Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Turkey Wines

Of course, the title "Turkey Wines" refers to the wine we drank with our Christmas turkey - not wines that were made in Turkey, although I would like to try some of those one day.  But, I digress.

Forgetting one's camera at home on a big family event day like Christmas isn't supposed to happen.  But, I suppose sh*t really does happen - at least it did to us today.  Hence, there won't be any "idyllic family by the tree" shots or extravagant "Grampa slicing the roast turkey" photos this year.  Just a couple of blurry iPhone clicks that are hardly worth the effort.

Ah well, we shall persevere.

As tradition would have it, my sis, Vixen, hosted dinner.  She's got the kids; so, the day's largely about them anyhow - even though those kids are rather grown up now.  The oldest, Stargirl, is 18 and our start to dinner was delayed this year because she was the one working during the day.  Generally, it's Boo's hospital shifts that mess us up but he actually had the day off this year and. luckily so, because it turned out he was particularly happy to be there to open his presents from Vixen and the kids.  It's funny how much they've come to know his little sic-fi leanings, but he was tickled pink with his VIP pass to The Hobbit and his USS Enterprise pizza cutter.  To the extent that he quickly announced that the Enterprise was so special, it was never going to cut an actual pizza.

Sci-Fi geek or not, I suppose I have to allow him his Star Trek nerdiness.  After all, he lets me obsess about wine, as much as I do, without complaint - that is, except when he goes on about how I regularly get carried away with the purchasing of said wine.

I just have to be quick to respond to any of his whines by pointing out that all that purchasing helps put us in a position of always having bottles ready to bring along for dinner when needed.

1327.  2008 Red Rooster Reserve Gewürztraminer (VQA Okanagan Valley)

I'm not generally the biggest Gewurz fan around but I have no problem wrapping my tongue around Red Rooster's Reserve - particularly with pre-dinner cheeses and with Christmas turkey and its myriad of trimmings.  We got to enjoy the wine with food, but this has been a palate pleaser with or without an accompanying nibble.  I doubt that the Vancouver Magazine judges were enjoying it with roast gobbler and they still named this Gewurz as one of 2010's Best BC Wines.

Beyond Gewurz, I always think of Pinot Noir as another "go to" wine for matching with turkey and fond memories forced me to grab this next bottle when I saw it on a local shelf.  Only problem is that I forgot to take a picture of the bottle during dinner.  Too much seasonal excitement I suppose.

1328.  2009 Del Fin del Mundo Reserva Pinot Noir (Patagonia - Argentina)

I was quite pleased to find the Del Fin del Mundo Pinot locally because Boo and I quite enjoyed quaffing some back on our final night in Buenos Aires a few years back.  I'd discovered the winery during the 2010 Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival (as it then was) but we weren't going to be able to make our way down to Patagonia to visit the winery.  Del Fin del Mundo, however, had opened a happening restaurant in B.A. to highlight their wines and the region's cuisine. The folks at Experiencia Del Fin del Mundo treated us royally and we had one of our most enjoyable meals during the whole trip. Unfortunately, we were well past being able to fit a couple more bottles into our luggage for the trip home.  So we couldn't bring any more of their wines home with us.  This was the first time I'd run across the Pinot Noir in Vancouver.

Patagonia is hardly the wine region that immediately pops into most people's heads when they think of Argentine wines, but Del Fin del Mundo is one of the wineries leading the way to try and make just those thoughts more de rigeur.  Being located much more to the cooler climes of the South, Patagonia is gaining a particular reputation for Pinot Noir.  It's definitely on the New World end of the Pinot scale - bigger and bolder than many Pinots in our market, but the bottle quickly disappeared into glass after glass.

Turned out that we had an extra Christmas "treat" and a Guest Alcohol to the blog when Big Trucker brought out a specialty cask of Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey that he and Vixen had run across during their wanderings in Washington State.  That "beautiful" golden bottle is one of Jim Beam's specialty decanters that were first introduced in 1955.  This particular beauty was purchased by the original buyer (and was recently discovered as part of an estate) in 1972 for $21.  These liquor decanters became an popular limited edition item for Jim Beam and the concept actually became quite popular with other liquor producers as well.  By the 70's, up to 20 distillers were producing similar decanters.  Jim Beam was one of the few companies that owned their own china factory however.  All in all, over a thousand different decanters have been made over the years in all styles - from classic cars and wildlife to sport and politics - and there are all sorts of web pages and sales dedicated to them.

Big Trucker's bottle featured 172-month old bourbon back in '72; so, add the 40 years since then and this was some fairly well-aged hooch.  Not my regular cuppa, but I figured I'd best take advantage of a pretty rare opportunity.

1329.  2008 Rustic Roots Iced Orin (Similkameen Valley)

Our last bottle of the evening was served up with Boo's pies.  He'd made his Mom's trademark pecan pie, as well as an apple pie (for the benefit of the kids).  As Southern' as it may sound, bourbon and pecan pie isn't necessarily everyone's first choice for dessert; so, I'd planned ahead and brought along the Iced Orin apple wine, thinking it would be a perfect match to Boo's apple pie.

Having had the Forbidden Fruit Bliss fortified white cherry last night, we figured why not continue with a Similkameen fruit wines and moved on to a wine from just a few miles down Hwy 3.

Now operating a fifth generation farm, the Harker family helped settle the Similkameen Valley back in 1888 and the family has been selling produce from their 30 acres of organic farmland for many a year.  Finally Troy and Sara Harker decided it was time to make some wine with some of all that fruit they'd been growing and had at their disposal.  The Iced Orin has turned out to be a highly commended wine for them.  Indeed, Radio & TV personality and wine show host, Terry David Mulligan, has sung the wine's praises many a time over the air.

Made from certified organic Sweet Orin apples, there isn't a lot of it.  Only 200 cases was made of the 2008 vintage and I was happy to see some of it in Rustic Roots' tasting room awhile back when I had stopped in on the way back from the Okanagan.  There was no doubt that it was about the best match imaginable for homemade apple pie.

After a day of prepping and fussing, it was also a sweet and tasty way to bring a close to another Christmas.  Hopefully, here's to many more.

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