Sunday, February 14, 2010

An Olympian Task

It's now only Day 1 of the Games and it's become apparent that having the Olympics in your own city can pose some scheduling issues. When everyone is playing half way across the world, it's merely a question of balancing work and the television. With the party going on right here in Vancouver, all of a sudden, we're juggling the sports on TV, fitting in the events we actually managed to find tickets for, hitting the streets to join in with the revellers and see the sights, meeting up with friends - and, unfortunately, making it into the office on a daily basis. What's a boy to do?

And then, to top it off, there's this little old blog to try and keep up with - because, believe it or not, there's going to be some wine consumed over the next couple of weeks. In the spirit of a gold medal effort, I've decided to have a little "sporting" event of my own. For the duration of the Games, I've decided that any wines we open need to come from a country that won a gold medal on the previous day (or earlier that day if the medal was awarded in the morning sessions).

And so - with a grand goal in mind - we set off to experience the growing buzz. Tyrant was having an Olympic cocktail party that night, so Boo and I headed downtown to wander the scene with Mr. D, Daveyboi and San Diego's Trailer Dolly who had flown up for the Opening Ceremonies. Even
on only Day 1, the line ups had started building for any of the Olympic festival events or pavilions. We managed to take in the Olympic Cauldron but we weren't getting into anything else like the live music sites.We settled for people watching and some of the more creative window displays.

And a bit of refreshment before Tyrant's party. We decided to visit the first ever Pride House that was being presented at an Olympic Games. We didn't run across any Olympians that needed directions (or massages after a tough event), but we did get to watch the Canadian women's hockey team beat up the Slovak gals and to catch Canada's first medal - a silver to Jenn Heil in Women's Moguls.

It was time to head over to Tyrant's and we'd already been to the bottle shop to pick up some wine. The first gold medal winners of the day didn't exactly offer up much in the way of choice when it came to my Olympian task however. Three golds had been awarded - to, wait for it, Slovakia, Holland and Switzerland. Now I know these are the Winter Olympics and maybe countries that excel in winter sports aren't necessarily going to be those best known for wine, but I'd hoped for a little more opportunity than these three. I know that even these countries produce some wine - but try to find any of it in Vancouver. Not going to happen.

Here I was being stumped on my first day and I had to settle for a couple of countries that won silver medals - France and Italy.

361. 2006 Laurent Miquel Nord Sud Shiraz/Viognier (Vin de Pays d'Oc - France)

362. 2008 Beni di Batasiolo Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC Dolcetto d'Alba - Piedmont - Italy)

The Tyrant had been hoping to have a series of cocktail parties through the Games with a grand assortment of out-of-towners coming by for a bit of West Coast hospitality but getting the word out there was tougher than expected. So, tonight's do was a multi-purpose celebration - a combination Olympics, Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year soiree all rolled into one. It made for a grand assortment of nibblies and guests. I met rather diverse group of folks, many of whom were indeed guests to the city - including one that I got involved with in a somewhat
heated discussion. Our chat led to the protesters that were not only pretty high profile but (in my opinion) crossing the line of where free speech becomes pure nihilism and anarchy. Luckily the rising voices didn't draw the attention of our host.

The heat just meant that I needed to refill my glass sooner than I might have needed to otherwise. Luckily, Snowsmoker had recovered from the UW Deke anniversary sufficiently enough to venture up the I-5 from Seattle for the weekend and he brought along a lovely Washington Cab.

363. 2007 Amavi Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla - Washington)

I don't think I'd heard of this winery before but it's a family run, small production operation that is apparently known south of the border as a "value superstar." It regularly makes "best of" lists, particularly for wines under $30. The winery's name and logo - Amor, Vita, Vinum - incorporates the Latin roots for "love," "life" and "wine." Not a bad idea for a celebration like the Olympics.

Boo and I actually made an early night of it since we were going to head back downtown again in the morning with my niece, Skeletor (she's going to need a new name eventually I think) and she was arriving at some ungodly hour. We wandered back to the Skytrain station via the crowds and realized that the street party was officially on. It was after 11.00 and the streets were busier than any weekend afternoon.

As we were passing the Art Gallery, we thought we'd run into another protest group, but, no, this was a swinging crowd. I gather it was a flash mob that had been Twittered to dress up and meet on the Gallery steps for a flashback dance as Billie Jean blasted from multiple ghetto blasters.

This kind of gang I can handle. Made me want to grab another cocktail and join in. But the morning beckoned and there'd be plenty more bottles for us to celebrate with before the Games are done.

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