Saturday, February 6, 2010

Olympic Buzz - Fact or Fiction?

So, with a week to go until the Opening Ceremonies, there have been two major topics of discussion making the rounds - firstly, the warm weather and lack of snow on local mountains and, then, the lack of any palpable buzz among the general populace. It doesn't look like there's going to be any change to the weather at all, but the excitement does seem to be building. It's just surprising that it really has taken this long.

If anyone is doing her part to build the buzz, it's Lady Di. She invited Boo and I over so that he could take some pictures of the Olympic Rings that she and She Who Must Be Obeyed have hung on their balcony. She then did her utmost to ensure that Boo would get caught up in her new passion of Olympic pin collecting. As you can see, she's off to a grand start - before the Games have even opened.

Speaking of "opened," you know there's a wine twist to this entry and it's a big'un. The girls are in the midst of some kitchen renovations and the new super-size fridge was delivered in the afternoon. Everything had to be moved around and boxes were blocking parts of the hallway and closets - and that included the wine closet! The best she could do was slip an arm into the closet and just pull out the first bottle that she could locate.

Lucky us!! I'm ever so glad that she didn't put it to the side and reach in for another.

344. 2002 Barossa Valley Estate Black Pepper Shiraz (Barossa - Australia)

This is one heckuva "special occasion" wine. Black Pepper Shiraz has been scored at 90+ points by Wine Spectator for nine years in a row and the 2002 vintage was given a whopping 97. James Halliday, one of Australia's leading wine writers is just as effusive about the wine. He gives it a 95. Black Pepper Shiraz was also named by Wine Spectator as one of Australia's Top 25 Benchmark wines.

Normally, I'm not one to just bow down to high wine scores, but I do crave this wine and have had the opportunity to enjoy on more than a couple of occasions. Lady Di and I went to an Australia Wine Appreciation Society tasting four or five years back where, BVE's winemaker (and resident character), Stuart Bourne, kept us entertained and enthralled by both his stories and his wine. I'd try to get a lot more of this Shiraz but they generally come in at around $100 a pop and, unfortunately, that's not my regular price point.

Good thing we loved the girls' rings and pin collection. Otherwise, I might have been afraid that the Lady could pop a cork in the bottle after one glass and shuttle us out the door. Instead, we decided to go for a bit of tour of the West End to look for other examples of rings and/or Olympic fever. Driving around the downtown with an open bottle of wine wasn't going to be the best of choices in these security laden times; so, we sacreligiously poured the balance of the bottle in those mini-Coke bottles. The wine was dark enough that it might have passed for coke - so long as no one tried to smell them.

These were truly "road pops" like no other.

Our first stop was the giant rings off Stanley Park, in Coal Harbour, where we could look back at the city and the lit up Trade & Convention Centre. This was the first time that we've seen the rings from this viewpoint and they look great. We weren't there at one of the times when the rings go through varying shows of colour but they're still one of my favourite installations for the Games.

We carried on to English Bay and Sunset Beach where the big Vectorial Elevation installation lights up the night sky. By now the Coke bottles were long empty, so we watched the light variations for a bit and moved on. There were maybe another two sets of Olympic Rings hanging on balconies.

I trust the buzz is coming. Guess we'll find out by this time next week.

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