Sunday, April 19, 2009

Another Tasting - How can I not add a number?

Vixen (the little sister) is hoping to graduate from the bottle of Baby Duck that she gave me for my last birthday.  And she hosted a wine tasting/seminar last night - inviting a group that ranged all over the map in wine knowledge.  From those who might have happily joined her in the Baby Duck, through those who enjoy drinking a bottle and can talk about it (but might not have a whole lot of knowledge or understanding of what is involved in creating the wine), to a couple of folks who intimately know their way around the local liquor store.

The Vixen arranged for a couple friends of her's to put together the tasting, present a whirlwind tour through the world of wine and, generally, have one of them play the role of Guru for the night.  The discussion was designed primarily as a mean of scratching the surface of the myriad topics that could be delved into.  That's a tough job.  He was basically taking a good portion of what you might find in a four to six week, first level wine course and cramming it into a couple of hours.  We touched on styles, varieties, regions, viticulture and vinification and managed to fit in four flights of wide-ranging wines as well.  And, like all good spiritual guides (pun intended), our Guru knows his stuff.

I enjoyed the fact that, early on, he confessed that his credentials largely flow from the fact that he just loves wine. Loves drinking it.  Loves learning about it.  Loves visiting the places where it's made and, particularly, loves meeting the people that make it.  My kind of guy.  

However, he did warn everyone present that such passion can have a definite drawback.  I won't say exactly how large his cellar is but suffice it to say that there are zeros involved - both numerically and monetarily.  If I had his cellar, I'd be much happier about my own "2001 Bottle" project.  I wouldn't have to make nearly as many trips to the store.

Despite the fact that I knew most of the basic information the Guru was presenting, there were still interesting and new tidbits and personal stories that can only come from hearing someone else's experiences.  I always find it intriguing to see how different people attack a wide topic - such as an introduction to wine - and to see what conversation points they bring to the table.  In fact, seeing what wines our Guru was actually going to bring to the table was one of the parts of the evening I was most looking forward to.

Because we really were just taking tasting portions and because I was "behaving myself" since the Sun Run 10k was to follow the morning after, I'm not counting any of the bottles in my count; however, the four flights were fun in their contrast and I think there were easily a couple that we tried that I'd be more than game to actually finish off on another occasion.  

We started with some bubbles, a Cremant de Bourgogne, followed by the first of four flights of three wines:  a German riesling,  a Kiwi sauvignon blanc and an Okanagan Rhone blend - viognier/roussane.  The second flight was all chardonnay - Chilean, BC (made with California grapes) and California (Napa).  Flight #3 was an Okanagan pinot noir, a Washington state merlot and a California (North Coast) cab.  Our final flight consisted of a California zinfandel, an Aussie shiraz and an Argentine malbec.  Is that diverse enough for you?

Even though this was the end of our tasting, the Guru had an extra treat in store for his disciples.  He dug into his cellar and brought along:

#21.  1995 Chateau Charlemagne Canon Fronsac (Bordeaux)

What can I say?  I'm going to include this wine in the bottle count simply because I did drink a full glass and a bit and because I don't expect many opportunities to try cellared wines such as this.  It's not the type of wine that you can just go into the liquor store and pick up a bottle.  1995 is thought of as a decent vintage for Bordeaux and the wine was still drinking fine - albeit more nuanced in its profile than the bottles we were trying in the tasting. A big shout out to the Guru for sharing.

But he wasn't done with us yet.   The Guru had one last surprise - a bottle of his buddy's home-made merlot.  We're not talking the local U-Brew though.  Our winemaker went from garagiste to one of the winemakers at the new Pacific Breeze Winery based in New Westminster.  I don't think there's much doubt that this was the best "home-made" wine I've tried.

All in all, a fun evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment