Saturday, November 17, 2012

Culture Crawl

One of my favourite weekends of the year in our hood is always November's East Side Culture Crawl - a three-day event that sees artists on Vancouver's East Side open their studio doors to the public to visit, to discover and to maybe even buy some of their work.  The 2013 version is the 16th annual and it's grown from 1997's 45 artists to this year's almost 450 artists. The organizers expect to attract an audience of over 15,000 patrons - a majority of whom likely never attend any other art event or gallery in the course of a year.

Between vacations and work schedules, Boo hasn't been able to attend a Crawl for a number of years now, but he was free for this evening's Friday night opening.  We decided to take in 1000 Parker Street - the biggest of all the venues - and I knew from past experience that it's nice to have a little something to ease one's way through the masses.

Arty, bohemian surroundings or not, we still needed to be somewhat circumspect in our meanderings. The solution I came up with might be the best use ever for our coffee travel mugs.  They not only keep the contents private but those double grande mugs hold a good amount of drink.

They might have, however, introduced a slight dark coffee note to the wine's palate.

1288.   2006 Bodegas LAN Rioja Crianza (D.O.C. Rioja - Spain)

Bodegas LAN was founded in 1972 and specializes in red wine, producing around 400,000 cases of wine annually - with Rioja wines representing about 90% of its production.  The balance of their wines are made from other well known Spanish regions - Rías Baixas, Rueda and Ribera del Duero.  The quality of LAN's wines has been well received over the years.  Indeed, the winery has twice been included in Wine Spectator's Top 100 list.  Bodegas LAN also made the news this year when it was purchased by Sogrape - Portugal's largest wine company.  With this purchase, Sogrape has become one of the five largest wine companies on the Iberian peninsula.  In addition to its Portugese and Spanish holdings, Sogrape also owns wineries in Argentina, Chile and New Zealand.

The Rioja Crianza is 100% Tempranillo and accounts for more than half of the winery's production.  The Crianza reference advises everyone that the wine has seen at least two years of ageing prior to release - with a minimum of one year having been spent in oak barrels.  Rioja wines are classified by four categories with each progression of a category seeing both more time in oak and ageing overall.  There's basic Rioja, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva - with Gran Reserva wines seeing a minimum of five years ageing before they're released.

Photo from Scout Magazine on Twitter
This was a bigger Tempranillo than we had the other week for International Tempranillo Day.  It had enough heft on the body to handle a cool, wet evening on the town; yet, its red fruit and balanced tannins left it easy enough to drink on its own, without the need for a meal to help it along.  Having our "go mugs" definitely played into our enjoyment of the evening.  The only problem was that we'd finished our mugs long before we'd finished our tour of the buildings - and there were no refills to be had.

I don't know if it was just the wine enhancing some of the pieces that we saw, but there were at least a couple that I could have been talked into.  The pieces were more practical than the extravagant cabinet we saw and loved but we ended up not picking up any art this time around.  It might just have been that Boo didn't have as much wine as me but we couldn't mutually agree on any pieces.  That might have been just as well since we've pretty much run out of wall space anyhow.

What Boo didn't realize though is that, if I didn't have to buy any art that night, I might just have a few spare shekels for a bit of wine now.

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