Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Celebratory Martini

"For Our Eleventh Wine of Christmas, My True Love Drank with Me,
A Wine-based Martini."

297. 2007 Elephant Island Apricot (Okanagan)

Before I started our Wine Odyssey and this blog, we used to drink a lot more martinis than we do now. Another bottle of wine, rather than a stiff gin or vodka, just seems a tad more pressing nowadays. All the same, I'm not so sure that man can live on (or drink) wine alone. And, for this Christmas Eve, I figured that we could sip outside the lines for a bit of a treat.

Besides, I clearly remember that, many years ago, when we visited the Elephant Island Winery and bought our first bottle of their Apricot wine, the woman at the tasting bar told us that they particularly like to use the wine as a component of a vodka martini. She wasn't just whistling Dixie either. We generally try to keep a bottle on hand for just such an occasion. I also had to figure out a way to get the Absolut disco "ball"/bottle into a picture somehow. How could anyone who ever danced to "I Will Survive" or "It's Raining Men" not adore that little marketing play?!

As much as the Apricot wine lends a strong hand to some tasty mixed drinks, the winery markets it as a dessert wine and the sweet/tart combination appeals just as much to me as a wine as it does as a cocktail component. The price, at $18, is a heckuva lot less than BC's best known dessert wines - late harvest and icewines.

Honestly, there was no ulterior or cunning ploy to open an Elephant Island bottle just so that I could tie it in with a picture of Cam with his elephant. He just happened to get the elephant that night for a belated birthday present. He's one of those unlucky guys that have December birthdays. We don't always get to see him for his actual birthday and, this year, we were even later than usual.

Boo and I had decided to have my sis, Vixen, and her babies over for dinner since Boo was going to have to work Christmas Day and wouldn't be able to join everyone at Vixen's home until long after Christmas Dinner would be over. We left all the effort of a turkey for her though - nothing says lovin' like Costco lasagna (and maybe one early Christmas present) to a bunch of kids. They got a present so that the adults could have another glass of wine.

298. 2005 Col D'Orcia (DOC Rosso di Montalcino)

The story on Rosso di Montalcino - or Baby Brunello - deserves to be more fully fleshed out than I'll be able to go into here. Suffice it to say, that when eating Italian, you can rarely fail by drinking Italian as well. I don't think it would take much arm-twisting to get us to open another bottle of the Col d'Orcia.

Boo and I were lucky enough to visit the Montalcino region briefly during our vacation to Italy in 2008. We didn't see this winery or try any Col d'Orcia wines while there but we likely weren't far from it. Montalcino one of the hilltop towns in Tuscany not too far from Sienna. The Montalcino district is a relatively small area though - being less than a tenth of the size of the nearby Chianti region.

Rosso di Montalcino wines, like their big brother Brunello's, are made from 100% Sangiovese grapes (the same grape that is used in making Chianti), although they use a clone that has particularly adapted to the region's soils and conditions and is known as Brunello or Sangiovese Grosso. The big difference between the two wines is the
reduced period of time that the Rosso di Montalcino's have to age before release - one year versus three. This allows the wineries to make some earlier sales and earn some money much sooner and tends to result in a fresher, lighter wine than is seen with the Brunello's. It also results in prices that are about a third to half the price of the more expensive Brunello.

With all those Italian juices flowing now, a spirited game of the "new" World City Monopoly broke out. We've known for awhile that Skeletor is a master of "whine" - despite never having enjoyed a glass of wine - but who knew that she was so enamoured with London. I didn't get to buy Vancouver, but I did get Montreal and the latter is the new Boardwalk.

Cam got worried about not being home in time for Santa to visit though, so we didn't actually finish the game. We'd see everyone soon enough the next day anyhow.

Cheers and Merry Christmas to all!

No comments:

Post a Comment