Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Such a Sparkling Event!

A beautiful bride. Sparkling Hills Resort. What better nom-de-ma-plume could there be for my cousin, Centreman's, now legal squeeze than Sparkle?

I could go on about the stunning setting and lovely outdoor ceremony, the several "sap boy" moments or the abundance of hockey players, firemen and lively gal pals at the wedding, but this is a wine blog (at least, primarily a wine blog). So, I'll bypass all the wedding niceties and say that I was intrigued to find out what wines had been chosen for the reception and dinner. I know that we did a whole lot of tasting before we chose the wines for our reception. As such, I like to see what other folks decide upon for big events.

I was hoping to be able to add a couple of new wines to The List and hadn't counted on being lucky enough to add four new wines.

953. N.V. Yellowglen Pink (Australia)

Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to get a shot of the bottle. The glasses kept coming out ready and filled - with nary a bottle in sight. But I did get a shot of Boo toasting his glass of Pink in the art piece that was a wooden "fur" coat.

I don't think I've ever tried this easy sipping, fruity sparkler prior to the wedding. I see that Yellowglen promotes itself as Australia's "#1 sparkling wine brand" and, as part of the omnipresent Aussie juggernaut, Fosters Group, I maybe see how Pink (and its mate, Yellow) are the biggest selling bubblies Down Under. It's definitely entry level - as opposed to vintage - bubbly but it's priced well and is made from the classic Champagne varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. An interesting choice, but I can see how it perfectly suited the reception and Sparkle's pink-themed wedding.

The dinner tables all featured red, white and rosé wines - so that all tastes could be covered - and so that I'd get three more bottles to add to The List.

954. 2010 Quails' Gate Rosé (VQA Okanagan Valley)

It was nice to see that a Rosé had been included in the wine choices. Rosé wines can be a tough enough sell in downtown Vancouver - let alone with the rough and tumble interior guys. Quails' Gate produces a nice, dry version though - made, largely, from Gamay Noir (90%) with some Pinot Noir filling in the balance. Nice and dry, the bottle was quickly emptied at our table.

The remaining two wines were special bottlings for the Sparkling Hills Resort by Bounty Cellars. The Resort had teamed up with Swarovski Crystal for the design of the resort and Swarovski is found throughout the hotel and spa. They've even connected with a local winemaker for a pair of house brand wines that are called Crystal. Naturally, all the labels sport small Swarovski crystals on them.

955. 2008 Bounty Cellars - Crystal Gewurztraminer (Okanagan Valley)

956. N.V. Bounty Cellars - Crystal Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (Okanagan Valley)

These are the first Bounty Cellars wines that I've added to The List. I have seen their products around but I've never actually had a bottle. Bounty's is an interesting story. They work much in the way of a French wine négociant where the company buys wines and grapes from other producers and growers from BC, Washington state and elsewhere and then puts out a finished product.

They also fill a particular niche in that they specialize in private labels for their wines - just as we see with the Crystal label. Most wineries won't get involved with private labels unless there is a large, minimum order; however, Bounty will apparently produce a wine for individual customers for as few as two cases of wine. John Schreiner has reported that the company created more than three hundred private labels in the winery's first three years of existence. He also states that the "private label niche accounted for about 60 percent of the revenues" in 2007.

To be honest, we were all far more caught up in the wedding to pay an inordinate amount of attention to tasting and thinking wine.

I've been to a great many weddings over the years, but Boo and I don't take in many nowadays. Most of our friends are long past married (or divorced). I certainly go to a lot more wine events than I do weddings. So, it was nice to see the younger folk kicking up their heels and having a great time.

I know that there have been more than a couple weddings that I've been to where the joy of the occasion was not only on the happy couple's face but more than matched by the guests. This one actually stands out for me though. I am sometimes reminded of my Mom raising her hands in the air to sing along with "It's Raining Men" and our reception, but I'm glad to say that there were some equally memorable moments here.

Cheers - and our very best wishes - to the happy couple.

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