Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hitting The Hot Springs

Our stay in Tofino was limited to a couple of days and only four bottles for The List. Somehow, two nights at the Long Beach Lodge didn't seem nearly long enough. We were fortunate, however, in that our stay in the area wasn't fully over. We just needed to move along a little - in this case, by boat, up Clayoquot Sound to Hot Springs Cove.

We woke up to a foggy morning and a bit of a worry that our whale watching tour/taxi ride wouldn't actually leave port. But by the time we were scheduled to ship off, the fog had cleared enough that we were told that we'd at least make it our short distance up the coast. We might not see much on the way up there, but we would at least make it to our destination.

As luck would have it, the fog cleared enough that we kept to the scheduled route on the ocean side of the coast. We would have liked to open a bottle to sip a little wine while enjoying the scenery - and I don't think the captain would have objected - however, I don't think that there was much chance that the wine would have actually stayed in the glass. Two foot swells may not sound like much, but we were definitely rockin' those waves. It was hard to believe that, had we just kept moving in the direction we were heading, we wouldn't have run into anything until we landed on Japanese shores. The size of the boat's gas tank might have had a limiting factor on the length of our cruise though.

I can't say that we were overwhelmed by breaching whales or leaping dolphins and I've still never seen a killer whale in the wild, but we did see a some grey whales spouting spray from their blowholes and one or two flukes in the air.

Our destination was The Innchanter, a B&B - that's Boat & Breakfast - that moors in a remote bay at Hot Springs Cove. The natural hot springs are found at the end of a 2-kilometer hike along a wooden boardwalk through old growth forest. The hot springs start as a 47 degree Celsius (117 degree F.), 10-foot waterfall shower that cascades down a series of small, natural rock pools until it reaches the cooler waters of the Sound.
By staying at The Innchanter, we managed to hit the hot springs at high tide, when the cool surf surges up into the lower pools for a blend of hot and cold water. When not relaxing in the spring's waters, there's the surrounding cliffside to sit back on and take in the spectacular wilderness scenery. An even better perk is that we didn't even hike over to the hot springs until all the daytrippers needed to pack up to head home. We got to enjoy the serenity of the location with only a handful of other folks - most of whom were also guests at the B&B.

221. 2006 Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley - California)

The Ravenswood was chosen partly because the classy label design of the intertwined ravens seemed to fit in with the nature surrounding us. The fact that we knew the bottle would be perfectly delicious didn't hurt either. We've tried their wines on numerous occasions previously and, with "No Wimpy Wines" as a corporate catch phrase, the rugged outdoors was bound to be represented.

Ravenswood may have been gobbled up by the wine juggernaut, Constellation, but it is still recognized as a good California brand - at least here in BC. They have three product lines: the Single Vineyard wines, the County Series, and the Vintner's Blend (which can source its fruit state-wide). The Lodi Zin is part of the County Series and features fruit from the area that may not quite be distinctive enough to be a designated vineyard profile but is still noteworthy enough to assist in creating a taste that speaks of location. It's also seen as a decent value and is a regular on restaurant lists in and about Vancouver.

I'm going to have to do another check through my postings but I didn't have a "label" set up yet for Zinfandel. If this is the first Zin to make The List, I'm rather taken aback by that fact. We don't tend to drink a lot of Californian wine in our household, but I'm actually quite a fan of Zin's. I'll have to remedy the lack of Zin in my life, methinks.

As much as we might have stayed a lot longer soaking and sipping away, we still had to make the hike back to the dock and kayak ourselves back to The Innchanter. So, we didn't finish the entire bottle. That just meant, however, that we'd have a bit left for later on.

It may not have been entirely "Zinful," but it was certainly a decadent start to this portion of the vacation.

No comments:

Post a Comment