Saturday, September 28, 2013

We're a Happy Team at Hawthorn

This was hardly a stellar season for either Boo's or my teams in this year's Australian Football League. Neither his Brisbane Lions nor my West Coast Eagles even made it into the playoffs, let along the Grand Final. All the same, we made sure we were all set up to watch the big game in Aussie Rules. It can be a bit of task to find Aussie Rules live on Canadian TV - particularly at a reasonable hour - but the Grand Final is, luckily, pretty much guaranteed to be on the tube.

For a number of years now, we've thrown a steak or shrimp on the barbee, popped the cork on a lively Shiraz and settled in for a crazy game of high flying "marks" and brutal tackles. On occasion, we've had friends join us for the game - despite their not knowing anything about the game except that the players wear short, tight shorts and jerseys specifically designed to accentuate bulging biceps. Not this year though. We were on our own. As if that would stop us. We simply pulled out all the Hawthorn gear that our favourite Aussie, Merlot Boy, had given us over the years and hoped for a good game.

As much as I love me a grand Aussie Shiraz, we decided on a bottle in honour of Merlot Boy since his beloved Hawthorn Hawks had made it to the Grand Final for the second year in a row. Funny, but we didn't have any Australian Merlots sitting around at home.

1432.  2008 Le Vieux Pin Merlot (VQA Okanagan Valley)

There was no fear of this baby not being up to the rough and tumble game.
The LVP was much bigger than expected - even with a bit of aging on it. Indeed, it was so big with tannin and heft that the fruit was largely buried. I doubt that I'd have identified it as a Merlot had I not known in advance and it's not often that I find a BC Merlot to be too big to enjoy as a simple sipper once the steak was done. Thinking back though, I maybe shouldn't have been so surprised since Le Vieux Pin's sister winery, La Stella, produces its monster Maestoso Merlot - perhaps BC's only $100 Merlot (not that many wines of any grape variety pull in that sort of price).

Luckily, our Merlot opened up some as the evening and the game carried on. It probably helped as well when I started drinking the wine out of a wine glass instead of sipping it from my Hawks coffee mug.

It's funny that, last year, Boo, Merlot Boy and I saw Hawthorn play at the MCG and tonight's opponent, the Freemantle Dockers play in Perth. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly a gripping final sitting at home. I'm sure it didn't help that there was plenty of rain falling in Melbourne and the player's grip on the ball kept slipping. It might have been more exciting if we'd been there watching the game live at the MCG with Merlot Boy. But, that would have been a tough ticket to pull off. On this side of the pond, the game doesn't start until 10 p.m. local time. So, by the time Hawthorn had built up a decent lead in the 3rd quarter, it was well past midnight and we were having to work at keeping our eyes open.

We were well into our next day before we finally saw the Hawks hold off the Dockers claim the cup by a 77-62 score. I'll just assume that our cheering and our choice of wine for Merlot Boy were the determining influences on the outcome.

You're welcome Merlot Boy.

Next year, however, I want to see my West Coast Eagles battling for the glory. Since they're a Perth based team, I'm sure I could rustle up a prime Margaret River wine for the occasion.

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