Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Night at Memphis Blues with the Boys

It's been awhile since the Gang of Five got together for dinner. The Gang finished off our university days decades back now but it's been meeting for dinner every so often for almost as long just to keep up with everyone's going's on. As much as it's an informal Gang of Five, we haven't been able to assemble the full crew for the last so many meetings. Tonight was no different. Usually it's Downhill Doug that bows out, but tonight it was The Pink One that wasn't be able to make it. So, once again, we were a Gang of Four - or perhaps more accurately, a Gang of Pour.

Since The Pink One is a pescatarian, we took advantage of his absence and met up at a venerable Vancouver shrine to meat - Memphis Blues BBQ House. I was surprised that none of the other boys had ever been, especially since Memphis Blues has been around for over a decade now and Mr. Big is the personification of meat-eater.

I'm rather sure that most folks reach for the nearest beer when it comes to BBQ, but the folks behind Memphis Blues have always looked to keep a small, but well thought out, wine list. I doubt there are many restaurants that can win accolades in wine list competitions with a list of only a dozen or so budget priced wines. The guys at Memphis manage just that - and we tested out a couple.

1076. N.V. Don Leòn - Tempranillo Merlot Syrah (La Mancha - Spain)

We went for the Spanish blend to start as it came highly recommended by our enthusiastic waitress - although it was a rather roundabout procedure in picking the wine. They were out of our original Spanish choice and this was the last bottle they had of this wine; however, she had just opened it to give a sample to someone looking for a glass of wine. Can't say that I've ever agreed to take a previously opened bottle - even if she offered it with a slight discount on the price.

I hadn't heard of the wine before and couldn't find out anything more about it online. My guess is that it's a bulk, cooperative effort - particularly since it's a non-vintage wine. It showed a more modern Spanish profile, with bigger presence than I'd normally expect for a Tempranillo, but it wasn't over the top in its fruit forwardness. It didn't wow me but it was fine for BBQ fare.

1077. 2009 Château Pesquié - Terrasses Rouge (Côtes du Ventoux - France)

I'm a little more familiar with the Pesquié. I may not regularly imbibe, but I certainly recognize the Terrasses label and I'm cognizant of its reputation of good bang for buck. Terrasses is definitely an example of a more modern style coming out of Provence and the Southern Rhône. A blend of (predominantly) two-thirds Grenache and a third Syrah (with traces of Carignan and Cinsault fleshing it out), the boys preferred this bottle with their pulled pork, ribs and brisket.

I'm gonna admit that the conversation and the BBQ took precedence over the wine tonight. I was impressed, however, that the boys - for the most part - even preferred the wine over beer given tonight's fare. We sure wouldn't have gone that route back in university days.

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