Saturday, July 23, 2011

Return of the Giro

I was going through some of our pictures, trying to prep up a few more posts and I ran across from photos that I must have missed earlier. So, this post is somewhat out of sync when it comes to the timing, but it's only delayed by a week so I don't feel like a complete goof.

It's been a short while (perhaps a tad longer) since I've actually mounted my bike to do a bit of riding. I suppose it doesn't help that the tires have been flat for - ahem, ahem. But, I've recently been glued to the TV every morning before work, catching what I can of the Tour de France.

These wines aren't tied to the Tour; however, Vancouver and the Lower Mainland has been in the throes of BC Super Week, celebrating some of the biggest bike races to be found in the province - the Tour de White Rock, Tour de Delta, a new UBC race and "our" own Giro di Burnaby.

The Giro was started back in the summer of 2006 and was starting to gain a nice little following by 2008. Then, the world financial crisis kicked in and sponsorship rather dried up. BUT, it's back this year and I'm about as lucky as a cycling enthusiast can be because our office (and it's balcony) is located right at the Start/Finish Line. The Giro is a great opportunity for the office to gather for a grand time to watch the Men's and Women's races - and, naturally, for me to add a few more wines to The List.

874. 2008 CedarCreek Proprietor's Red (VQA Okanagan Valley)

875. 2009 CedarCreek Proprietor's Red (VQA Okanagan Valley)

It might seem a bit odd but, for some reason, I regularly get tasked with picking up the beer and wine for office events. I'd grabbed the CedarCreek as a decently priced ($15), introductory blend that would please more of the attending palates. I guess that the BC Liquor stores must be hitting the shelves with a new vintage because I just took two bottles that were next to each other and didn't even notice that they were two different vintages. I probably wouldn't have ever known except for the fact that as I opened the second bottle, I saw that one bottle was clear glass and the other was tinted. I immediately wondered if I'd grabbed two different wines.

Too bad the first bottle was already empty since I didn't get a chance to do a little side-by-side tasting. The 2009 vintage must be really new because I don't even see any literature about it on the net yet. I assume that it is a largely Merlot/Pinot Noir blend - just like the 2008 - but I can't be sure. It definitely won't be similar to the old workhorse "Proprietary Red" that was a stalwart in the winery's line up twenty years ago - when that wine was largely based on the hybrid grapes that had been the bulk of Okanagan plantings prior to the 1980's.

The wine seemed popular enough. The levels on the CedarCreek at the end of the night were lower than on any of the other wines served.

876. 2009 Angove's - Nine Vines Tempranillo Shiraz (South Australia)

By the time the women's race had finished. I'd finished my go at the CedarCreek and moved on to trying the Angove's. If CedarCreek is one of BC's bigger producers at around 40,000 cases, compare that to Angove's estimated output of 1.5 million cases. Angove's is one of Australia's largest, privately owned wineries; however, it is noted as exemplifying the balance of large scale production without compromising basic quality. Reliable and well-priced - that's an understanding that's comparable to CedarCreek's Proprietary Red.

With its vast production, Angove's has, understandably, a good number of different labels and varietals/blends available. This bottle is a newer entry into the market as Tempranillo is only starting to get a foothold in Aussie wine production. This rather unusual blending with Shiraz just goes to show the willingness of some Aussie producers to embrace the new and see how it can work with or accentuate the tried and true.

Not a tasting note to be seen, however, as I was far more caught up in the races and in making sure that the natives weren't getting too restless. I may not have been in charge of the actual grilling, but I did have to try and keep on top of buns and meat and condiments, etc., etc., etc. There didn't seem to be any problems with the wine as I snuck the odd sip here and there.

As for the races, the weather this week hadn't been the best, but we were lucky that the rain held off until after the end of the men's race. I don't know how successful the races would have been had the streets been soaked - not to mention how annoying a continual watering down of my wine glass would have been.

Hopefully, the race's Phoenix-like revival was as successful in the organizers' view as it was from the spectators'. I, for one, will definitely be at the Finish line next year - glass in hand. I may not be able, realistically, to make it over and sip wines while watching the Tour de France, but this is decent enough substitution.

BTW, we did have some white wines available as well, but I just didn't get around to trying any of them. I may not have had to worry about drinking and riding myself, but it was still a "school" night and I needed to get back to my desk - without the BBQ and beverages - early the next morning.

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