for producing big, bold reds. Being a wine drinker that definitely finds myself on the New World, fruit forward side of the fence, it's not often that I find too much fruit on my mid-range Cab's but that might just have been the case here. Glaetzer's fruit did make the wine entirely drinkable as a big cocktail wine though. It might have come across as more subdued with food - but that would only have made it even more palatable. I'd be tempted to buy the wine again despite the price tag.

Having grabbed the bottle for the name and label, I couldn't find any web reference to where Devil's Elbow comes from.  Most of Longview's wines had catchy and differentiating names. I suspect there has to be some story behind all of them. They just weren't easily found.

Maybe by next Halloween, I'll have found out the meaning of the names - as well as what's happening with the organization of the Parade of Lost Souls and whether or not we really need to dress up for Mickey Rooney's party.

No comments:

Post a Comment