Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Rare Bird

Elzee joined us for a last-minute dinner invite. Just a little steak on the barbee but we were feeling a tad buoyant about the fact that we had actually harvested some zucchini from our community garden plot this year. I've tried growing zucchini for a couple years - because it's supposedly prolific, easy and low maintenance - but I'd yet to succeed with harvesting any veggies. For whatever reason, this year's totally different and I figured some ratatouille was a natural.

107. 2005 Pelee Island Winery Shiraz Cabernet (Ontario)

We don't see much Ontario wine for sale in BC - just another example of ridiculously regulated provincial liquor restrictions. We can find wines from all over the world, but wines from the same country? What are you crazy?!

Elzee finds herself in The Centre of The Universe (that is Toronto) every so often with her job and she brought this wine back with her. We were ever so glad that she did. We all quite enjoyed it.

Not knowing anything about the winery, I took a bit of a surf and found out that it's Canada's southernmost winery - quite a bit below the 49th parallel, at 42 degrees. With that location, it might seem natural that it could grow nice shiraz grapes. Although Pelee Island does produce a large variety of wines, many of them VQA, it turns out that the Shiraz component of this wine is actually imported (although I couldn't find out from where) and the back label of the bottle says "Shiraz (Petite Sirah) Cabernet blend." The last time I checked, Petite Sirah is a completely different varietal from Shiraz. Not only was the wine not all sourced from Ontario, but it wasn't even the varietal expected. Those Ontarians! Next thing you know, they'll be selling the Maple Leafs as Stanley Cup champions.

Good thing we liked the wine.

108. NV Seppelt Rutherglen Tokay DP37 (Rutherglen - Australia)

We were totally decadent when it came to the desserts. I'd already made up some creme brulee since I thought it might be interesting to try and infuse it with some of the lavender growing in the garden (it was). Then, Elzee brought along her world-famous (among our friends) lemon tart.

That just meant we had to have them both!!

We treated ourselves to an equally decadent dessert wine. The Oxford Companion to Wine exclaims that "Liquer Tokay is one of Australia's great gifts to the world." Tokay is described as "sumptuously hedonistic dark, sweet, alcoholic liquid..." that is made from the Muscadelle grape (which is traditionally called Tokay down under). The grapes are semi-raisined on the vine, then partially fermented and fortified with grape spirit before undergoing an unusual wood-ageing program that seems to incorporate aspects of sherry's solera system and Madeira's heat and oxidation.

Seppelt is an historic winery in the Barossa region; however, Tokay's centre of production is Rutherglen - a hot north-west corner of the state of Victoria. Seppelt has a full range of fortified wines and I'm willing to bet that there isn't a single one that I wouldn't fall for immediately.

This is the life.

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