Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Lot of Wining, a Little Dining

We went to the wine festival public tasting (paying extra special attention to spelling) last night. It was awesome.

The Liquor Commission has this wine festival every year. Apparently it's a week long thing. As I recall, they used to try and push all the other events and the public tasting event was just (according to the publicity) just another event that week. They seem to now be acknowledging that their big ticket event is the tasting. Because that's where everyone goes to get their drink on. The rest of it certainly looks intriguing, but I can't afford it. Money or liver-wise.

We went with our dear friends Margo & Brian (we've gone with them in the past, or so I've been told). It started at 7:00 and we were booted out at 10:00 (but so was everyone). I really enjoy the atmosphere there, because it's a mix of people trying to be snooty snoots and slowly failing as they get further and further smashed. So speaking of which, while I can still grasp at the rapidly fading memories, here are some highlights:
  • We make a point of going first to a booth where we have a particular interest to try something that (a) we'll have a hope of remembering what we had and (b) we'll still be able to distinguish the taste of. We landed on Cape Jaffa and were not disappointed (although for some reason I kept wanting to say "Cap-pay Jaffa". It was too early to cite public drunkenness as the cause of that).

  • My super-funny friends thought it would be a lark to dare me to ask the Peter Lehmann rep if she was related to Peter Lehmann. So I did and she was not, but she HAD had dinner with the Lehmanns. At their house. AND here (I asked if it was at HER house and she said no, but it was at a local swanky restaurant). So it was *totally* worth it. And she told us about how the commissioned art for the labels are inspired by each wine it labels (and that the originals are hanging in winery). I then asked if the artist is shipped a cask of the wine for "inspiration" and visualized the artist getting shit-faced drunk to paint them. The works actually look much better than that, so it was time to move on. I would say "Margo, you owe me a buck", but we still owe them for the tickets.

  • Clearly by now, you may note that we as a group are drawn to the Australian reds. But we found a lovely Chilean wine as well called "Eclat". Unfortunately, it was a little later on and I don't recall much else about it. I remember *exactly* what the rep looked like. She was small and wiry and looked like a marathon runner. With *really* short hair. YES it was a wine tasting...

  • Can't all be about the good wine. I wish I could remember the name of the wine that we all concluded tasted like damp basement.

  • The South African wine that we tasted two years ago that then tasted like burnt tires has since upgraded to merely burnt. But unfortunately not a good - say smoky barbecue flavour - burnt. I said it was like licking a barbecue pit after it rained.

  • John the Naval Reservist. He tried to teach us a thing or two about port. The boys were interested in the whole port thing, even threatening to get "into" it (i.e. buy some and drink it), so they were quite into what John the Naval Reservist was saying. Margo and I were quite attentive but I have to say not really paying much attention to what John the Naval Reservist was saying. But we dutifully tried some port (mostly so as not to appear too obvious that we were not paying much attention to what John the Naval Reservist was saying), and pretty much maintained that, yes it was like drinking paint thinner. I will (and did) put out there that I can see how one could acquire a taste for port, and do not outright dismiss the possibility that I could acquire this taste.

  • My friends expressing subtle fear every time they did something awkward: "are you going to blog about this?" Yes, but you'll be in the witless protection program.

  • I saw someone I was *sure* I recognized from somewhere. I assumed it was work-related, so I was a little perturbed that this dude didn't acknowledge me *at all*. Not even a "hey, I know her from somewhere" double take. So several samples into the evening, I approach him & say the usual "hey, you look familiar!" And he said "yeah, you too". A few pleasantries later and I figured out that he works in our local liquor store [blushing]. I blubbered on about how he's kind of like a celebrity IN THAT (hear me out here), he sees a LOT of people and couldn't hope to recognize all of them, but each person would tend to recognize him. He had obviously been sampling as much as I had and only heard the celebrity part. So Max and I are sure to get *excellent* service on our next visit. I took it as a positive sign that we only look familiar to our local liquor store dude and that he doesn't know our names, booze preferences by season and our kids' birthdays.

  • Walking across downtown on a Saturday night (brilliant) to go for nachos at a restaurant that we'd been kicked out of years ago for complaining that they switched tequilas on us (they totally had). We didn't order tequila this time.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


  1. Ah Harmzie...I feel like I was there with you...And now that you're officially friends with your local liquor store dude (that's too funny by the way - I don't think that anyone who works at our local government run liquor store actually drinks and I always feel so judged when I go in there even though they are in the business of selling alcohol) he can help you track down Patron Cafe XO.

    Oh - and here's a totally random red recommendation:

    Don Adelio Ariano Tannat Reserve Barrel 2004 Canelones. From Uruguay. Yep. But it's really good.

  2. I'd rather it was a "give away" kind of thing, if they are sampling doesn't that imply free?:)

  3. Very well written. I am glad you filled in my blanks however, that wiry rep for Éclat was actually me.

  4. Sounds like you had fun! I know Bri and Marg and they are good people.

    I do have to say that is really whacked to dare you to ask the Lehman rep that question.

    Funny, I always thought this type of event is put on by companies who have no relationship to the actual product. For instance a rep could be at an Organic wine and then at a African wine because he works for the company which does sampling. You know- they could be reading from a script and not really first hand know the answer to a question.

    Anyhow, the proceeds of this little taste off go to the Special Olympics in our province. Awesome fundraiser and charity. Hope your headache wasn't too bad for Mother's day.

  5. The last time I went to the wine fest, I had a Madeira to finish off the night. It felt like (to be blunt) licking the nutsack of a pongy prune. It ruined the whole night's tasting for me, as I couldn't get the flavour out of my mouth.

    I'll do all my . . . sampling . . . in the comfort and companionship of my friends from now on. No prune nutsacks for me.

  6. Loved the witness protection line. Will have to use that on my kids!

  7. Country Girl - oh, you were totally there in spirit. Indubitably.

    kyooty - the cost keeps out the riff-raff. Or at least the riff-raff that couldn't front the $40. I'd like to say that I did it for the charity, but I have to say that I'd forgotten about that aspect of it.

    Margo - How'd you get that accent aigu?

    LRM - you are so busted. They *hate* being called Bri & Marg. She is going medieval on you for sure...

    Wyliekat - "licking the nutsack of a pongy prune". Thank you. I thought it was bad enough to have an ear-worm. I didn't think it was possible to have a taste-worm (??) but now I imagine that, and I can't get it out of my... tongue? bleh.

    As I was leaving - after the 10:00 "bell" I held out my glass and someone filled it. I have no idea what it was, but fortunately, it was drinkable.

    PlanningQueen - you did note that it was "witLESS"? ;-) From what I've read of your kids, I wouldn't describe them as such... :-)