Monday, February 22, 2010

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oy, Oy, Oy.

During the week leading up to the Vancouver Games, one of the lead stories for a day or so was the fact that the International Olympic Committee had issued an edict to the Australian team that they could not hand their 30 metre square "Fighting Kangaroo" flag from a balcony in the Athletes' Village. Vancouverites were aghast and, en masse, took to the airwaves to proclaim their disdain for the IOC. The mayors of both Vancouver and neighbouring Surrey announced that they would fly the flag throughout their respective cities if the IOC didn't back down.

Sure enough the IOC decided better than to take on both the Aussies and the host city. However, the damage had been done. The story went international - particularly down under - and many a Vancouver home, including our's, found a boxing kangaroo flag to fly.

Shortly after that, Boo and I received a call from out of the blue. With all the extra publicity the flag flap was getting in Melbourne, our buddy, Merlot Boy, rang us up to see if we could put him up if he could find a last minute flight. Seems he couldn't handle the thought of watching the Games on the telly when he'd intimately know so many of the locations from his numerous visits.

Well, gosh darn, if he didn't do it!! Couldn't arrange things to get here until the first week of the Games was almost over, but he arrived in time to take in the final ten days and see "his second home" at its winter best.

He arrived on the Thursday and, wouldn't you know it, his arrival coincided with Australian, Torah Bright, winning a gold medal in Women's Snowboard Half-Pipe. Feeling magnanimous, I told Merlot Boy that we'd fly the Fighting Roo flag at our place until we'd replace it with the Canadian Maple Leaf when we won our next gold medal. How could the next wine be anything but Australian?

369. 2002 Cape Jaffa Shiraz (Limestone Coast - Australia)

Since Merlot Boy is still not drinking as part of his new diet regime, it doesn't matter one wit that this is a Shiraz and not a Merlot. I first ran across Cape Jaffa at an Australia Wine Appreciation Society tasting a couple of years back. Derek and Anna Hooper, principals and winemakers for Cape Jaffa, came to introduce their wines to the Vancouver area and I was captivated with both the wines and the winery's commitment to biodynamic production.

Cape Jaffa was the first fully certified biodynamic vineyard on the Limestone Coast (300 km south of Adelaide) and one of only four in South Australia. The region is consider cool climate Australian and the Hooper's are steadfast in holding that their "holistic approach" of no artificial fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides or pesticides results a closer definition of the relationship between vine, vineyard and the wine that results.

It doesn't take much imagination to taste a stronger earthiness to the flavours in the wine. If it takes the tying of vineyard operations to the phases of the moon and intriguing fertilizing concoctions to create a wine of such intensity, I think it might be worthy of more investigation.

Our little Aussie celebration actually continued into the next day as well because Merlot boy had asked Boo and I to keep his arrival a surprise from our mutual friends - including Daveyboi, Mr. D and Elzee. Daveyboi was out of town on the Thursday arrival, so we forced our way into his place to start the weekend. It took a bit of convincing because, all this time, we were referring to Merlot Boy as "an Aussie friend" of his, Adam, that was coming to town. All Daveyboi knew was that Merlot Boy had asked us to give Adam a bit of guidance and to play tour guide if he asked. I told Daveyboi that this was our only chance to get together with Adam and go out for dinner. There simply was no saying "no."

When Daveyboi opened his apartment door and saw Merlot Boy grinning there, he just stood stunned. He truly needed a glass of our next bottle to get over the shock.

370. 2006 Wits End Free Settler & The Convict Shiraz/Grenache (South Australia)

I couldn't find as much information about this wine on the net. It's hard to forget the name though; so, I
know that I've seen it at a couple of parties over the last couple of years. Turns out, Wits End is the marketing name that Chalk Hill winery uses for its wines in North America.

Like Cape Jaffa, Chalk Hill is located south of Adelaide in South Australia; however, Chalk Hill is only 60 km away. While Chalk Hill has yet to go the organic or biodynamic route of Cape Jaffa, it still boasts a commitment to the environment. The winery has associated itself with and donates partial proceeds to Greening Australia, an organization committed to protecting and resoring the health, diversity and productivity of unique Australian landscapes.

Not even the thrill of a gold medal, the laugh of surprising Daveyboi, nor the healthy nature of both of these wines was enough to get Merlot boy to join in with us on a sip.
For the moment, he was satisfied with being here and taking in the sights - including the Vectoral Elevation lights from Daveyboi's balcony. The big question was how much longer could he hold out?

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.......

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