Friday, November 25, 2011

A Half-Time Recount

As much as I'd like to celebrate wildly as we hit the half way point of this 2001 Bottle Wine Odyssey, being able to pull off anything on the scale of Madonna performing the Super Bowl Half-Time show is a bit beyond my party throwing abilities - legion as they might be. I could try and get Boo to dance around shirtless in the living room to Lady Gaga, but that'd be a "nipple-gate" of a whole other scale.

Nah, I'm afraid this little half time break won't be much more than a brief look at just what those first thousand bottles have been that we've polished off.

I'd hoped to do this sort of a look back a little more regularly, but, as many of you know, I'm having a hard enough time keeping up with the bottles as we finish them. Indeed, I'm around a month behind as it is now. Pleasant little reminiscences only serve to slow me down even more. I figure this one is worth it though.

Out of those first 1000 bottles, just under 600 of them were red. I guess that's a bit of a tell tale sign of what we - and our drinking buddies - tend to grab first in our quest to quench our respective thirsts. The breakdown after that was white wine (265-ish), sparkling wines (57), rosé (35), dessert (18) and fortified (12). There were some fruit wines (9) and a couple rice wines (sake) as well.

It's no shock that we generally gravitate to red wines. It's pretty much always been that way. However, I actually find it to be a little surprising that we drink twice as much red wine as we do white. One of the most interesting things I've learned since I've become more serious about wine and matching it to our food is that, even though we generally "drink red," we tend to "eat white." That, in turn has seen a bit of gravitation to lighter reds. Instead of reaching for a big Shiraz or full bodied Cab blend, I have noticed that Pinot Noir's, Gamay's and Rosés have graced our table more frequently than they used to.

Taking on this Odyssey has definitely prompted a more adventuresome impulse when it comes to grabbing a bottle off the shelf. A new wine region or a previously unheard varietal now tend to give me a bit of tingle and urge to buy. Having been placed back on Boo's "No Buy Leash," seeing those new wines can be a bit of an exercise in self discipline though. After all, seeing a wine from Mexico, Montenegro or Brazil is not an every day occurrence.

Living in Vancouver, it's no surprise that we drink more BC wines than we do from any other region. Around 400 bottles of our first 1000 were from the home province. However, the remaining wines were spread out among 26 countries (including two additional provinces - Ontario and Nova Scotia - and seven US states). After BC, the remaining top 10 sources of our wines, so far, have been:

2. Australia - 115 bottles
3. Italy - 95
4. France - 80
5. Argentina - 60
6. Spain - 49
7. California - 38
8. Portugal and Chile (tie) - 22 and
10. New Zealand - 18

Some of the more exotic sources of a bottle or two have been Brazil, Peru, China and Cuba. I'm hoping that there are many more to come in the second half of this adventure.

I won't go into the most popular varietals. You can take a look at the category labels on the side of the blog and see that the expected varietals - like Shiraz and Cab - are featured in a whole whack of postings. One of the more exciting aspects of the blog, however, has been to chart the number of varietals that we've tried. A few months back, I managed to list the 100th varietal on my Wine Century Club application and I'm now working on taking it even higher. I may not drink a lot of Trajadura, Romorantin or Moschofilero but I certainly know of them now.

Lastly, I continue to get a kick in seeing where some of the visitors to the blog hail from. Most hits are from Canada and the States, but surprisingly, Russia has just passed Germany as the third most prolific source of hits. They are followed by the UK, India, Malaysia (both being big surprises), Australia, Brazil and Argentina. Indeed, I'm advised that folks from 78 different countries have landed on the blog for at least one visit. The blog may have taken much different directions than I originally expected, but I can't say that I'd expected readers from places such as Qatar, Nepal, Malta or Brunei. There haven't been many hits from the African continent but maybe that's something I'll have to work on in the second half of the Odyssey.

All in all, I have to say, again, that the blog has been more work than I ever expected. The good thing for me is that, putting aside the time writing and researching that could be better spent, it pretty much is a labour of love. Drinking the wine is a definite benefit and I truly enjoy learning as much as I am. Hopefully, if you're reading this, you're enjoying the blog and we'll continue to cross paths as we move on to that 2001st bottle.


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