Saturday, August 17, 2013

Just Like Old Times

So, it's International Rum Day. I don't know who comes up with these special occasion anniversaries. Truth be told, I pay no never mind to most of them. Occasionally, however, there's a booze-y one or a cute-sey one (like International Kiss Day or International Talk Like a Pirate Day) that I just jump on for fun.

Today's international celebration is easy enough to enjoy however. It was a long week at work and who can't use a good mojito now and then? Besides, somebody's got to use all that mint in the garden.

GatuBela, one of our old neighbours ("old" as in she moved away last year, not "old" as in aged) is back in town for the summer and she was in the neighbourhood - housesitting and sweating away at Boot Camp. After a million or so sit-ups and burpees, she definitely needed a little refreshment. I don't know if she smelled the Rum or not, but she made a bee-line to say "hi" and, before the first Mojito was history, we were making an evening of it and having her join us for dinner.

1394.  2009 Gehringer Brothers - Optimum Pinot Gris (VQA Okanagan Valley)

Taking a look back at The List, I'm a little bit surprised to see that this is only the second Gehringer Brothers wine to be added. Gehringer is one of the "old timers" of the Okanagan wine scene. The Gehringer family has been operating in the valley since 1981 when brothers, Helmut and Karl, bought the initial vineyard. Their plan was to get the vineyard up and running with German varietals while Helmut's sons were honing their winemaking skills in Germany and at Andrés - one of the initial commercial wineries that preceded today's estate wineries.

That initial involvement persisted past 1985's first vintage as the two generations are still committed to the winery - just as it seems that a third generation of Gehringer's is about to join the party.

Weather patterns were rather different back in the 80's when the Gehringer's were deciding on the grape varieties to plant in their new vineyard. They replaced the old hybrid grapes, that were being grown previously, with German white varieties as they felt there was a greater chance of the vines surviving the winters. Their Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Auxerrois, Ehrenfelser and Schönberger wines found a ready market. With climate change (or global warming or whatever it is) and being located on the Okangan's warmer Golden Mile, however, the family has planted some newer vineyards with a wider range of grapes - including reds - such that the winery boasts a portfolio of 22 different wines nowadays.

I have to admit that I generally think Germanic whites first if Gehringer Brothers' name is mentioned. I know that they have a very solid reputation in producing stellar icewines as well but I can't say that I'm familiar with those wines at all.

The Optimum label is Gehringer's premium line and they only produce a select number of wines - and only when they feel the vintage has delivered enough premium grapes to warrant a separate bottling. The Pinot Gris is definitely part of the winery's second wave of wines. There was no confusing this bottle with a German white at all. The wine saw light French oaking and was fully dry. Considering there was a touch of bite to Boo's Butter Chicken/Paneer, one of Gehringer's old school wines - with some residual sugar - might have matched up a little better.

Not to worry though.  We were fully engaged with GatuBela and her escapades. It's certainly nice to know that, even when she's moved on from the neighbourhood, all it takes is a bit of rum and a bottle of wine and we're all caught up again.

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