Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Great Room, Finally

As mentioned in the previous post, in years past, Boo and I had been very intrigued with the look of the Long Beach Lodge during previous meanders along the Cox Bay beach. To me, it just screamed "you need to stay here and pamper yourselves." One of the most compelling features was the prospect of being able to lounge around in the Great Room.

It did not disappoint.

The Great Room provides a social centre for the Lodge and is my idea of "sit back and enjoy" - comfy chairs, incredible view, book in hand and bar mere feet away. You get the picture. The Great Room also contains the Lodge's limited restaurant tables and we had one booked to follow sunset on the beach.

Earlier in the afternoon, we'd come across a bride and groom walking along the beach and taking some wedding photos. Lo and behold, they were sitting at one of the tables next to us that evening. It was just the two of them as they'd decided to elope and avoid all the trials of a big wedding. Their biggest stress on this big evening was who was going to help eat their wedding cake. Refusing their offer of some cake was unthinkable. How can you say no to a bride on her wedding night - especially when she can clearly tell that there doesn't appear to much dieting going on at your table?

One of our hopes for this little jaunt was to get some exposure to some Island wines. There are over two dozen wineries on the Island now - and that doesn't include the Gulf Islands wineries. With low productions, a lot of Island wines just don't make it over to the Lower Mainland. I don't even recognize a lot of the winery names - let alone know what their wines taste like.

I was rather surprised to see that there wasn't much of a selection of Island wines available at the restaurant. I thought that a higher-end resort would strive to showcase local wines. I suppose it's somewhat understandable that there wouldn't be a big selection of reds. The Island's cooler climate is pretty much on the edge of being able to fully ripen most grapes, but surely there must be more than only one red worth serving (especially with Church & State nominally being an Island winery).

We ordered it.

218. 2007 Alderlea Clarinet (Vancouver Island)

Alderlea is one of those wineries that I was completely unfamiliar with. It is located outside Duncan in the Cowichan Valley and has been making wine since 1998. A good portion of that first decade has apparently been spent trying to identify the best varietals for growing and ripening in the Valley. There's been a lot of planting, ripping vines out and replanting, but proprietor, Roger Dosman, believes that he's identified some varietals that could shape the future of Island wines.

Clarinet is a proprietary name for Alderlea's Marechal Foch varietal. It's interesting that this was going to be our second Foch wine in a couple of weeks. It's hardly a common varietal. This wine may not be as well known as Quails' Gate Old Vines Foch, but it certainly deserves to be better known in the big city.

The best match of the evening for the wine with our chosen plates was my duck main. It worked beautifully. Considering our other courses were all seafood, we likely should have ordered a white but we'd already polished off the Pinot Grigio earlier in the evening. The food, however, was good enough to eat with only smaller sips every now and then. The little citrus pearls that they served with my scallops is definitely a twist that I'd love to try again.

All in all, the Great Room gave us the great start to our vacation that we'd hoped for.

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