Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Prenuptial BBQ

Since very few of the guests attending Tyrant and Panda Guy's wedding actually live on Salt Spring Island, the guys graciously opened their house for a prenuptial BBQ on the Friday night before the big day. As if they didn't have enough on their plate already.

Spending an extra night on island time was a treat in itself but having the additional chance to chat up the bevy of faces - some of whom I haven't seen in years - was a definite bonus. As I've mentioned many a time in this blog, Tyrant has one of the most comprehensive - and exciting - wine cellars I've had the pleasure of knowing. I always look forward to seeing what wines he chooses to serve at large gatherings because I often find that he's uncovered another bang-for-your-buck gem.

1427.  2011 M. Chapoutier - Les Vignes de Bila-Haut (AOC Côtes du Roussillon Villages - France)

I've seen Bila-Haut around but I don't think I've ever had more than a taste of it previously. M. Chapoutier, on the other hand, is a long time French favourite. Probably like most people familiar with M. Chapoutier, I know the winery mostly for their Rhône wines. The Bila-Haut hails from the Roussillon region, still found in the South of France like the Rhône but much closer to the Spanish border.

In recent times, Roussillon and neighbouring regions have been known more for producing great swaths of cheap bulk, if not insipid, wines. While this wine is still on the bargain end of the wine scale, M. Chapoutier is helping to raise the bar in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Indeed, for an entry level wine that has only been around since 2002, Bila-Haut has garnered hefty praise and scores from both Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator.

Although he wasn't aware of the fact, Tyrant was actually participating in International Grenache Day since the Bila-Haut is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. I overheard a number of folks saying how much they liked it when asking for a top up of their glasses. At around $15 in the Vancouver market, there's a good chance this won't be the last time I'll find Bila-Haut at a BBQ. It's a fine fit.

I'm afraid I didn't spend the whole night in the South of France though. Wanting to bring along a bit of a treat for the occasion - both Grenache Day and Tyrant's wedding - I have to admit that I pulled Tyrant aside and we did a little damage on a bottle I'd put to the side.

2008 Langmeil The Fifth Wave Grenache (Barossa Valley - Australia)

Unfortunately, the '08 Fifth Wave Grenache didn't get a number for The List tonight. This vintage had already been added to The List way back at #817 but we've still got a few bottles stashed away and I'm more than prepared to sacrifice a new number if it means enjoying a wine this nice another time.

And, if special occasions like this aren't perfect opportunities to share a favourite bottle, I don't know when it would ever be appropriate.

Despite plenty of reminiscing over years and good times gone by, our cabin by the lake called us home at a most reasonable hour. Leaving the nightcaps to the die-hards (and apparently to a small crowd of midnight arrivals - those having caught the late ferry), we opted to catch a good night's sleep in preparation for the big day ahead.

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