Friday, July 2, 2010

A Canada Day Quarter-Final Quartet

South Africa

The other week, our neighbour, GatuBela, popped her head over the fence and jovially wondered if we'd be interested in co-hosting a Canada Day BBQ with the neighbourhood crew. As regular readers may have gleaned from these postings, our neighbours are always good for adding another round of bottles to The List - and are a fun crowd to be with on top of it. Win/Win, methinks.

If nothing else, it would add some more participants to deciding this quarter-final winner - and force us to clean up the garden a bit (although admittedly GatuBela deserves major props for that task).

The weather was hardly shorts and no shirt weather, but at least it didn't rain on us. The only thing about it being both our World Cup of Wine and Canada Day was that there were no Canadian wines to be had since they didn't make it to the World Cup. Whoa Canada.

509. 2007 Porcupine Ridge Syrah (W.O. Coastal Region - South Africa)

510. 2005 Corte Giara Ripasso (DOC Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore - Italy)

I can't recall ever having a full bottle of South African Syrah before and I find that (even though I love the whole concept behind the wine) Ripasso's can go all over the map. So, I didn't really know what to expect in this taste off.

As it turned out, naming a winner to move on to the semi-finals was pretty much unanimous. The bottle of South African Syrah was finished off easily enough - but everyone who cast a vote picked the Italian Ripasso as their favourite. The more serious wine-drinking neighbours liked the complexity of the Ripasso and the others just liked the taste more, even if they couldn't say why.

Other than having an opportunity to get together for the World Cup, food and fun, Canada Day gave a number of us an opportunity to bring out all those patriotic pieces of Olympic clothing that have been in the drawer for the most part since March. In a way, it might have been a good thing that the day was a bit cooler. We wouldn't, otherwise, have been able to comfortably sport the long sleeves.

Short sleeves, long sleeves, patriotism being worn on the sleeve, there was no way that two bottles was going to be enough to keep this crowd satisfied for the evening though - especially when the food started coming out in earnest. The Marquis and Red volunteered their down home ribs and we've decided that they are welcome to do so at any future gathering. In fact, we may just come up with some events simply so that we can coerce them into making the ribs. Even Boo - who fancies him quite the ribs-master - went back for extra servings (I won't say how many) and managed to put a few away for future nibbling. Now, that's not a common occurrence.

As the ribs-munching continued, there might have been another bottle or two opened during the evening, but I never got around to trying them. They won't make it to The List this time, but there were a couple that did.

511. N.V Carpene Malvolti Prosecco (DOC Treviso - Italy)

Yet another Prosecco that I haven't seen before. There can't be any doubt that this style of wine has hit its stride in Vancouver. It wasn't that many years ago that no one had really heard of it. Now it seems like there's a new brand available at the provincial shop or one of the private stores every time I go. A quick search on the internet showed that the winery's website states that it was the "first company to submit quality Prosecco to the sparkling process." Welcome to the market.

It was rather fitting that the Carpene Malvolti made an appearance - a bit of bubbly to celebrate the Italian win in its quarter-final match. After all, the Azzuri didn't make it this far in the real tournament.

But for the serious ribs nibbler, another red made an appearance -

512. 2008 Shot In The Dark Shiraz-Petite Sirah (Australia)

I'll admit that I simply succumbed to the packaging with this bottle. I picked it up last Halloween because of the dark theme of the label. We just didn't get around to opening it that night. It's a bit of surprise that it lasted this long. I don't know that it'd win our little World Cup of Wine for the Aussies, but this is a wine that isn't shy when it comes to BBQ time. There are probably a whack of Bruce's, here and there, snogging on a glass of this and proclaiming that it's time to throw another rib on the bar-bee.

What more can a neighbour ask for?

The quarter-final match score? Since it was substantially more popular, we'll give the Italians a 2-0 win, but, even though South Africa has been shut out of the semi's, the Syrah was hardly a "zero" of a sip.

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