Monday, November 24, 2014

Finding One's Muse

1805.  2007 Muse Syrah (Vancouver Island)

I'm thinking this is probably one of the last bottles of Muse - or Chalet Estate - wines that we have around home. Boo and I no doubt picked this up at the winery the last time we visited Bella Jianna and Flyboy B at their Vancouver Island abode. Unfortunately, that was some years ago and it's pretty much a given that we won't be doing it again - at least not from our friends' happy home in Sidney. As we learned back in the summer, Jianna and B no longer live on the island. So, we likely won't be sitting on any sunny decks sipping Saanich Peninsula wines with them anymore.

I guess that fact will just make this bottle a little more memorable.

Just as Bella Jianna and Flyboy are transitioning from Vancouver Island to the Okanagan, their old neighbourhood winery was in transition when we visited and bought this wine. The old winery, Chalet Estate had been purchased and re-named as Muse in 2008. This '07 vintage would, therefore, still have been started under the watchful eye of the old owners.

Without some major changes in weather due to global warming, Vancouver Island isn't likely to become a hotbed of locally grown Syrah. It just doesn't get hot enough. Island climate is far more conducive to whites and it can be a challenge to ripen even a few of the lighter reds or hybrid grapes. Understandably, this Syrah is made from Okanagan grapes and such purchases allows Island wineries to offer a fuller portfolio of wines that can include some big reds. I'm not sure that I fully endorse that idea. I might be more inclined to focus on the capabilities of the local terroir. That being said, Chalet had produced some award winning Syrah over the years. So, regardless of the provenance, when the wine's good, it only makes sense to buy it.

I think the years of ageing may have diminished some of the brighter fruit that would have been evident earlier in this bottle's life, but the wine still had a lovely nose and it paired quite nicely with some lamb meat pies that we picked up from the Aussie Pie Guy food truck.

With Bella Jianna and Flyboy B's departure from the Island, our visits to Island wineries will no doubt be limited in the future but something tells me there'll still be a Syrah or two to be had from their new home in the Okanagan.

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