Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wedding Prep

Having only been up in the Okanagan a couple of weeks ago, it's a rare occasion for me to find myself here again so soon after the last trip. Much to Boo's relief, this trip isn't purely wine-based - except to the extent that we'll no doubt enjoy some wine at my cousin's wedding.

Well, that and the fact that I'm going to have to stop in at least a couple of wineries seeing as how we're up at the Sparkling Hill Resort, found north of Kelowna at Predator Ridge. I don't recall ever having been up in this neck of the woods before and I figure you have to take advantage of an opportunity to visit a new winery when it's presented - even if that visit brings the possibility of buying a bottle or two of wine when you're on a "No buy Leash."

But that's a problem for down the road. For the moment, we only needed to settle into the rather plush surroundings. Sparkling Hill is a "wellness resort and spa" and is inspired by Swarovski crystal. Upon checking in, I was somewhat apprehensive when told that our room was on Floor -01. I know we didn't take the most expensive suite, but I never would have expected to be in the basement. Who has "negative" floor room numbers? Thankfully, it turned out that there was no need for concern. The hotel is built partially into the side of a cliff top and, as such, even some of the residential floors are found below the lobby floor.

Boo would have liked to just flop out in the room, but we'd arrived a bit later than planned due to a bit of forgetfulness. Accordingly, I needed to catch up with my parents, my sis, Vixen, and her paramour, Big Trucker. We found them at the Predator Ridge Club House but they'd been there for some time already and the folks were just about to head off to get ready for dinner. Luckily, Vixen is never one to say "no" to another cocktail - and I needed one.

950. 2009 Meyer Family Vineyards Rosé (VQA Okanagan Valley)

I don't know a ton about Meyer Family Vineyard - after all, they still produce less than 3000 cases and have only been around since 2008 - but what I do know generally revolves around their production of well-received Chardonnay. I knew they had a Rosé and thought it'd be a good afternoon sipper when I saw it on the club house's wine list. The bottle label didn't say much and the winery website has moved on to the 2010 vintage, so I haven't found a lot of information on the Rosé but I did see one mention of the 2009 vintage being Gamay Noir. Whether that's 100% Gamay or a blend, I couldn't tell you. I suppose, however, that Gamay would make some sense since the bulk of Meyer's production is based on Burgundy varietals.

We couldn't tempt Big Trucker away from his Black Russian, but I don't think it was only because the wine was pink. Maybe he's just not much of wine drinker. That'll likely see some change if he continues to hook up with Boo and I at these events.

We made good work on the Meyer - even without Trucker's assistance. But we needed to make our way back up to Sparkling Hill to start thinking dinner.

The family members that were staying at the Predator Ridge Golf Course never made it up to dinner. So, we joined my aunt and uncle, some of the wedding party and a few of the other wedding guests at Sparkling Hills's restaurant, Peak Fine. Naturally, that's when the camera decided to act up; so, no pictures relating to the dishes or the wine - even though it was a thoroughly enjoyable dinner.

Only one of our dinner companions joined with us for wine. So, there's just the one bottle to be added to The List. We'd only just met our new wine buddy as she was a family friend of my aunt's but she was game to try whatever we ordered. She did mention, however, that she didn't particularly like Merlot.

951. 2009 Laughing Stock Blind Trust (VQA Okanagan Valley)

I went with the Blind Trust - even though I knew that, as a BC Meritage, there was likely going to be a good percentage of Merlot in the blend. A blend with Merlot in it can be quite a different wine from a straight varietal and I know that Laughing Stock is reliably tasty. One of the fun aspects of this wine is that the winery doesn't tell you up front what the blend is.

As with all of Laughing Stock's wines, they like to incorporate aspects of the stocks, bonds and financial investing into their marketing of their wines. The winery's website advises that "a blind trust is a financial trust in which the executors have full discretion over the assets, and the trust beneficiaries have no knowledge of the holdings of the trust. In this case, our Blind Trust is a wine in which the winemaker has full discretion over the blend so you'll just have to trust us."

Once you've opened the bottle, you can discover the actual blend by removing the foil wrapping. We did just that - after our new drinking buddy had proclaimed that she loved the wine - and found out that 70% of this blend was Merlot. The remaining components were 22% Cab Sauv and 8% Malbec. She was rather shocked and said that she'll definitely have to re-think her stance on Merlot.

Taking a look back through the blog, I'm a little surprised that this is the first Blind Trust Red that I've added to The List. There's a Blind Trust White from a couple of summers ago, but this is the first red. I think we'll need to look at adding some more.

However, with another bottle behind us, it was time to rest up for the upcoming big day of spa and wedding activities.

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