Thursday, January 1, 2015

An Early Welcome to 2015!

Alright, it may not exactly be a sign of the apocalypse, but it's definitely a sign that I an now officially "old." I decided that, rather than stay up until midnight to celebrate New Year's Eve, we'd just turn the TV to an EST cable station at 9 pm PST and watch all the revelry from Times Square. We'd pop our cork and do everything that one normally does to ring in the new year. We'd just be ringing in 2015 a little earlier than most of our neighbours. The great thing was that our early onset festivities would leave me the opportunity to go to bed hours before the stroke of midnight.

Which, I admit, I took full advantage of.

Seeing as how I'd put in a full day at work and Boo was going to have to head off to work early on New Year's Day, we decided to have a little stay-at-home whoop-de-doo of our own making instead of heading out on the town or joining in at some extravagant soirée. Not that we didn't try to do it right all the same. I think a little caviar and a martini is equally festive whether you're imbibing at home or on the town.

1840.  2005 Poplar Grove Syrah (Okanagan Valley)

I'd been waiting for an appropriate time to pull the cork on this bottle - and some New Year's Eve sipping along with a helping of lamb strip loin seemed like a pretty good time to me. I remember being so happy when I was able to grab a couple bottles of this Syrah at the (old) winery some years back. Poplar Grove's founder and proprietor had led a tasting at a BC Wine Appreciation Society summer BBQ and I'd been gobsmacked by the Syrah. The problem was that, at the time, Poplar Grove didn't grow any Syrah of its own and they'd only managed to buy enough fruit to make 475 cases. To make things "worse," the grower who'd provided this fruit wasn't going to sell his Syrah grapes any longer and, accordingly, there were no further plans for this Syrah in the foreseeable future.

Times have certainly changed at Poplar Grove in the last decade - scads of investment, expansion, new winery and all - but this '05 Syrah was a highlight of the old boutique winery days for me. I think the additional ageing had taken its toll on some of the brilliant fruit that I'd remembered so vividly but that just resulted in a more subdued and nuanced palate. Or maybe the wine was just overshadowed a bit by the stellar lamb. Rino at Cioffi's had butchered some loin for us and I swear it was the tastiest, most melt-in-your-mouth-iest lamb I can remember having chowed down on.

It was a pairing that I'd have been delighted with at any restaurant in town.

1841.  N.V. Taittinger Nocturne Rosé (Champagne - France)

Come 9 pm - I mean "midnight" - we popped the cork on a bottle of Taittinger's Nocturne Rosé. This was one of my favourite discoveries at last spring's Vancouver International Wine Festival. We may have been "cheating" on the time this New Year's Eve, but we didn't cheat one iota on the bubbly. There's little doubt that the flamboyant label grabs your eye because this was the wine I'd chosen to give my sis, Vixen, as a wedding shower gift and Elzee had similarly reached for the bottle as a Christmas gift to Boo and I.

Good thing the wine inside the bottle is as bright and tasty as the label on the outside. As Taittinger uses a cane sugar dosage as a final component of this bubbly, there is a residual sweetness to the wine but it remains subtle enough that the wine can be used in any number of circumstances - including toasting your sweetie as you head into a new year.

It might have been a simple celebration but here's hoping that 2015 is as tasty and as enjoyable as this evening was. Here's wishing everyone all the best for the year to come.

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