Monday, February 9, 2015

Norma Jean's 90

There have been a number of landmark birthdays noted on this blog - mostly as my friends catch up to me at 50 - but this is the first 90th birthday that we've toasted.

My cousins organized a surprise party for my aunt, albeit it was a somewhat subdued affair. Even nowadays, with a generally improved longevity, most folks don't have a lot of peers when they hit 90. Plus, there's always that added risk of surprising folks - and their tickers - as we've aged. Luckily, the surprise was more of a "what the heck's going here" kind of surprise than a "jump out of the closet, yelling" surprise. Perhaps the bigger surprise was that the kids had managed to bring along one of my uncles who lives clear across the province and another aunt who isn't fairing nearly as well as her sister is.

I wasn't even sure that there was going to be wine at the party. After all, it could have been a genteel affair with rolled cucumber sandwiches and pinkies-in-the-air cups of tea. Luckily my aunt still likes a glass of wine to liven things up. So, The List is being bolstered by another two additions.

1857.  2013 Castillo de Monséran Garnacha (Cariñena D.O. - Spain)

Castillo de Monséran has a reputation locally as a "go to" bargain wine. Given BC's government monopoly and pricing structure, there aren't too many wines that sell for under $10 that are actually quite decent. The cousins did well to cotton on to the Garnacha (or Grenache). Indeed, Daenna Van Mulligen, Vancouver's resident Wine Diva, declares in her companion website, WineScores, that this a "buy-it-by-the-case gem, consistent and delicious." It's a big sip for a lot of people but the abundance of sweet fruit and spice also makes it an approachable drink - on its own or with heartier snacks.

1858.  2012 Scrap Book Red Blend (Okanagan Valley VQA)

I almost passed on the Scrap Book Red but I saw that it's an Okanagan Valley VQA wine; so, I figured I needed to give it at least a taste. I know that there's a seemingly endless array of new wineries in the Okanagan every year but this is a brand that I've neither seen before nor heard of - and I like to think that I have a pretty good handle on BC wines.

Guess I should have taken a shot of the back of the bottle because I can't find any further information on the wine even after the fact. There doesn't appear to be a winery called Scrap Book at all, nor could I find any link to the wine itself - except to see that it was offered for a sale price at Everything Wine. I couldn't find any reference to what the grapes were (although I'm assuming there was a good proportion of Merlot in the mix) except for the fact that the grapes and wine qualified it for VQA status.

Given that this appears to be a brand-driven bottling, I'm not surprised to find that it had a profile that resembled the new brand of accessible, sweeter wines like Apothic. In fact, I even mentioned that to my sister since my older niece is starting to discover wine and she asked her mom to pick up a bottle of Apothic at the liquor store. Definitely inoffensive, like [yellow tail] in its hey-day, there's a definite place for these wines - even if it's not necessarily my first pick for a sip at home.

Turned out that my cousin chose it because she noticed the label and thought it was appropriate since my aunt has enjoyed scrapbooking through the years.

Those couple bottles turned into a good number of hours and, once the birthday cake and the obligatory family shot with the uncles, aunts and cousins was taken, we bid the birthday girl "adieu" and hoped that we'd get together sooner than when the next landmark b-day comes around.

Happy Birthday girl!

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