Monday, March 8, 2010

And the Winner is...

It's the Oscars and Boo was going to have to work until the Awards ceremony was pretty much over, so I put out a last-minute call to see if Elzee and/or Mr. D wanted to come over and watch the show and have some dinner. I don't know if it was the lure of the red carpet and starpower on the big screen or their imagining the aroma of camel kabobs that convinced them, but they both showed.

The pundits had it pretty much determined that it was going to be a show-down between Avatar and The Hurt Locker. We'd seen the former but not the latter. I had no idea what kind of dinner one would serve up on Navi. Plus, I didn't have any blue food colouring. So, the menu was planned more in honour of The Hurt Locker.

I may not have seen the movie but I knew that it was a story about Iraq. They eat camel in Iraq. We still have some camel steaks in the freezer. Hurt Locker it is. Add a little tsatziki, hummous, olives, spanakopita and cheese salad and we had a veritable Mediterranean/Middle Eastern dinner.

389. 2008 Rocky Creek Pinot Gris (VQA Vancouver Island)

I knew nothing about Rocky Creek before this wine. We don't see a lot of wines from the Island over here on the Mainland, but it was one of the few Island wines that I saw for sale (that wasn't at a winery) last October when Boo and I were visiting Bella Jianna in Sidney for Thanksgiving. The little sticker on the bottle said that it won gold at the All Canadian Wine Awards though, so we figured it'd be a good grab.

BC wine writer emeritus, John Schreiner, says that there's unlikely any other BC winery that has been established in the same manner as Rocky Creek. Owners, Mark and Linda Holford, hail from the oil industry and I quite like her recollection that they transitioned from "corporate suits to gumboots."

That's not the unique aspect of their roots though - there's currently a lot of Alberta money in the BC wine business. Rather, the Holfords started producing their wine in the basement of their former home - without the aid of having a vineyard to their name. They took the term "garagiste" to a new extreme. They didn't even have a garage. That's all changed with their acquisition of a Cowichan Bay vineyard and winery, but it was an interesting start.

I don't know if Pinot Gris has the allure of the Oscars, but the appies really called for a white. Tsatziki and hummous just don't seem to match up that well with any reds that I had handy. I'm not sure that I saw what made it a gold medal winner and I don't know that I'd run right out to buy it again. Totally drinkable, but it didn't exactly stand out for me. Then again, not many wines stand out with tsatziki, do they?

390. 2004 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Merlot (California)

Elzee brought this along to go with the camel. Yes, I did feel that I had to warn the guests in advance of the menu. And didn't her wit shine right on through? What better wine to serve at an Oscar event than a wine made by none other than a Best Director winner himself? Bringing Coppola to the biggest movie night of the year. Genius.

And, you know, I thought the wine delivered way more punch than I'd expected. I've tried some Coppola wines at various tastings over the years, but I don't recall ever having left the evening with big memories of the Coppola wines. While this wine may not channel The Godfather or Apocalype Now, the Diamond line is meant to be a fruit forward wine, with character, at an affordable price. I saw one promotional quote that said "think fifties supper club with oversized booths, hearty food and lots of ambiance." I can handle that.

The grapes are sourced from different appellations and is 90% Merlot with a bit of Syrah and Petit Verdot (6% and 4% respectively) thrown in to add some richness and colour. I liked the fact that the web site puts out the characteristics that the winemakers find developing in the different grapes - Napa for the bright fruit; Sonoma for acidity and balance; and Monterey County for concentration.

The Hurt Locker may have been the big winner in LA, but I think the Merlot proved the favourite in our household.

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