Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Throughout the ages, the Winter Solstice has been a central inspiration for cultural mythologies and traditions. We may not be able to regularly jet off for Stonehenge, Machu Picchu or any one of a number of mid-winter festivals, but our December calendar is inevitably set to celebrate the lengthening days to come at Tyrant's annual Solstice bash.

The inconsistency of December 21 or 22 to regularly align itself on a weekend can prove troublesome to my mornings after. The brilliant food, wine and company always makes it difficult for me to take an early leave in an attempt to remain bright and chipper for work in the morning - but I suppose we all have our crosses to bear.

Tyrant's swank Coal Harbour digs are the normal gathering place but a water leak put the kibosh on that plan. Luckily for Tyrant - and even luckier for us - Boo2 stepped up to the plate and offered his home for the traditional celebration. (Once again, for the record, Boo2 isn't the same as my Boo who's mentioned in every other blog post. I know it's confusing but how do you give someone a different nickname when you've called them one thing for over 30 years? What's up with twins and the nickname "Boo" anyhow?)

The home was awash with friends old and new. I can't often arrive at soirées nowadays and know the better part of the guests. Tyrant makes it easy to fit in a whole batch of seasonal greetings in a fell swoop. That's another bonus of the Solstice party - not to forget the great assortment of wines that Tyrant always serves.

There seemed to be a bigger than usual selection this year, but I centred in on just two wines. Tyrant was serving some high end BC wines but I was pretty familiar with the Marichel and Howling Bluff offerings and they've been added to The List already. Sometimes it's tough to pass up on a known - and tasty - sip, but a limited number of glasses on a Wednesday night (even if that limit is self-imposed) begs me to go with the bottles that can keep me moving on this Wine Odyssey.

1021. 2008 Brancaia Tre (IGT Tuscany - Italy)

Having passed on the BC wines, it might seem a little contradictory to gravitate to the Brancaia Tre - seeing as how this the third vintage of Tre to be added to The List. Seeing as how the '06 vintage was added at #213 and the '05 is found at #884, I won't go into the wine much here. I rambled on a bit about this blend of predominantly Sangiovese (80%), Merlot and Cab Sauv on those other posts. I'll still repeat that I think it's a bright concept to call the wine Tre (Italian for "three") since it incorporates the three varietals, is sourced from the winery's three estates and was the third wine that Brancaia produced. And here we are with a third addition of Tre to The List.

I mentioned in those other posts that I prefer this blended Sangiovese to most of the Chianti's I've tried in our market. It's an easy drink at a cocktail party - especially here where it matches up nicely with the abundant nibblies. The Merlot and Cab seem to add a little something more approachable in fruit to the wine.

I'm only showing the one plate of food but I figure it'll give you an idea of the range of goodies available. Tyrant's love of fishing guarantees an equally expansive seafood platter and the steady stream of hors d'oeuvres makes it easy to keep washing the food down with more wine.

I'm not entirely sure how I managed to get through the evening without a shot of the Tyrant himself, but you'll have to be satisfied with some of the regular suspects. Gotta give it to Matinder. Where does one find a brilliant Santa Hawaiian shirt? Everyone should have one! I suppose he and Jeaux are just getting into the mood before they run off to Antigua. They're doing their best to talk us into joining up with them there for some libations on the beach - wine, rum, whatever. "There's plenty to be had" they assure us.

For the moment though, we'll have to settle for the cool climes of Vancouver - as warmed up by a touch of Spain.

1022. 2009 Bodegas La Candaleria - Cubo Tempranillo Selección (VdT Castilla la Mancha - Spain)

Tyrant was one of the first wine lovers I know that gravitated to Spain and its new and improved position on the world wine stage. I always like to see what little treasures and bargains he might have uncovered. The Cubo Tempranillo is new to me and I quite enjoyed it.

I couldn't find out much about the winery but it appears to be a collaborative effort between four former members of a regional collective.

The VdT - or Vino de la Tierra - designation indicates a level of wine that is higher than basic table wine but hasn't been recognized by the more more stringent controls of the (supposedly) more premium, regional appellations (DOC or Denominación de Origen). I didn't find any site that explained the wine's VdT designation instead of a DOC label but Castilla La Mancha is the region located in the heart of Spain, largely surrounding Madrid.

Unfortunately, the time passed far too quickly. With the days starting to get longer now, it just meant that the morning was going to approach that much faster. But it was a wonderful celebration of the season. Many thanks to Tyrant and Boo2. Here's an early RSVP to next year's bash (hopefully).

1 comment:

  1. With glowing accolades such as this, your invite to Mid Winter's Eve 2012 is a sure thing! And don't forget that (if the ancient Mayans were right) we'd better pop the corks on all the best bottles we can, lest they perish along with us in some great cataclysm!