Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cinqo de Mayo and Sinking Canucks Chances

It was one of those two birds with one glass kind of nights. The Canucks were playing the Blackhawks in Game 3 - so, I'm pulling out another bottle of Orofino to keep in theme with one BC winery for each round of the playoffs. But, it's also Cinqo de Mayo; so, we invited Mr. D over and put Boo in charge of whipping up some fajitas.

Although the thought of icy margaritas and hockey has some appeal, I figured that it only made sense to open a bottle of Mexican wine since we don't see it very often and I'm more likely to be forgiving of a questionable bottle on a day that calls out for all things Mexican (even if it is more of an occasion in the US and Canada than in Mexico).

436. 2006 L.A. Cetto Chenin Blanc (Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California - Mexico)

Although I didn't buy this bottle at the recent Playhouse Festival, L.A. Cetto was one of the wineries pouring at the Festival Tasting Room. The Festival program states that it is "Mexico's largest wine producer and the largest winery in Latin America with a production of about one million cases annually."

I know next to nothing about Mexican wines and the rare occasions where I've run across them in the past certainly didn't leave me screaming for more. Like much of the rest of the world, however, great strides in quality have been made over the last decade. I've read that Baja California is Mexico's answer to the Napa Valley and Valle de Guadalupe is apparently the most important sub-region in the country. Baja's climate and soil have been called comparable to both Napa and to the Rhone Valley in France.

My initial thoughts about Mexico and winemaking would be that the climate is just too hot to allow for extended maturation of the grapes. There should be no problem with ripening the fruit but I'd wonder if the grapes could hang long enough and have any acidity whatsoever left to them. The valley apparently gets a cooling maritime breeze that assists in the grape growing though.

Whether it's the cooling breezes or not, we were pleasantly surprised by the Chenin Blanc. It offered up nice fruit and still had enough acidity to nicely match up with the spice and flavour of the chicken fajitas. I'm not familiar enough with Chenin Blanc to say whether this wine showed varietal characteristics but, I can say that, at $14, I could see myself buying it again - and not just for Cinqo de Mayo.

437. 2009 Orofino Riesling (Similkameen Valley)

As one might well expect, the Riesling had quite a different profile. The contrast of acidity and a touch of residual sugar was more sophisticated and didn't quite match up with the fajitas as well as the Chenin did. As a result, the Mexican wine may have seemed an easier quaff with dinner. However, that fact didn't detract from drinking the Orofino on its own. I found that the three of us finished off this bottle first - even if the L.A. Cetto seemed a bit more approachable at first sip.

Orofino is making a bit of a name for itself and its Riesling. The vineyard's Riesling vines are now approaching 20 years of age and were planted long before the Webers and Orofino set up shop. Their grapes are supplemented by a couple of neighbour's Riesling vines that are also grown near the town of Cawston in the Similkameen.

Two good additions to The List wasn't enough to lead the Canucks to a second win though. Not sure what team showed up but it wasn't the Canuck team that we've come to expect at home games. They were bad - much like what I'd recalled of Mexican wine in the past - and, the resulting loss was so evident that Mr. D. didn't even wait until the end of the game before he ventured home.

I suppose it's possible that he could have left because the wine bottles were empty as well. Seeing as it was a "school night," we weren't likely to open another bottle - even though it could have come in handy to drown our sorrows about the Canucks. Now down two games to one, hopefully, the Canucks can find their game so that we can keep on drinking some fine BC wines - or come up with another "holiday" to celebrate.

No comments:

Post a Comment