Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Birthdays Deserve Big Wines

Last night's late arrival didn't really present the greatest opportunity for a birthday dinner befitting the occasion. Boo wasn't sure when he last celebrated a birthday together with his twin, HDR3 - but we're probably talking thirty years plus. Living in different countries, on opposite sides of the continent just doesn't seem to lend itself to getting together on a regular basis.

That just meant that we had to do this b-day up in style - and what better way is there than to start the evening off with a little bubbly. Granted, we didn't go the vintage Champagne route. But, all things considered, our actual choice was likely better received by the gang on hand.

493. NV Seaview Sparkling Shiraz (Australia)

Hardly traditional, but no one can deny that sparkling Shiraz doesn't have a cachet all of its own. Sparkling red wine has a history in Australia dating back to the 1800's and some studies have concluded that Shiraz was the primary grape being used despite the fact that the wines were called Sparkling Burgundy (which should connote the use of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay).

This isn't a bottle from the higher end of the spectrum - you can find Sparkling Shiraz, like E&E, made in the full Method Champenoise - but it's a nice alternative to a Kir Royale (Creme de Cassis and bubbly). Sparkling Shiraz has found a traditional niche in Aussie culture of being served on Christmas Day.

We weren't exactly basking in the heat of an Aussie Christmas Day, but the occasion of all three brothers visiting Mom Mary was just as special - particularly since the newest little man in the family was making his first visit to Sparrowhawk. Indeed, as the twins were hitting yet another decade, little Boogerhead (their nickname for the little guy, not mine) still hadn't reached his first birthday.

While Boo and I didn't bring along a grandchild for Mom Mary, I did bring along a big baby of my own that I'd been saving up for the right occasion.

494. 2002 Mission Hill Reserve Shiraz (VQA Okanagan Valley)

This is the first time that I've ever opened a Jeroboam (or a 3-litre or double magnum - equal to four standard bottles) of wine. I'd picked up the Mission Hill at a fundraising auction a couple of years back. Despite the fact that Boo and I might go through a fair bit of wine in an evening, we've never considered - let alone attempted - trying such a hefty task before. I honestly didn't even think that the eight of us would finish off the Mission Hill tonight - particularly since Mom Mary's wine glasses are on the smaller side. This bottle was going to provide a good number of glasses.

I also wasn't sure that the wine itself would live up to the occasion. It's not like we have proper storage facilities for bottles of this size.

Luckily, the wine was still fine and was almost as big as the bottle. This was a gold medal winner for Mission Hill back when it was released and it was still nicely balanced with lots of dark fruit. It was a great match for the rack of lamb that we served up to the assembled family.

The quantity of wine certainly lent itself to increasingly interesting stories and reminiscences of the boys growing up. Twins truly can get into troubles that other siblings just don't seem to get involved in.

Although this was a story from more recent years, we shared a good laugh over the tale of which brother is the "evil twin." Be sure to ask Boo to tell you about it. Better yet, ask me. He's likely to leave out all the juicy parts or deny the anecdote altogether.

As the evening wore on and folks tuckered out, Boo, BD (Boogerhead's Dad), Sunshine and I headed back out to the porch to do a little more damage to the Jereboam. Since BD was going to be given "BD" as his nom-de-ma-plume for this
this blog, I'd considered BM - for Boogerhead's Mom - as well, but Sunshine said emphatically that, "No. That's just so wrong." In retrospect, it's possible that a teensy bit of wine might have played a part in that suggestion. Such a thought process isn't all that outlandish considering, however, that we did manage to - gingerly - pour out the last of the wine before we all headed off to bed. Getting the last pours was a bit of an exercise though.

I think we need a few more bottles like this - and occasions that we can celebrate them with.

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