Monday, January 2, 2012

Wine Boyz - A New Year's Eve Edition

Poor Boo. He got scheduled to work New Year's Eve - after having to work Christmas Day as well. And for the second year running, I'd have work a little to find a means to a kiss at midnight. Luckily, Skipper stepped into the breach and suggested that he host a special edition of Wine Boyz - Ringing in the New Year. GQ was going to be in town and they needed an excuse to show off the new dining room light fixture.

Our concept for Wine Boyz is that everyone brings a wine according to a pre-announced theme but they keep the wine literally under wrap (in a paper bag) so that we can have an innocent bystander pour the wines into a carafe and no one knows what wine they're tasting. Some of our regular attendees were going to be out of town but it's been almost a year since our last Wine Boyz tasting, so we decided to go with it anyhow. To top it off, Skipper thought that New Year's Eve called for a lifting of the traditional $25 cap on the bottle price. A "big" night called for even bigger wines.

Seeing as how Skipper and GQ had a Italian treat hanging around from their visit a couple years back, he thought Tuscan Reds would make for a great theme. We ran into a bit of problem in that one of intended guests only drinks white wine. So, the compromise was five Tuscan reds and three BC whites.

N.V. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin (AOC Champagne - France)

Is there any better way to start off New Year's Eve off than with a bit of bubble? Skipper wisely decided to open the real Champagne while we were still sober enough to truly enjoy it. The Veuve was non-vintage and it had already been added to The List (at #385) when we were celebrating the Canadian Men's Hockey Team's 2010 Olympic win; so. we started the evening off with a wine that doesn't even make The List. But, celebrations like gold medals and new years are few and far between, so I think this pointed us in the right direction for a pretty decent evening of our own.

After blind tasting each of the wines - with and without nibblies - the Wine Boyz (and Grrrlz) all rank the wines from favourite to least. Then we count up the points and low score wins. Although all three of our whites went in different directions, there was very little to choose between them. After one sip, you'd like #2. With another, you'd move on to #3. I think the fact that all three wines scored within 2 points of the others confirms that.

1031. 2010 Ganton & Larson Prospect Winery - Ogopogo's Lair Pinot Grigio (VQA Okanagan Valley)(13 points)

1032. 2010 Road 13 Stemwinder (VQA Okanagan Valley)(14 points)

1033. 2010 Orofino Riesling (Similkameen Valley - BC)(15 points)

Ganton & Larson walked away with the win, but I think it'd be easy to call this a statistical tie - given a margin of error for the number of glasses consumed. If memory serves (which might be a questionable issue), each of the three wines got at least one first place vote.

There's more of a variance in the scores for the red wines. I find myself at a bit of disadvantage when writing this entry. By the end of the evening's fun, it didn't even dawn on me to bring my tasting notes home with me. Skipper, being the fastidious cleaner that he is, had tossed the notes by the next morning. So, I can't elucidate on how I responded to each of the wines - except that I know my favourite of the evening went completely against the grain of all the other Wineboyz.

1034. 2008 Gianni Brunelli Rosso di Montalcino (DOC Rossi di Montalcino - Tuscany - Italy)(13 points)

1035. 2005 Fanti Tenuta San Filippo - Rosso di Montalcino (DOC Rosso di Montalcino - Tuscany - Italy)(14 points)

Another statistical tie if you ask me. One different vote and the order could be completely askew. I'd brought along the Fanti Tenuta so it's in my best interest to push that position - not that I knew anything about the wine or the producer beforehand, but bragging rights for the top pick go a long way with this crew.

I enjoyed the fact that there was a bit of variance in the type of wines that were tasted. All of the reds were Tuscan but there were four different styles and sub-regions represented. It's even more interesting to me that the two Rosso di Montalcino's - or Baby Brunello's - were the general favourites.

1036. 2007 Ruffino Riserva Ducale Riserva (DOC Chianti Classico - Tuscany - Italy)(18 points)

1037. 2008 Tenuta Sette Ponti - Crognolo (IGT - Tuscany - Italy)(21 points)

1038. 2007 Poliziano Mandrone di Lohsa Rosso (IGT Maremma - Tuscany - Italy)(26 points)

I also find it interesting that the two Super Tuscans were the gang's least favourite wines. The Tenuta Sette Ponti and the Poliziano were the two wines that made use of grapes that were not traditionally allowed in Tuscan wines (hence the IGT designation). The Crognolo is Sangiovese/Merlot blend and the Mandrone di Lohsa is predominantly Cab Sauv with additions of Alicante, Petit Verdot and Carignan.

My personal pick of the night was the Poliziano; however, every other person ranked it as their least favourite. I find that somewhat ironic that Skipper announced that it was the most expensive wine of the night (by at least $20). Just goes to show - no, not that I have the most sophisticated palate - that price doesn't mean everything when it comes to pleasing the masses. The good news for me was that I got to drink as much of the bottle as I liked. While the others scrambled for the other wines, I got to sip away on the big gun all to myself.

The fact that I get to add the Alicante varietal to my Wine Century Club list is an added bonus. Perhaps I subconsciously knew that the wine was blended with a new grape and, as a result, my pleasure zone was just tweaked into a higher gear.

NV. Bastianich Flor Prosecco (Veneto - Italy)

When midnight finally rolled around, the cork was popped on another bottle of bubbly. Again, it was a non-vintage bottle that has already been added to The List (#409). So, we ended the evening's wines like we started - with a bottle that doesn't help me get any further to my goal of 2001 different bottles.

That might have been the end of opening new bottles but it certainly wasn't an end to the evening's festivities. And, despite what you might think about the accompanying picture, things didn't get nearly as out of hand as it might appear. The picture was staged, honestly - whether you care to believe it or not - indeed, GQ doesn't even really like white wine that much. So, he'd never guzzle it like that.

Skipper's home has a sizeable deck with a lovely view of False Creek and the downtown Vancouver core - and it became an impromptu dancefloor that beckoned two different sets of neighbours. A bloody freezing dancefloor, no doubt, but a dancefloor all the same. And what's a little chill on New Year's Eve? I will point out that there were some pictures of the skyline without the squiggly lines. I just chose this shot for artistic merit - as we tried to determine how to get a shot without a tripod. It wasn't just the wine. Scout's honour.
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable start to 2012. New Year's Day was perhaps a little more challenging, but I just have to face it that there are going to be a few occasions where I'll have to sacrifice myself a bit to ensure that this little Wine Odyssey reaches a conclusion. Big thanks to Skipper and GQ for playing such a big part in helping out with that quest.

I suppose it's a no-brainer that I should set a resolution to keep more up-to-date with my postings. I'll give that a whirl - but it's a good thing I don't actually make resolutions anymore.

Happy Happy for the upcoming year! Here's to an abundance of great wines in 2012!

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