Sunday, January 24, 2010

Curling Cocktails

Lately, it seems like we've been opening a number of bottles and adding them to The List thanks to invites to the Tyrant's. I'm sure that there must be incredible prestige (tee hee) when anyone finds themselves mentioned in this blog, but I don't think that Tyrant is making a conscious effort to score the biggest number of "Drinking Buddy" points. I'll have to do a tally of just who we sip wine with and see who our "luscious" (sic, and pun intended) friends are.

Far be it from me to turn down an invite for another evening of wine and friends - particularly when I've mentioned that Tyrant is the commensurate host. Tonight's soiree was being held in honour of some of Tyrant's friends who had flown in from Toronto for our club's big curling bonspiel on the weekend. Tyrant took advantage of the opportunity to also invite the team that he was going to play with and our regular team members.

The intent was to have a couple of glasses of wine and then maybe move on for dinner, but Tyrant had enough food to feed five or six teams, let alone our two and a half. We just nibbled and noshed our way until dinner was no longer necessary.

As always the wine was varied:

330. 2006 Grao Vasco Red (Dao DOC - Portugal)

Still red wines from Portugal aren't always that easy to find in Vancouver, although we're tending to see a larger choice of wines with each passing year. Unlike many of the wines showing up on our shelves that are higher end (and higher priced), this bottle is entry level priced at $10. I suppose that, with such a bargain price, it shouldn't be too surprising that this winery is operated as part of the Sogrape group which is the largest wine producer is Portugal.

The wine is a blend of the varietals most common to the Dao region. They might be common there but I dare say that few folks, in our neck of the woods, have heard of Jaen, Alfrocherio, Tinta Pinheira, Touriga Nacional or Tinta Roriz. The taste profile isn't your basic Merlot either. However, it is a decent way to introduce one's self to some different varietals and areas.

331. 2007 Ganton & Larson Prospect Winery Haynes Barn Merlot/Cabernet (VQA Okanagan Valley)

It was interesting that the boys from Ontario picked out this wine to bring to the table. Ganton & Larson Prospect is a fairly new label on the BC wine scene. People see it around but they don't seem to know much about it. Chances are, the story will become a bit more commonly known. G&L is actually a mid-range offshoot of Mission Hill. As I understand it, the flagship winery is going to limit its brand to its higher end wines - Oculus, Perpetua, Compendium and some of their select lot wines. G&L is one of the separate brands that is being positioned to take over from Mission Hill's Five Vineyards level.

Each of the G&L wines is named after a historical place, figure, animal or item from the Okanagan. Haynes Barn is a landmark building on a former homestead of a prominent landowner and cattle rancher in the Oliver area. Each label also features a piece of art, by a local artist, commemorating the label's namesake.

332. 2006 Bodegas La Milagrosa Milcampos Tempranillo (Ribera del Duero DO)

Tyrant proffered yet another reasonably priced Spanish wine that truly did deliver. I think this was my favourite wine of the evening and a full varietal Tempranillo isn't often the first bottle that I'd reach for.

The wine is produced in the Ribera del Duero region which is located on Spain's northern plateau. The primary red grape is the Tempranillo and the area is becoming more and more of a showcase area for Spanish wines - after Rioja and Priorat. It had plenty of body, fruit and, at $18, it was well worth the price.

There were more bottles opened during the course of the evening but I limited my partaking to these three. It was a work night after all and I didn't want to be at a disadvantage come our first game the next day. After all, I have a slight suspicion that the evening was a bit of a veiled attempt to try and sabotage the Toronto team by ensuring that they wouldn't be at their best. Ply 'em with wine and hope that a hangover inhibits their collective delivery of the rocks. I suppose anything goes with these East/West rivalries.

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