Saturday, September 7, 2013

Prepping for the New Curling Season

With Fall either having arrived or just around the corner, it also means that the curling season will be shortly upon us. More and more of the teams in our league are sporting team names and uniforms and the pressure was on for us to move a little past blasé. We weren't having much luck reaching any consensus with simple e-mails going back and forth. So, in an effort to get ourselves a little more organized than last year, the team decided to meet for dinner and drinks - hoping that abundant libations would prompt the free flow of our creative juices.

For the first time in many years, I was going to be starting out with the same team as I played with last year. For the last so many seasons, we've needed at least one or two new members to flesh out the team as folks have moved from Vancouver or simply moved away from the game. While there's no fear of us challenging for supremacy of the "A" or "B" Divisions in our league, the hope is that we'll be able to build on last year's learning experience - and avoid the dreaded "F."

That "improvement" is, of course, with the actual curling. Anyone who curls knows that the after-game drinks are as much a part of the game as throwing the rocks. We've never had a problem with the cocktails.

1414.  2012 Les Roches Bleues - Pays de Maures Rouge (Pays des Maures IGP - France)

Fisher was brand new to our team and to curling last year and I think it was simple kismet that he ended up playing with us - or at least with me. Fisher and his partner, Paddy, are members of the Opimian Society. So, I can pretty much rely on the fact that, when we get together, he's going to have a bottle or two that I've never seen before.

Such was the case with Les Roches Bleues. This bottle remains largely cloaked in mystery, however, as I couldn't find an easy reference to the wine or winery online. Pays de Maures is a département on the Mediterranean coast of Southern France that produces Vin de Pays wines. The red wines are made with traditional Provencal varieties and this is a Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre blend. The only reference I could find to a Domaine Les Roches Bleues was in the Beaujolais district of Brouilly and this wine clearly had a different pedigree. There wasn't much labelling on the bottle but I did see a reference to Bernard Perrin. So, we might assume that this is somehow related to the many wines under control of the Perrin family.

It was pleasant enough out in the garden to get us started. It didn't exactly whisk us off to the Mediterranean coastline but we needed a simple transition from our starting martinis.

1415.  2009 Garcia Carrión - Antaño Rioja Crianza (Rioja D.O.C. - Spain)

M'og brought along this Rioja that is an entry level blend Mazuelo (Carignan), Graciano, Garnacha (Grenache) and Tempranillo and it seems to pull in a fair bit of hardware. Our bottle featured a sticker touting a Best in Class Silver Medal at the 2012 International Wine and Spirits Competition. Antaño is the Garcia Carrión line for Rioja production (there are well over a dozen different brands in total) and they make a lot of wine. Enough to export to over 130 countries.

Burger wine. But it still didn't capture our collective vote.

With the BBQ behind us, it was back to the garden to get down to the business of choosing a team name. As luck would have it, our neighbour, Baby Mama, dropped in and the lady is known for her cultural proclivities and her writing talents. She might be of more assistance than the wine.

M'og wasn't overly thrilled with team names that incorporated a gay naughtiness with curling puns. "Tight Ends" just didn't work for him. Nor did he gravitate to the culturally cool "Legion of Broom." He was leaning towards a name that referenced the sheets of ice that we'd be playing on but his first choice of Ice Storm seemed a tad esoteric for the gang. No one wanted "Ice Queens" despite the fact that we play in a gay league.

Fisher and I thought that "Fifty Sheets of Gay" was witty and topical - as did Baby Mama - especially since they just announced that the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey would be filmed in Vancouver, but M'og and Kaz were hesitant.

Kaz seemed particularly drawn to "Sheet Show" as the pun could reference both our poor play if we sucked or our stellar "show" if we managed to put it all together.

We mulled over it some more as I opened what turned out to be our favourite wine of the evening. Indeed, a possible fave for the memory banks.

1416.  2006 Pacific Breeze GSM (Cellared in Canada)

Like the Les Roches Bleues, this was a GSM; however, I know a bit more about this wine. Its provenance is rather modern. As noted previously in this blog, Pacific Breeze is a garage winery in the truest sense of the word. They operate out of a storage unit in urban Vancouver. They source their fruit - primarily from California and Washington - and ship it to New Westminster where their garage operation turns out some very tasty wines. This bottle featured fruit from the High Valley AVA in Lake County, California.

I'm generally not a fan of the Cellared in Canada wines as they are generally bulk wines, mass produced for the entry level market but Pacific Breeze works on producing a premium sip even though they have no option but to sell under the "Cellared in Canada" banner.

Predominantly Syrah (51%) and Grenache (43%) - with a 6% shot of Mourvédre - this was a definite New World take on Rhône blends. Much more reminiscent of Aussie blends than the South of France. Smooth, fruit forward with plenty of nose and flavour, there clearly wasn't enough of it to go around and we all bemoaned the sight of the last bit being poured. Baby Mama asked for a bit to take back to her man, K-Pop, but I later bumped into him on the street but it appears the glass never made it quite as far as to his lips. Best laid plans o' mice and baby mamas, I suppose.

Too bad there were only 400 cases made of this GSM and it's from 2006. I'd certainly like to get my hands on some more of it.

2006 La Frenz Merlot (Naramata Bench - Okanagan Valley)

Our last bottle of the night was the La Frenz and we were so engaged with our discussions of team names and uniforms (the latter of which we made very little headway) that I didn't even remember to take a photo of the bottle. Could be that I subconsciously knew that I'd already added this vintage of the Merlot to The List (at #425) and that, therefore, it wouldn't be featured to the same extent. The Pacific Breeze was a hard act to follow but the La Frenz did a good job of standing up for itself - earning itself some fine kudos from the assembled gang.

Unfortunately, our curling club's bar doesn't carry wines of this calibre. We're more of a beer league in the truest sense of the words. That just means that our little "Sheet Show" will have to plan a few more of these little get-togethers.

As for the mean time, "Good Curling."

No comments:

Post a Comment