Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spot Prawns & Top Bottles

It's seems like forever since we've gotten together with Elzee, so we finally managed to coax her over for dinner and a movie. The deal was that it would be a "no fuss" kind of meal though.

Seeing as how it's Spot Prawn season and they're everywhere you turn in the media and in menus nowadays, we thought we'd take advantage of the fact that, for the next six weeks or so, you can buy the little critters right off the boats at the fisherman's dock down by Granville Island. The boats come in every day around 1 pm and the seafood doesn't get any fresher.

Elzee and I met for a quick trip down to the dock right around 1.00 and it's a good thing that we arrived when we did. I don't know if there was a big line up before we got there but there were only about four pounds left on the one boat that was selling and we took two of them. It would have been a big disappointment had we missed out.

There's no doubt that the little guys were fresh though. It was actually a tad unnerving to have your dinner jumping around in the bag while you were heading back to the car. We were only half joking when we commented that they'd better not be still moving when it came time to throw them in the pan.

The boat "next door" was selling swimming scallops as well (although these guys were frozen); so, we bought a bag of them to boot. Looked like we were having a veritable seafood buffet.

I'd had one wine in mind when we were thinking about the prawns and then Elzee bought along a second bottle that she figured would go match up nicely. For an impromptu dinner, this turned into one nice little spread.

455. 2008 Joie Farm Rose (Okanagan & Similkameen Valleys)

The front label bids you to "Re-think Pink" and I know a handful of folks that believe that mentioning "Joie" and " Rose" in the same sentence epitomizes Spring.

The new trademark, Joie Farm, coincided with the first year where their wines started to feature grapes harvested from the winery's own estate vines. They still purchase grapes that had previously been provided to them from about twenty small-family producers, but the vines that Heidi Noble and Michael Dinn planted in 2007 were now producing fruit that was good enough to use in their wines.

Bucking the trend that many, if not most, Okanagan wineries are following, Joie Farm has not ventured into the realm of producing big reds. Rather they limit themselves to the grape varietals of Alsace, Burgundy and Champagne and focus on aromatic whites and rose wines. This Rose is a blend of Gamay Noir, Pinor Noir and Pinot Meunier, with a smaller percentage of Pinot Gris - and it features a vibrant nose with a ton of fruit and acidity.

A favourite with local wine writers like John Schreiner and Daenna Van Mulligen, it was rated "Outstanding" last Fall by Wine Press Northwest and played a large part in that magazine's naming Joie Farm as its BC Winery of the Year.

Fresh, simply prepared shellfish and Joie Farm - you can't go wrong.

Our second bottle is equally as acclaimed.

456. 2006 Eroica Riesling (Columbia Valley - Washington State)

Eroica must be one of the most lauded wines to come out of Washington State. The Wine Advocate calls it "the finest dry Riesling I've tasted in the US." Food & Wine magazine says "this fine-edged mineral driven Riesling is simply one of the best produced in the US." Then, Eric Asimov and the New York Times named the 2007 vintage "its favourite American Riesling."

This bottle was the 2006 vintage but I'm doubt that the Times' accolades would be any different.

Named after Beethoven's Third Symphony, Eroica is the result of a partnership between legendary Mosel (Germany) producer, Dr. Loosen, and Washington State giant, Chateau Ste. Michelle. It's a composition of New and Old World sensibilities and the only thing that I don't like about the wine is that - with BC's exorbitant liquor tax system - a bottle costs $35 up here. I have no problem paying the $20US when across the border, but boy, doubling the sticker leaves me waiting for a rare border crossing.

I inevitably nab a bottle whenever we travel down the I-5 though.

In the meantime, special occasions - like fresh spot prawn dinners - present opportunities to splurge. Just thinking of sucking out those little prawn heads, and then sucking back on a glass of Eroica, leaves me yearning for more.

Quite the duo of wines and of seafood goodies I'd say.

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