Saturday, April 11, 2015

Birthday Treats at the Pear Tree

I was a happy Birthday Bob when Boo announced that we were heading off to the Pear Tree for dinner to celebrate yet another year having gone by. We shouldn't need an excuse to visit Scott and Stephanie Jaeger and what's likely our favourite restaurant in Vancouver but our waistlines couldn't handle eating this well all the time (even if I'd make some sacrifices wallet-wise to do so).

From scallops with English pea and bacon risotto through a surprise foie gras and brioche course to perfect beef and a birthday crème brûlee, every bite was masterful.

For a smaller restaurant, the Pear Tree has a fairly extensive wine list but, given the occasion, Boo and I brought along a treat from our own cellar.

1894.  2003 Penfolds RWT Shiraz - Bottle No. 38520 (Barossa Valley - Australia)

Seen by many as a baby brother to Penfold's flagship Grange, I'm just going to quote the winery's website to describe their take on this beauty: "Penfolds RWT Shiraz presents an admirable alternative to the multi-regional sourcing and American oak maturation that are hallmarks of Grange, expressing instead, single-region Barossa Valley Shiraz matured only in French oak. The initials RWT stand for 'Red Winemaking Trial,' the name given to the project internally when developmental work began in  1995. Naturally, now no longer a 'Trial,' RWT Shiraz was launched in May 2000 with the 1997 vintage. Its style is opulent and fleshy, contrasting with Grange, which is more muscular and assertive. RWT is made from fruit primarily selected for its aromatic qualities and fine texture rather than sheer intensity or power of flavour. The result is a wine that helps to redefine Barossa Shiraz at the highest quality level."

The wine was as rich as we'd expected it to be and it was restaurant co-owner and front of house wiz, Stephanie, who reminded us what an apt choice the bottle was since we'd celebrated my 50th at the restaurant as well and, on that occasion, Tyrant had brought along a bottle of Grange. To this day, that bottle of Grange remains one of my most memorable sips. That birthday was little bit before I started this Wine Odyssey, however, so the bottle never made it to The List. I'm thinking that, with little over 100 bottles to go before I hit my goal, this is the closest I'll get to knocking back a bottle of Grange before I hit the "finish line."

I might be able to accept that realization but I also see that the current vintage of RWT is up to $140 a bottle at the BC government stores. Maybe I should be dropping some hints as to future birthday presents because I'm certainly game to keep eating and drinking like this on all my birthdays (and any other days for that matter).

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