Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pac Rim Bonspiel - Harder! Harder!!

I've hit another one of those posts that's really more about where we were drinking the wine as opposed to the wines themselves. This weekend was the Pac Rim Curling Bonspiel and I won't try to kid you - a curling bonspiel is not likely going to be a prime spot to find fine wine. Curling has more of that beer cachet - even if it is a gay bonspiel. Caesars, maybe. Coolers, likely. But wine is more like a hard double.

That being said, it goes without saying that there's going to be plenty of booze over the weekend. I'm kinda glad that I managed to fit in as much wine as I did - particularly since our little makeshift, raggamuffin team put together a pretty darn good run at the bonspiel. I think we turned a couple heads when we managed to knock off two of the early contenders in our first two games - getting ourselves into the quarter-finals of the "A" Division. We couldn't quite pull off three straight, but that left us in fine position to party on the Saturday night and those early wins definitely called for a bottle at the club.

714. N.V. J-T Unity Cabernet Sauvignon (Bottled in Canada)

I won't pass judgment on the fact that the Unity label - wines that can be a blend of BC, Ontario and international grapes - is all that was available at the curling club. As mentioned, the fact that they have wine at all is encouraging. Plus, the fact that you can buy it at the liquor store for $10 gives the club a decent sale price that still earns it some cash.

It's certainly not going to challenge any of J-T's other VQA vintage wines on quality but it's entirely drinkable. That being said, I have read that this new Unity brand is one of the biggest seller for the provincial liquor board - especially when all you really need is something to down along with the popcorn while the "Drag in a Bag" contest is going on full force in front of you.

For the second year running, the weekend's organizers have randomly drawn three teams in the bonspiel to pick one of their players to get all dolled up and perform a lip-sync for the gathered teams. I don't know if anyone was going to challenge last year's winner, Beyonce, performing Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It), but it was still as entertaining as all hell. I'm just ever so glad that they didn't pick our team - since two of our players had magically disappeared and there's no way I would have had the slightest idea of what the words to Britney Spear's Toxic might have been.

I have to admit that I think our Britney must have been channelling Ms Spear's during one of her breakdown or rehab periods. There's no doubt that she was a lively girl, but she was, indeed, a tad "toxic." This year's winner, Margaret Ho, may not dress as skimpily as Lady Gaga but she did a bang up job on Bad Romance and she got to take the crown and sceptre all the way back to Calgary with her. I'd like to see her explaining some of the pictures to the cowboys back home.

We actually played Ms. Ho and the Calgary team the next morning and I don't know if it was because they'd won Drag in a Bag and had lost their killer instinct or because "Margaret" just couldn't see the broom through the residual blue eye shadow, but, in any event, we managed to beat them for yet another unexpected win.

Our next match didn't actually involve playing the superheroes team that came all the way from San Francisco to play but they certainly brought a lot of fun to our event.

Our win over Calgary took us to one of the divisional finals where we managed to pull off another upset to win ourselves a nice little wad of cash - enough that, if we'd put it all towards cheap, red wine, we'd have had enough to bring about more than a couple wicked hangovers the morning after. We took the money and ran though.

Playing in one of the finals did leave us rushing to get to the banquet though. What was surprising was that there was even less choice of wine at the hotel than there was at the curling club. The banquet facilities offered one red and one white. What options were there but to get one of each?

715. 2010 Trivento Pampas del Sur - Select Shiraz/Malbec (Mendoza - Argentina)

It's funny that this is the only red that they had available. The 2008 Pampas del Sur Select mad it to The List as well (at #254) when it was the only red wine available at the Prairie Fairy Fowl Supper a couple of years back. I guess getting gigs like this where there's lots of drinking to be done and your's is the only wine being sold does wonders for corporate sales. That'll also help make your wine one of the best selling wines in the province. Then again, there's plenty of this wine available when this export brand for Concha y Toro's presence in Argentina produces millions of litres of wine annually.

716. 2009 Castello di Gabbiano Pinot Gris (IGT Veneto - Italy)

I don't know how much wine Gabbiano produces but it also is one of the Top 20 wines sold in BC. Simple and easy on the pocketbook. I guess that's the secret.

We were in a good enough mood following the weekend that we'd have been happy with virtually any bottle of wine - plonk or not. So, to come away winners and add three wines to The List, I'd say that the weekend was quite the success.

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