Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tippling The Solstice Away

For our Tenth Wine of Christmas, my True Love Drank with Me,
Many Solstice Tipples.

One of the traditional highlights of the holiday season for the last so many years has been the Tyrant's Mid-Winter's Eve Solstice party. One of the Tyrant's many talents is throwing a bang-up bash. As our fair city gets ready for 2010 and hosting the Winter Olympics, Tyrant, very wittily, incorporated the Olympic rings into his invite as Christmas tree ornaments. That's just the tip.

Having known him for over three decades now, we've seen a lot of mutual acquaintances and friends pass through and form part of our lives. This annual soiree has become a much anticipated chance to catch up with a great many of those folks - when we might not get many opportunities to cross paths in our every day lives.

And this year was no different. In fact, I think the number of people that I reminisced with might have been bigger than ever. I saw some old friends that had move back to Vancouver after many years, some that I rarely see because they live out in the Valley or have kids that keep them too occupied for socializing and still others that I just haven't seen but a handful of times since we were at university together all those years ago.

As always, there was an endless supply of fine wine and tasty hors d'oeuvres. The only regret was that the Solstice fell on a Monday night this year; so, I had to try and be a good boy. I could have - and would have liked to - add a number of wines to The List after tonight, but I found a new wine that I liked and I decided to simply stick with it.

296. 2007 Cellars Can Blau Monstat (D.O. Monstat - Spain)

Lately, Tyrant has been seduced by the new assortment of tasty, and well-valued, wines coming out of Spain. This is yet another. When many of the sought-after BC wines are now regularly hitting $40 a bottle and up, it's pretty tough to drink them on an everyday basis - and even tougher to entertain a large crowd on. A viable alternative, however, is the selection of Spanish wines that offer some varietal nuance and exposure to new areas of winemaking.

As noted in this wine's name, it hails from the Monstat appellation which is a horseshoe shaped region that wraps arounds the highly valued (and much higher priced) Priorat appellation. The wine is a blend of Rhone varietals and is the entry level wine for the winery.

The blend consists of the Carignan, Syrah and Grenache varietals - although Carignan is called Mazuelo in the region - and, like the Rhone wines it "mimics," it offers up some nice structure with obvious fruit and tannins. I'll definitely look to try it again and look forward to an opportunity to taste the premium bottle offered up by Can Blau.

It looks like the only picture I took of tonight's bottle was one where I posed with Skipper while giving him a tour of Tyrant's wine cellar. I'd have been very happy to just close the door behind us - so long as we had a corkscrew - and spend a bit of time to ourselves. I can tell you, I'd have a few more additions to The List were that scenario to ever happen.

What fun! Happy Solstice everyone (or whatever the appropriate greeting is).

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