The Longest Month of the Year

Climbing Mount Abstinence
Climbing Mount Abstinence

February is here..finally.  It’s been a long dry January – and I really mean dry.

A good friend of mine, who has often been my partner in wine, makes  a point of abstaining for the month, giving her liver a chance to recover after the holiday.

How hard could climbing Mt. Abstinence  be?

Especially after my husband, my brother and two great friends said goodbye to 2014 with some outstanding dinner companions named Barolo, Brunello, Amarone, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and more…14 to be exact,  including a special bottle I was saving from Mission Hill that mistakenly became Bottle #12.

Yes, my liver could use a vacation, too.

IMG_5546
The Day After or As One Hungover Friend Put It, “Happy *** New Year”

Suddenly I seemed to become a magnet for every announcement for the latest wines to hit the store. Smart buys! Spectacular Spanish wines. Sigh!

But it was clear sailing… until Friday.

While every day is worthy a good glass of wine, when it comes to Fridays, it should almost be compulsory.  On that first Friday of Abstinence – 5 PM came with no stop at the liquor store on the way home, no perusing the shelves looking for that special bottle or arriving home with a bottle decanting ready to pour while my husband  and I  dissect the week and celebrate the start of the weekend.

OK, I decided  just one bottle wouldn’t be the end of the world  – that’s still half as much as we would normally drink on a Friday. And one more on Saturday. But I survived Sunday.  I believe in celebrating small victories.

A Worthy Brunello
A Worthy Brunello

It pretty much went the same for the whole month. What I did learn, when you are only drinking two bottles a week – you make sure they are really great ones like this Brunello.

You also sip slowly and savour because in two and a half glasses, the bottle’s empty.

 

 

An Irish friend of mine said he and his friends  would also take “the pledge” (to avoid alcohol) once a year. But they had the right idea. They picked February, the shortest month.

Cheers!

Weekend Wine Picks and Award-winning Wines

mission hill winery Mission Hill Family Estate Winery  in  BC’s Okanagan Valley received  top honours this week. Wine Align, the online wine rating service awarded it  Winery of the Year, snatching it from Ontario’s Tawse, which  has won for the past three years.

The award of distinction is based on five of its wines that received gold and platinum medals at this year’s National Wine Awards.  They are:

Mission Hill Riesling Reserve 2011 – Platinum 100% Riesling – This was the first wine in the flight of award winners. This wine would turn me into a regular Riesling drinker. The nose sent me to a peach and honey heaven.  It was perfectly balanced, with a deliciously long finish.

Mission Hill  Chardonnay Reserve 2011  100% Chardonnay . Citrus meets a hint of coconut. Aged in oak for eight months, it is very subtle.

Mission Hill Perpetua Osooyos Vinyard Estate 2010 Chardonnay    100% Chardonnay This is part of the winery’s  Legacy series of Premium wines.

Mission Hill   Compendium  2009 – Platinum – This is a Bordeaux-inspired blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. Also part of the Legacy Series, it is wine-making at its finest. Complex, full-bodied and elegant.

Mission Hill  Riesling Icewine 2011 – Admission – I know it is very unpatriotic to say I am not a fan of icewine because we produce some of the best in the world……but there are no absolutes. This was simply outstanding. Exceptionally balanced so the sweetness was perfect and not overwhelming, which is why they are often not my favourites. If you get the chance, try this one.

Sadly not all of these wines are available across the country unless by special order. Why we can’t order our own wines directly from the winery as they do in the US continues to be a mystery.  But here are a few wine picks that are available for your sampling this weekend.

cave springCave Spring 2011 Riesling Estate VQA Beamsville Bench ($17.95) There  was a cornucopia of Ontario releases at the LCBO this week. I am on a mission to get reacquainted with Riesling especially because there are such fine examples from BC and ON. If you like citrus with a touch of honey and pear – you will like this wine. It is fresh and appealing. Perfect with Sushi.

 

riojaDomeco de Jarauta Lar de Sotomayor Vendemia Rioja 2010 ($17.95) Spanish wines are often overlooked in the showy presence of their neighbouring spotlight hoggers in Italy and France. This Rioja has some punch to it. It is full-bodied with notes of black and red fruit. 90% Tempranillo, 5% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano grapes. Great value.

 

mcmanis syrah 2011McManis Syrah 2011 ($19.95) Speaking of big and luscious, this Californian delivers in every way. This wine will keep you warm sitting on a patio with a blanket because you are not ready to move indoors just yet. Red fruit jammy with a touch of pepper. I highly recommend it.

 

 

Enjoy your wine-shopping this weekend. The women of wine are heading to the Big Apple and some highly recommended wine bars and we will report back next week.

Cheers!