Monday, June 21, 2010

A Slow Can Do Weekend

We're off to the Slocan Valley in the Kootenays for the weekend. Boo is celebrating one of those landmark birthdays that involve zeros - and his twin and younger brother have flown up from the Southern States for a bit of a family bash. If the powers that be were to declare a single region in Canada as a throwback to the 60's and hippie-dom, I think the Slocan would be a prime possibility.

Mom Mary (formerly known as Princess Long List) has lived in the idyllic surroundings for many a year now and this is the first time in my Boo years that the family has been up here together. It was tough taking a bit of extra time off of work, but how could I not make the effort? The eight hour drive was made a bit easier by the opportunity for a couple brief stops at a handful of wineries in Cawston (Similkameen Valley) and Osoyoos (Okanagan Valley) as we drove through on our way to the Kootenays.

We didn't have much time to stop though because we were going to be late for a birthday dinner as it was, but Boo was in a happy place (it's more likely that he was just tired from the lingering effects of a night shift) and I managed to fill the trunk a bit more with a couple new cases of wine.

We managed to catch up with the family just after they'd ordered dinner at the local hot spot. In fact, the Cedar Creek Cafe might be the only spot for many a mile. Mom Mary kinda lives in the middle of nowhere and I've never actually been out for dinner when visiting. It's a beautiful middle of nowhere, but the middle of nowhere all the same. We've always eaten at home. I was pleasantly surprised by the whole atmosphere and by the food. Our BBQ'd chicken pizza was quite tasty - and the Friday night stomp music completed the atmosphere.

True to the region, the wine list was one that I'd never encountered before - every wine on the list was organic or biodynamic. There are likely such wine lists in Vancouver, but I've never run across them. There wasn't a huge choice on the wine list, but we were very pleased with the bottle we ordered.

491. Vinedos Emiliana Adobe Reserva Syrah (Rapel Valley - Chile)

Turns out that Emiliana is operated by the same family that owns the Chilean wine giant, Concha y Toro, and Emiliana itself consists of a handful of brands - Etnico, Adobe, Novas, Coyan and Ge - many of which are available in our market. All of Emiliana's wines are either organic or biodynamic. Indeed, local wine writer anthony Gismondi reported that Emiliana is the single largest source of estate-grown organic wines in the world.

The winery has been operating its vineyards since 1986 and it started converting them to organic and biodynamic practices in the late-90's. Their website dedicates a healthy proportion of its space to discussing viticultural practices and the philosophy behind their wine. This was the first time that I've seen a bit of extended detail, by a winery, on the different preparations used with biodynamic viticulture.

I'm not all that used to Chilean Syrah, but it offered up big new world fruit, without going over the top. The wine sells for $15 in the liquor stores and that's the price point that I more-or-less look at as the upper limit for bargain priced wines (it is a BC market and our inflated prices after all). Guess this qualifies as a nice, little QPR wine (Quality Price Ratio).

With a behaved, but restless, babe in tow tonight, we hurried up on the last glass and made our move back to the homestead. I could have lingered a bit longer with the Syrah and listened to the music since the down home sounds had morphed into jazz, but it had been a long day and Boo had been up for 30 hours straight - save a few uneasy "zzzz's" while in the car. And, we still had to get to Sparrowhawk and unpack.

Welcome to "slow."

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