Sunday, June 21, 2015

Boo's Big Day

Now that I'm well into the final 100 wines on this Odyssey, I'm particularly thrilled when I get to work in special events with special wines and the best of drinking buddies. That's exactly what this blog was meant to focus on.

Boo was running up against one of those landmark birthdays. So, I organized a BBQ with some of our nearest and dearest. It also provided the "perfect" opportunity to pull the cork on possibly our most unique bottle of all to be added to The List.

Seeing as how it was Boo's b-day, there was plenty of pulled pork, chili and red wine. There were certainly more than three empty bottles at the end of night but these were the three that I played a part in finishing.

1937.  2012 Synchromesh Pinot Noir Rosé - Palo Solara Vineyard (Okanagan Valley)

Memphis Blues (our favourite local BBQ haunt) has long convinced me that Rosé wine pairs perfectly with smoked meat. It only made sense then to grab a bottle from one of our favourite new producers in the Okanagan. Alan Dickinson's wines from Synchromesh are, shall we say, difficult to obtain because he only makes limited, single vineyard bottlings. Things might get a tad easier for Boo and I to get our hands on their wines though since we joined the Synchromesh wine club. With so many wonderful BC wines being made nowadays, we have to be careful not to over-extend our excitement and join too many of the clubs that are popping up to tempt one and all. Synchromesh is one that I've obviously succumbed to.

It's easy to say that I've simply fallen for Alan's emphasis on Riesling but there's definitely more to it than that. This Pinot Noir Rosé is an example. The Palo Solara Vineyard is located in East Kelowna and its north-west facing slopes results in a high retention of acidity, a critical component when using the traditional saignée method of bleeding the juice for the Rosé off the pressed fruit for the primary Pinot Noir wine. The saignée method not only results in a bolder base wine but can create a vibrant Rosé to boot. Win. Win. Just like we did on this summer afternoon.

1938.  2008 Sacred Hill Deerstalkers Syrah (Hawkes Bay - New Zealand)

I have to admit that, when it comes to New Zealand wines, my initial thoughts generally gravitate to their whites - the famous Sauv Blancs and, more and more, the Pinot Gris and Rieslings. I don't usually think red unless it's Pinot Noir - and particularly Central Otago Pinots. Thing is, I can't afford many of the latter wines. It was, therefore, a different treat when Shelback and Chewbacca brought along a Kiwi Syrah. It's almost an inevitability that Boo and I quaff BC wines with these two ladies since they're two of our closest confidantes from the BC Wine Appreciation Society. It almost seems like we're cheating on BCWAS when we drink wines from other regions.

Being the equal opportunity drinkers we are, however, pulling the cork on a bottle from Gimblett Gravels - one of most valued sub-regions in New Zealand - definitely falls within the definition of birthday treat. I don't think Sacred Hill is a regular find in the Vancouver market although I know they've participated in the Vancouver International Wine Festival on at least a couple of occasions. Far from the big, juicy Shiraz wines made across the Tasman Sea in Oz, this was a more elegant approach that I think I would have enjoyed more at a formal sit down dinner as opposed to only grabbing a casual sip every now and then while wandering around and through birthday guests and duties.

Gotta love friends that bring sweet bottles like this to your party though.

1939.  2008 Red Rooster Meritage - 3L (Okanagan Valley VQA)

This Red Rooster is one of those bottles that you have to wait for the right moment to open. I wanted to make sure I added it to The List and I figured this was as perfect an opportunity as I was likely to come across. Firstly, because we needed a few friends to join in with us. I don't even want to consider the possibility of Boo and I finishing off a 3-litre bottle on our own (especially in one sitting). And, secondly, since this was a full circle kind of opportunity. I'd arranged a consignment for the bottle for Boo's last landmark birthday. I figured it made good sense to enjoy it five years on.

During one of our Adopt-A-Row visits with the good folks at Red Rooster winery, I noticed a couple of hand-painted artist bottles. I obtained the name of the artist and enquired whether she'd create a bottle "all about Boo." I sent her some favourite photos and memories of my man and she created an homage to travelling (& kissing camels), Star Trek, ferrets and Pride.

The next step was to ask Red Rooster winemaker, Karen Gillis to fill the one-of-a-kind bottle. I gave her carte blanche to choose whatever she thought was tasting good in the cellar at the time - simply advising her that Boo has a penchant for big reds. She picked her 2008 Meritage - which just happened to win a Lt. Governor's Wine Award the next year in 2011. If you simply must have a double magnum sitting around in your cellar, it might as well be filled with one of that winery - and region's - more celebrated wines.

I hadn't actually looked at the bottle in awhile and we had a bit of a scare when I pulled it out of the winery box. There'd been some leakage from the cork - not a lot but enough to lead us to immediate fears of oxidation. Having tried this vintage previously, I'd expected a little more boldness to the fruit but, thankfully, the wine showed no other signs of spoilage.

For some reason, there was no problem polishing off even that big of a bottle. Must be something about Boo's friends.

I guess our next step will be to see if Karen will give us a re-fill on the bottle - in the spirit of recycling and all that you know. I'm pretty sure that we won't be pulling the cork on any refill prior to hitting my 2001st bottle on this Odyssey though, but I'll have to see what, if anything, this blog has morphed into by that time. Time - and birthdays - will only tell.

In the meantime, I think there are still a few more bottles, if not birthdays, in the immediate future and I'd best get to them.

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