Sunday, July 26, 2015

Joy Oh Joie. Fireworks

Vancouver's fireworks show at English Bay are a long-standing summer tradition. Immensely popular with residents and tourists alike, crowds are regularly estimated to hit a half-million every evening - with some groups arriving up to eight hours in advance to ensure a good viewing spot. Indeed, years ago, the fireworks even provided a finale to Boo's and my engagement.

The unfortunate thing about the fireworks is that they're so popular and the crowds are so large that it can be a lengthy hassle getting home - especially on a school night. We were lucky on this Saturday night in that we were invited by the BC Wine Appreciation Society's resident poet laureate to join his little gathering 26 stories above English Bay. Boo and I have watched fireworks from all sorts of locales but this was by far the most outstanding. It was as if we were as close as you could get to the explosion of colour - and well worth the delay in getting to bed.

It seemed a no-brainer to me that fireworks would call for bubbles.

1960.  2014 JoieFarm - Plein de Vie Brut (Okanagan Valley)

Boo and I visited the brand spanking new tasting room that JoieFarm opened late this spring. Having left with a rather extensive assortment of their wines, we were happy to include a bottle of their first release of a sparkling wine. Plein de Vie (or "Full of Life") blends the traditional Champagne grapes - Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier - that result in an intriguing, deep pink bubble. Bright with Jolly Rancher and Turkish Delight on the nose, I would have expected a Baby Duck sweetness to the wine. The palate was anything but though - a dryer, tarter taste of rhubarb and cranberry followed the bubbly-gum nose. Quite the unexpected contrast.

I haven't seen actual production numbers but I suspect that this first vintage saw a very limited bottling. The wine was only available at the Tasting Room and odds are it won't last long as it clocks in at a very reasonable $18.

Our BCWAS drinking buddies, Shelback and Chewbacca were also on the guest list; so we staked our claim on a prime viewing spot on the rooftop balcony and sipped away as we watched the crowds gather below and waited for the show. The bubble didn't last nearly long enough but that's where growlers and host cocktails come in handy.

The evening's show was orchestrated by China and it was stunning. They used colours and shapes that I'd certainly never seen before. There were even hearts and happy faces thrown in for good measure. The "oohs" and "aahs" were plentiful and well deserved.

We just have to hope to make next year's guest list.

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