Monday, November 9, 2009

Hot Springs Cove

We've got a full day at The Innchanter and Hot Springs Cove today. Sounds good for a bit of R&R and then some adventure in the great outdoors.

We went for an early morning soak at the hot springs - walking the entire 2km boardwalk through the morning light and old growth without bumping into a single other person. Since no daytrippers had arrived yet, about four or five us from the B&B had all the pools to ourselves.

After a frittata brunch back at the ship, we said goodbye to some of the guests that weren't staying any longer. Then Boo and I grabbed a couple of the kayaks that were available and went for a paddle around the cove and out a tidal channel that took us to the edge of the Pacific.

These weren't exactly ocean kayaks and we didn't dare go past the start of the channel. They might not have been the swells that we motored through yesterday, but the thought of negotiating any waves was not for us (or at least not for me).

Unfortunately, there wasn't any real landing point that looked comfortable enough to sit back and enjoy a glass, so we just carried on back to the dock to go for another soak. We did, however, come "close" to catching dinner. As we were paddling back across the cove, a nice-sized salmon took a leap just a couple of feet in front of Boo's kayak. If he'd been any closer, the fish might jumped right into his lap or he might have been able to grab it. No picture of that laugh though.

The next laugh - which is still ongoing - was that Boo had me stop under an interesting branch while hiking the boardwalk. Many of the planks forming the walk have seen names carved into them to commemorate the people and boats that have visited Hot Springs Cove.

While stopping for the photo, I looked down at the plank I was standing on and, sure enough, it was as if someone carved the plank just for me. It memorialized Halifax - my last name. Okay, the full carving did say "Minke + Halifax;" so I figured "Minke" must have been destined to be a new nickname for Boo. I just referred to him as "My Little Minke" from then on - much to his chagrin. He wondered aloud if that meant that I thought of him as a whale.

Minke whale or not, it definitely called for a quick sip - if only to see if our next bottle was still good for consumption.

223. 2008 Yalumba Y Series Viognier (Barossa Valley - Australia)

Viognier is one of my favourite white wine varietals and, although it was almost entirely seen as a grape used in certain Rhone appellations in France, it seems to have caught on as a bit of an "it" grape over the last decade or two. Nowhere has it gained a bigger foothold than with Yalumba. Following a 1980 trip to Condrieu in the Rhone, one of the winery principals brought back some cuttings and the first three acres of Barossa Viognier were planted.

Yalumba now has over 70 acres planted and has "the largest mature Viognier resources and oldest commercial vines in the Southern Hemisphere." Considering the perceived difficulty in growing the challenging varietal, this is quite the commitment by Yalumba. It seems to be paying off, however. They produce four varietal wines and also use some for the traditional practice of blending a portion of Viognier with Syrah or Shiraz.

A great many people are being introduced to Yalumba Viognier by its "Winemaker - Communications," Jane Ferrari. It's Jane's job to travel the world as an ambassador and spread the gospel of Yalumba. The first time I heard of her speaking in Vancouver was a couple of years back when she was presenting a seminar entitled, "The Viognier Monologues," at the Vancouver Playhouse Wine Festival. A former winemaker for Yalumba and others, Jane is a captivating speaker with a story for every and any occasion.

Boo and I enjoyed our bottle on a couple of stops on the hike back from the hot springs. The first spot was a short path off the boardwalk that led down to the closest thing there was to a beach along this part of the shoreline. The Y-Series is vinified by Yalumba to be an up-front style to capture the varietal's fruit and citrus, as well as its characteristic aromatics.

It's made to be drunk young to keep the the grape's profile in a heightened state - and our oceanside location, followed by a lookout point along the boardwalk, just seemed to fit perfectly with the freshness of the wine.

No comments:

Post a Comment