Tuesday, November 3, 2009

From the Ice onto the Fire - BBQ, that is.

Boo and I have been participating in the Pacific Rim Curling League for a number of years now. This is the Vancouver Gay Curling League (I know. Who would'a thunk it?! And it's actually one of the biggest leagues in the Lower Mainland with 37 teams) and we've put together a new team this year.

It might be a new team, but we've actually just gathered together a bunch of the gang (two of whom haven't been playing in the League - at least not regularly) and added a new young'un to the mix.

It looks like we're off to quite the start. The English Doctor invited the team (and dates) over to his place for a BBQ after we had a Sunday afternoon game. Oh yeah, we like to win, but the social aspect of the League is as almost as big a part as playing the games. You know I'm going to love a chance to fit in a game (a win at that) and then add some more bottles to The List.

214. 2001 Muros Antigos Alvarinho (Vinho Verde DOC - Portugal)

I've got to say that this was quite the surprise wine. I was rather intrigued when I saw the bottle in the Liquor Store. I only bought it a month or two ago, but it was a 2001 vintage. I always think of Vinho Verde as the young, "green" wine that's good as a summer spritz.

As you might guess from the picture, there's nothing green about this wine. If anything, this wine's looking rather oxidated and there was nothing fruity or acidic about it. At first, I simply thought that maybe the Liquor Store was off-loading a bunch of old wine, but that's not really like them to have a wine around that long after its time.

Then I saw that Alvarinho (also known as Albarino) isn't usually bottled as a varietal when it's a Vinho Verde wine - in the sense that I was thinking of above. Turns out that Vinho Verde is also an appellation region that produces other varietal wines - and I think that's the category that this wine falls into.

The winery's website says that this bottle can age well and continue to develop for over five years. We're past that point now, but I certainly think the bottle was well past its prime. If I were going to try another bottle or a similar one, I'd definitely make sure it was a much more recent vintage. Portugal may be one of the hot up and coming wine regions nowadays, but this bottle didn't help that image at all - at least not for me.

215. 2008 Finca Los Primos San Rafael Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina)

Finca Los Primos is label that was developed by the Valentin Bianchi winery in Mendoza and the Delf Group (wine agents in Vancouver) to help rebrand the winery in the Canadian market. It would seem to be working as this is apparently one of the biggest selling Malbecs in the province. No doubt the $11 price tag doesn't hurt.

There wasn't a lot to tell about the wine. Argentina's got the whole Malbec thing going on and this wine is an everyday version of the grape. It's not going to make me go running out to buy a case, but it's representative of the varietal. This bottle straddled cocktails and the ribs. Malbec can often stand on its own at a reception but this wine definitely worked better with the food for me.

216. 2005 Kilikannon Killerman's Run Shiraz (South Australia)

I've downed an awful lot of Aussie wine over the years but I think this is the first time that I've tried a wine from this winery. I dare say I hope it isn't the last as this was my favourite of the night.

Kilikanoon is a relatively new winery in South Australia - the state of Adelaide and many of the best loved wine producing regions in the country. The winery only produced its first vintage in 1997; however, it has already garnered top ratings from James Halliday. That's an accomplishment considering that Mr. Halliday is one of the most highly respected wine writers Down Under and praise in his annual rankings are most welcome.

This is an entry level wine for Kilikanoon. They have some big guns that go for big bucks and big ratings. But this wine is sourced from vineyards throughout the state and is designed for earlier drinking. It's definitely on the fruit-y, New World scale of winemaking, but it had more substance than a simple critter wine.

The English Doctor did us proud with ribs for days - and done two ways to boot. Good thing we'd worked up such a big appetite throwing and sweeping all those rocks on the ice. As if.

All the same, we'd actually recruited him for his curling skills, not his cooking and entertaining skills. Looks like we won both ways.

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