Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rooting On the Blues

Merlot Boy and Margarita were flying into Perth early this evening but they weren't scheduled to arrive until just before the start of the Aussie Rules football game that we were going to take in. So, Boo and I planned to spend a leisurely day downtown and to enjoy a picnic in the Botanical Garden.

All I can say is that it was a good thing that we stopped to have a coffee before hitting the Garden. On the map, reaching Kings Park looked like a piece of cake. What the map didn't show was that there are limited entrances into the park and, wouldn't you know it, but we were walking and we had to pick the longest possible route - which also happened to be the path that required you to climb Jacob's Ladder, a well known series of steps up the cliff side that takes you past various historical markers. After cursing my chosen path, Boo enunciated his new catch phrase for every hill we encountered from thereon - "God must hate me."

Luckily, the Botanical Garden itself was worth the effort and featured some brilliant flora and fauna - and views. By the time, we'd reached the top of Jacob's Ladder, we found the first grassy field that might suit our picnic and we put our tired old feet to rest. Kings Park might be home to thousands of Western Australian and national plant species but all those eucalypts, boabs and banksia would just have to wait until we'd finished our lunch and taken a bit of a nap.

1121. 2009 Punters Corner Single Vineyard Chardonnay (Coonawarra - Australia)

Granted, the nap might have been a little more of a necessity due to the picnic featuring one of the bottles we'd picked up back in Coonawarra. We'd come to the realization that we definitely had to drink up some of the bottles we'd collected along the way. We still had Margaret River to go and we were already well over the number that we might get past Canada Customs without paying duty.

The Chardy just seemed to say take me first. We'd already opened a bottle of Punters Corner Shiraz back in Coonawarra. So, this was our last bottle from the little boutique winery and it's not too likely that we'll ever see it back home in Vancouver. The winery only makes about 7000 cases of wine in total, but they only made 350 cases of this Chardonnay. Regular readers will know that I get a bit of kick when trying something that is limited and unique.

Chardonnay may not be my favourite white wine but, when made well with limited interference and an even-handed use of oak, I can be swayed. Our bottle was anything but chilled by the time we opened it, but that just made the body and fullness stand out. The lack of chill might have diminished the fruit on the palate a bit but it didn't seem to put a crimp in our polishing off the bottle. It would have been interesting to try this bottle side by side with the Chapel Hill Chardy that we tried the other night.

After a brief nap in the park, we made our way back through the garden to the various war memorials and the panoramic city view. But, even amongst all the intriguing plants and views, the real highlight of our little jaunt was seeing a kookaburra up close and personal. We couldn't get the little guy to laugh but it was a treat all the same. He could be a drinking buddy of our's anytime.

After a quick freshening up back at the B&B, we made our way to the local stadium where, hopefully, Merlot Boy and Margarita would meet up with us. Unfortunately for me, the game was between the Freemantle Dockers and Carlton Blues but the Blues are Margarita's team and she scored us some incredible seats - about 8 rows up, immediately behind one of the goals. Talk about being up close and personal!

Me, I barrack for the West Coast Eagles - Perth's other team - but they were playing out of town this weekend. I have learned over the years, however, that I "barrack" for the Eagles and I don't "root" for them - at least not in Australia. Down Under, "rooting" apparently means to have sex. It does make for a bit of hoot when one of the biggest national brands back home is called "Roots" though. Wearing a Roots tee or sweatshirt is kind of de riguer for Canadians while abroad. I think most Aussies are aware of the cultural difference at this time, but I still like to root for my boys.

The kids' flight arrived a tad ahead of schedule and they made good time to the Stadium, arriving just before the start of the game. There was even time to hit the beer concession before the opening toss. Margarita didn't have to miss a single minute of her boys in Blue. And, indeed, she had plenty to cheer about tonight in that the Blues made easy work of the home town Dockers.

Merlot Boy's plan, following the game, was to try and meet up some old friends of his - Bluey and Rosie - who now lived in Perth. Both of them happened to be Blues' fans, like Margarita. Plus, it was Bluey's birthday to boot. As such, there was some hefty toasting and celebrating to be had amongst the gang, but being the old farts that we are, Boo and I only lasted one shout at the bar before we begged off to head home and get a little shut eye before heading down to Margaret River in the morning. Listening to Merlot Boy's tales the next morning, we might have been sorry that we left as early as we did, but it was easy for him to say though; he doesn't drive and could, therefore, sleep away as we drove the three hours south of Perth.

But it was great to have our little gang back together again after New Orleans - half way around the world and six months later. There was no doubt that there'd be some stories to tell after the weekend to come.

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