Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Return to Sidney

After arriving back in Tofino from Hot Springs Cove, the plan had been to head straight out and try to hit a couple of wineries in the Cowichan Valley as we made our way down to Sidney. Our late flight out, due to the fog, kind of put the kaibosh on that plan - particularly when we stopped for a tad in Port Alberni.

Shaun, our host at the boat & breakfast, has some incredible native art gracing The Innchanter - masks in particular. We were compelled to ask where he found them. While most came directly from local artists, he did suggest one rather novel location - a pawn shop in Port Alberni that has developed a bit of a specialty in native art. It was a great tip and we saw some beautiful pieces and at prices that were substantially lower than the Tofino galleries. We decided to pick up an incredible grizzly bear mask, but the car was already packed to hilt and we couldn't have fit anything further even if we could have afforded to.

This left us even further behind and it was now after 5 pm. So, we didn't get the chance to drop in on Alderlea - our Island discovery. By the time we made it to Sidney and to Bella Jianna and Flyboy B's home - our new vacation paradise - it was getting close to 8.00. We were hard pressed to make it to a local fave restaurant of their's before the kitchen shut down.

Once again, I was rather surprised at the lack of Island wines on the restaurant list, but, wouldn't you know it, they did have yet another Alderlea wine available. So, what the hey...

225. 2007 Alderlea Bacchus (Vancouver Island)

Bacchus is another white wine grape that you don't see a lot of on its own as a varietal wine - at least not globally. That might be because it is not usually considered as producing an elegant wine. Rather it is used more to blend with other whites. It has a bit of foothold in BC though as it was planted here as it excels in cool weather growing conditions and can withstand the cold Canadian winters.

The grape was created in the 1930's by crossing Muller-Thurgau with a Silvaner x Riesling grape. It was only released as a varietal for general cultivation in 1972. As it ripens early, it is seen as a possible grape on the Island in areas that Riesling might not consistently flourish, especially since Vancouver Island doesn't feature the desert that much of the Okanagan Valley does.

Once again, Alderlea delivered. It seemed well suited to our mix of dishes, everything from chili squid and caesars through fish & chips and seafood pasta.

I didn't know how many wines Alderlea actually produces but we were certainly tasting a good assortment on this vacation.

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