Monday, January 25, 2010

Pacific Rim Curling Bonspiel

This is going to be one of those entries that has more to do with the event and the people than it will about the wine. But a bottle for The List is a bottle for The List.

I don't think too many folks associate curling with wine. Beer, yes - and lots of it. But it's not that often that I'd expect to sip on a Chardonnay after eight ends of rocks have been thrown. But this wasn't exactly an ordinary game.

Come to think of it, my guess is that a weekend of curling is hardly one of the initial associations one makes with a couple hundred gay men. Having signed up for a spare, "throw together" team in the annual Pac Rim Bonspiel, I was spending the pretty much the whole weekend at the curling rink and this boy no longer lives on beer alone.

Despite the fact that the new Olympic curling "stadium" is immediately next door to our old rink, I can't say that we were playing Games calibre curling. Our team ended up 1 and 2 over the weekend, but we weren't blown out in either of our two losses. Our post-game escapades were more medal-worthy however.

We played our first game on Friday night, so we didn't stick around for but one beer that evening. We were finished up by 7pm on Saturday though, so I picked up one of the bottles that were available at the bar and settled in to watch part of the next round of games.

333. 2008 Concha Y Toro Frontera Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Central Valley - Chile)

It won't come as any surprise that this is just a simple, easy drinking, entry level wine. Even with the club mark-up, it was still only $15. But, it certainly disappeared soon enough from the glass. And it helped set a receptive mood - at least on my part - for the evening's floor show.

The highlight of the evening's festivities saw three of bonspiel's teams nervous and surprised as they were "randomly" picked to participate - for the first time ever - in a little competition called "Drag in a Bag." Each team had to nominate one of their members to transform themselves into ravishing beauties, using the shopping bag of accoutrements that each team was lovingly presented by the one and only Bill Munroe.

Good thing each of the guys was a great sport because the laughs were full and plentiful - and not just because of the wine. What they didn't know as they got dolled up was that each contestant would also have to bring out her inner diva and channel Shania, Diana or Beyonce and perform a musical number that they randomly picked out of a hat.

All three of them could have full - and maybe even successful - drag queen careers ahead of them. Despite the fact that she might have needed a bit of a shave, the ravishing beauty in blue and her sassy rendition of Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) wowed everyone and was a clear favourite with the crowd. I didn't see her sporting her crown during Sunday's games though.

Full kudos to all three of our impromptu queens and to the organizers. There were many glasses raised to them and I'm sure they all needed more than one glass of wine after the performances.

334. 2008 Wild Horse Canyon Shiraz (Cellared in Canada)

Our team didn't quite make it to any of the finals, but I was still ready for another drink at the post-bonspiel banquet. Like last night at the curling club, tonight's wine was another entry level bottle but I did find out a few things that I didn't know about the wine behind the label. Artisan Wine produces the Wild Horse Canyon label (as well as the Rigamarole wines found earlier on The List) and it is an offshoot of Mission Hill.

They've found an interesting way to address the whole "cellared in Canada" issue - where the wines are assembled and cellared in Canada but the bulk of the grapes and wine can be sourced from any region in the world. Wild Horse has fashioned a "West Coast Appellation" that consists of grapes sourced from BC, Washington state and California. I couldn't find a breakdown of the percentages from each region, but my guess would be that this wine is primarily from California as BC and Washington Shiraz grapes tend to be on the expensive side and this wine is still sold in BC at $13. In fact, it is apparently the third best selling brand, in the $10-$13 category, in BC after Australia's Lindemans and that other little Aussie wine [yellow tail].

It might not have been as fruity as last night's impromptu drag show, but some might see that as a good thing. For $13, I can see some value there though. It won't be a regular purchase of mine but I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid it either.

It had been a number of years since I'd participated in the bonspiel. Having had as much fun as I did, I'll hope to be able to fit it in next year as well. Maybe if we can manage a second win in 2011, we'll add even more bottles to The List in celebration. Bargain wine or not though, I think I'll do my best to avoid being volunteered for the 2nd annual Drag in a Bag pageant should they have it.

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