Saturday, April 24, 2010

Random Thoughts From a Second Day

What's a guy to do when life gets in the way of a theme-related blog series? Tonight was Game 5 of the Canucks and Kings playoff round and I should have been sitting glued to the TV - with another bottle of La Frenz - to help cheer on the boys. With the series tied a two games apiece, it's a rather pivotal game (to keep the tone somewhat understated). But it's the second day of the big Festival Tasting Room and that's a rather critical event in the "life of Bob" as well.

Not that there was a whole lot of soul searching, but I decided to try and accomplish both as best as I could - attend the Festival, wear my Canucks jersey and try to locate a TV at the event to keep up on the score. As it turned out, the Canucks won the game in a bit of a romp and, while I love the result, I don't generally find a 7-2 game to be all that riveting to watch. I guess that, if I had to miss a game, this wasn't the worst one to miss.

Besides, wearing the jersey was a piece of brilliance. There were a ton of other folks in the Tasting Room that were staying on top of the game and people felt compelled to tell me the latest score within seconds of a new goal. It was almost as if I was getting a play-by-play broadcast of the game - and I was just out of the room, getting another glass of wine, whenever there was a goal.

As for the Festival, since I didn't actually drink any single bottle this evening (although there were more than a couple that I would have been happy to sit back with and enjoy), I don't get to add another bottle to The List. Accordingly, I figured I'd just set out some random thoughts from the Festival ... so far.

- attending some of the smaller seminars or tasting events can be a whole lot more civilized and offer up wines that are nowhere to be seen in the Tasting Room.

- Who knew that a Nova Scotian winery, L'Acadie, made a sparkling wine?

- the toughest wine in the Tasting Room to get a taste of is the 2002 Louis XV Rose Extra Brut from Champagne de Venoge. But then, at $335 a bottle, it's no wonder they only open one or two bottles a day.

- I liked the fact that such a large percentage of the people in attendance were young and apparently enthusiastic about wine.

- There were only five wineries here from Portugal but I enjoyed the fact that they brought more than just Port. By all accounts, Portugese still wines are improving by leaps and bounds and I particularly liked the wines from Saven and Wine & Soul.

- I am so guilty of gravitating towards trying the higher end wines and passing by the under $20 bottles. In my defence though, it makes sense to have an idea of what you're buying if you have to shell out some major coin for a bottle. I'm okay with trying a wine - just because it looks interesting - when it's under $20, but I like some sense of background before I spend over $25.

- I just wonder how much wine gets tossed down the drain from the collective spit buckets?

- The Festival's secondary theme - Global Focus - of Rose wines was very timely and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing just how varied a winemaker's approach can be with Rose - from grape varietal to degree of (or lack thereof) residual sugar to adding bubble or not. We weren't talking White Zinfandel here.

- a little bit of celebrity never hurts any event and the attendance of actor - and winemaker - Sam Neill created all sorts of buzz for the Festival. His winery, Two Paddocks, is located in one of my "hot" regions, Central Otago in New Zealand, but I didn't run out to buy any bottles. Sorry Sam. Took his picture though.

- Finally, I'm going to have to face the reality of the fact that I'm not going to be able to visit all the wineries that I'd like to. Tomorrow's the last day and I'll just have to have a highlighted list of must-try wines. The other five hundred or so will just have to wait.

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