Saturday, December 20, 2014

Wines to Summon Your BC Ferry Godmother

Poor Boo. Here it is, the holiday season and he has to work nights tonight. Luckily, Elzee was free to come out and play. Good thing cuz there's no sense me spending it home alone - or even out alone - as tonight was destined to be a good evening. Dinner, party and a play. Poor Boo.

In an attempt to make him feel a teensy bit better about his "no fun night," he woke up from his afternoon sleep to a nice dinner and an equally nice sip of wine.

1829.  2009 Tawse - Robin's Block Chardonnay (VQA Twenty Mile Bench - Ontario)

The good news is that, if he was only to have one small glass of wine, it was going to be one fine glass. I'd been introduced to Tawse at the Vancouver International Wine Festival a couple of years back and was lucky enough to get my hands on this bottle during the Festival. Tawse winemaker, Paul Pender, was one of the interesting principals forming the line-up for the speed dating/drinking seminar at the Festival. I think he had a whopping eight minutes to walk us through the Robin's Block Chardy and tell all about the winery's being a leader in bringing organic and biodynamic farming practices and single-vineyard designated wines to Ontario. It was certainly eight minutes of tweaking my fancy.

Tawse was named Winery of the Year for three years running (2010, 2011 and 2012) at the Canadian Wine Awards. Rumour has it (at least on one website) that Proprietor, Moray Tawse, is "smitten with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir" and with how he can bring a bit of Burgundy to Ontario and the Twenty Mile Bench.

I'm not a huge fan of big oak and Chardonnay and, even though this wine saw its time in French barriques, that time only enhanced the texture of the wine. The oak was subtle enough that the tree fruit still shone through along with some wet stone and acidity.

If only there were more Tawse wines around. For me, mo Tawse, mo better.

Once Elzee and I had seen Boo off to work, we wandered over to Arty400 and BabyMama's place. Our neighbours had invited us to a little Hanukkah gathering. Arty400 is a master - if he says so himself - of the latke and he was frying up batch after batch. It was a major shame that Elzee and I had just finished our meal and didn't have much time before we had to mosey on because there was one tasty - and neverending - spread of dishes. Just as if your Jewish mom had to feed you incessantly because she's worried you're too skinny. We couldn't even nibble.

Luckily, we were able to stay long enough to watch the lighting of the Hanukkah candles. I know very little about Jewish holidays or traditions but it was nice to be asked to participate in an intimate family occasion. I have a feeling we might have been the only gentiles in the room because everyone broke into song as Arty400 lit the first candle. Seeing a handful of children from all the different families sing along with their parents was something you wouldn't see in our household at Christmas.

2014 Parallel 49 Barley Wine

As much as I'd like to add this bottle to The List, it's not wine - despite the name. The brewery calls it "the granddaddy of English ales" and it's aged in whiskey barrels to add a woody vanilla note. Arty400 says they just call it a wine because it clocks in with an alcohol content of 11.8%. Parallel 49 claims this bottling is easily ready for ageing as it is for immediate swilling.

If Elzee and I hadn't had to rush off to the theatre, I'd have loved to explore the Barley Wine some more. I'll have to stop in at the brewery after work one day and see if they have any left. I think it's a seasonal brew.

As it was, we had just enough lubrication to raise our level of laughter at Cinderella - An East Van Panto. This is the second year that the new York Theatre has offered up a seasonal panto. Last year's Jack and The Beanstalk was a hit and Cinderella could well be even bigger.

Photo Credit - Emily Cooper
Now, I have hard enough of a time trying to keep up with writing about wine; so, I'm not even going to try and pretend to put my two cents worth into Cinderella other than to say there were some big guffaws, some seriously ugly stepsisters and happening tune-age. It would take a panto (or a wicked drag show - or a combination of the two) to serve up a chorus singing Cinder-ella-ella-ella-ella to Rhiannon. And where else but Vancouver could your evening be saved by your very own BC Ferry Godmother?

I'm already looking forward to next year's show.

Following the show, there was time to revisit Hanukkah since Arty400 and BabyMama were still pouring and entertaining.

1830.  2012 Cave Saint Desirat Syrah (VdP Ardèche - France)

I was a little surprised to hear that this wine is a favourite of BabyMama's. Generally, it's Arty that shows me something I haven't run across before. Interesting that this will be the first wine that I'll now associate with BabyMama. It's definitely got an Old World-liness to it. Being a Vin-de-Pays, I wouldn't expect a whole lot of lineage behind the wine but, apparently, this is more an example of the vagaries of French appellation law. The vineyards that provide these grapes fall just outside of the boundaries for highly-renowned Rhône regions: St. Joseph and Crozes Hermitage. 100% Syrah or not, if you're outside, you're outside. Too bad. So sad. No AOC rating for this wine.

It probably wasn't an end-of-evening nightcap sort of wine though. I think I might have appreciated it more while noshing away on the spread that was laid out earlier, but I'm definitely going to revisit a bottle because $13 "near-Rhône" wines are hardly a dime-a-dozen in our market. Besides, I think Boo might find this to his liking and he had to miss out due to that whole, nasty "work" thing.

All in all, I think the evening deserves a big old "Mazeltov" though.

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