Friday, December 31, 2010

Is that 7 or 6? - or both!

A few years ago my entire family in North America thought it would be a great idea to have a small family reunion in the Napa Valley. We made our way there from Victoria, BC, Edmonton, Alberta, Detroit, Michigan, and Baltimore Maryland. It was FANTASTIC!!

We enjoyed wonderful wines at some amazing wineries. I had been lucky enough to be connected with a sommelier and wine buyer at a major American restaurant, McCormick and Schmicks. He played a large part in establishing what was an excellent wine list at their over 60 restaurants around the United States. He gave me names of wineries and winemakers that we should see while we were there. Of course my wine saavy relatives came with fabulous wineries to visit too. As a consequence, we had an unbelievable visit. We went to Luna, Robert Sinskey - where your tastings come paired with different amuse bouche, Silverado, Tulocay, an all afternoon amazing wine tasting experience and many others.

On our last night together we stayed at a modern boutique hotel in San Jose. We were recommended a local restaurant with the greatest name, the Cantankerous Fish! Our knowledgeable waiter led us around their remarkable wine list, but in the end sent us toward a zinfandel none of us had had, called 7 Deadly Zins ($24.99 Fort and Foul Bay). This is a wine created by Michael and David at Lodi Vineyards in Lodi, California. It was so great, at least four bottles crossed our table, not to mention the Navan to cap the meal off, but that's a whole other story - the kind of nectar that family stories are created from!

Despite not being a huge Zinfandel fan, wait, this is becoming a trend - Joel Gott from Earls is a Zinfandel too, I was wholly impressed, and continue to be. The 7 Deadly Zins is available at the local BC Liquor store. It is consistently a  good wine, and compliments a great rib eye beautifully.

Last Tuesday, I ventured out to Oyster, a local restaurant sandwiched between Pescatores and Bon Rouge in downtown Victoria, BC. In fact, all three have the same owner, I believe. It was only the second time I had been, the first time being after a few glasses, so it was a different place! The wine list by the glass is good. The bartender and a waitress who was finished her shift and sitting at the bar suggested that we should have Sixth Sense Syrah - and that it was terrific. I had my eye on a Sandhill Merlot - which my buddy actually ordered, but I figured, why not venture out on a recommendation, those who serve usually know! I took their  suggestion and was poured my first glass. Wow - plums, ripe berries, and a great finish. I was impressed. One glass led to many more and my buddy switched immediately over too. The bottle label itself is also great with the back label having a poem on it, what fun!

Here it is from the back label:

I smell with one nose, an ancient black rose,
a memory lingering, briefly exposed.

I see with two eyes, through shadows and lies,
a secret revealing, wrapped in disguise.

I hear with my ears, three fallen tears,
echoing softly, heightening my fears.

I taste with my tongue, my panics begun,
four sides enclosed, melding as one.

I touch with my hands, a sinister plan,
five fingers discerning where I do stand.

I sense with my mind, a thought so unkind,
I’m trapped six feet under in a bottle of wine.

Of course, when I got home, much later that night, I had to check out the wine. I Googled it to see what kind of availability it had in BC. What a surprise when I found out that it was also a Michael and David production out of Lodi Vienyards! So this was their next wine - a rather wonderful attempt at a Syrah, just as good as the aforementioned Zinfandel! Obviously the winemaker is getting it right at Lodi Vineyards! I have not been able to find the wine anywhere in BC yet, but if it is at Oyster, it must be here somewhere. If you can grab a bottle - it is great for sipping or with a mild blue cheese or brie. I guess this one will have to be on the table at the next family reunion!

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