Sunday, July 13, 2014

An Antipodean Landmark

Except for that one vacation when he was on the "Merlot Boy No Merlot Diet," there's never been a shortage of party or booze present whenever we find ourselves with Merlot Boy. Whether it's in VanCity, Oz, Vegas or the Big Easy, it's always been 5 o'clock somewhere. Then, there's Margarita, that lovely little addition to the travelling entourage, and her nom-de-blog is likely enough of an indication as to the influence she has on the collective decision-making process. So, we were somewhat taken aback when our favourite Aussie wanted nothing more than a small dinner party to celebrate his 50th birthday - even though we'd offered to throw a rave of a bash for him.

Despite the fact that there may have only been a tight cadre of nearest and dearest, that didn't mean that Merlot Boy was putting the kibosh on a smorgasbord of wine. Indeed, I'm adding a full ten bottles to The List - and the count would have been higher except that there were a couple of duplicates.

1677.  N.V. Josef Chromy (Tasmania)

Every landmark birthday calls for a sparkling kick-off and, given our birthday boy's Aussie heritage, we popped the cork on a bottle of Tassie bubble. Luckily the weather was everything a boy could ask for. So, we took advantage of the garden setting. Merlot Boy hadn't even heard of Josef Chromy before; however, one must realize that you can pretty well bet on the fact that MB will be draining the brewskis most of his time in Tasmania. After all, almost all of his visits there coincide with footy games when his beloved Hawks play a "home away from home" game.

1678.  2013 Folonari Pinot Grigio (Italy)

As much as I try to get Merlot Boy to drink BC wine when he's visiting, he still gravitates to his Aussie reds or to bargain buys that he recognizes from home. Trying to tell him that BC makes some of the best Pinot Gris in the world is like trying to convince an Aussie that there actually are some lovely Kiwi wines in the market. Yeah mate, as if.

1679.  2013 Paul Hobbs - CrossBarn Rosé of Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast - California)

I don't generally look to California for my Rosés either. Memories of California and White Zinfandel can be hard to get rid of - especially when the Okanagan is becoming a bit of a hotbed for Rosé. From the shot, it looks like there couldn't have been a better choice of wine for the BBQ'd salmon though - at least from a colour coordination standpoint. Good thing the wine tasted as good as it looked.

1680.  2010 Eau Vivre Pinot Noir (Okanagan Valley VQA)

I needed to throw at least one BC wine into the mix. Given that salmon was the main course and we were definitely a red-leaning group, I figured a perennial critic's fave would be a good pour for the table. Not sure that I did anything to convert Merlot Boy's buying habits, but the wine was certainly well-received.

And from that point on, the photos of wine bottles was a forgotten task. There were plenty of photos taken - just not of the wine bottles. There's the one at the end of the post of all the dead soldiers but you'll just have to take me at my word that the wine kept flowing long after the salmon was cleared from the table.

2012 Wirra Wirra - Scrubby Rise (not added to The List as we've already downed this vintage)

1681.  2013 Lindeman's Cawarra Shiraz-Cabernet (South Eastern Australia)

1682.  2012 Tommasi - Le Prunée (Merlot della Venezie IGT - Italy)

I think this bottle was someone's way of telling Merlot Boy that he's getting old and wrinkled - like a prune - but in a classy way, hence "Le Prunée." 

1683.  2011 Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon (North Coast - California)

1684.  2011 Long Flat Cabernet Shiraz (Australia)

As luck would have it, Miss Jaq's 50th was only a week or so apart from Merlot Boy's. He may live in Melbourne but it often feels like we see more of him than we do of Miss Jaq since she's usually off somewhere teaching in exotic locales like Abu Dhabi or China. Luckily, she was spending the summer in Vancouver and was able to celebrate right along with Merlot Boy.

And celebrate we did. Maybe not to the same extent as we did for Daveyboi's 50th, but that's likely a good thing. I think there were a few too many martinis poured at that birthday bash. Perhaps having Miss Jaq and Elzee in attendance just kept the boys a tad more in line than is often the case.

1685.  2008 De Bortoli Noble One Botrytis Semillon (New South Wales - Australia)

This wine was not chosen as a dig at Merlot Boy's advancing age. Botrytis may be known as "noble rot" but not even we would joke that MB is in an advanced stage of rot. Rather, I chose this lovely because, like him, it's iconic and Australian. Noble One is one of those bottles that you feel you have to keep for a special occasion. There aren't many events that are more special than a landmark birthday with equally monumental friends.

Thing is, there were one or two (at if) that were still going strong after the dessert wine. Accordingly, a quick reach into the cellar was needed. However, I will have you know that I, personally, only had enough of a pour to legitimately add it to The List.

1686.  2009 Henry's Drive - Dead Letter Shiraz (Padthaway - South Australia)

In the spirit of the evening, it was Aussie and it was big and bold.

It might be a good thing that we don't have 50th birthdays to celebrate every week. I'd get through this Odyssey count a lot faster but the old liver might have a bit of comment to make.

Happy happy bud!

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