Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sochi: 18 Days, 18 Wines Part 2

Day 10 - Canada Curls
Part 2 of our Olympic wine pairing starts with a busy day for the Canada Men's Curling team who take on both Great Britain and the USA. You're gonna need something to sip slowly over many hours. No better match than the Painted Rock Estate Winery 2010 Red Icon which will evolve in the glass over time. Time you will have.

Day 11 - Defence Begins
No disrespect meant to the likes of Norway and Austria, but Canada truly begins their defence of the 2010 Ice Hockey gold medal on Day 11 against Finland. The Finns have a great team including, possibly, the best trio of goalies in the tournament. Canada will have to score early and play a puck-possession game to win if they want to finish first in their pool with a win over the Finns. Big time confidence will be needed, the type of confidence displayed by the full-bodied, full-throttle, inky-purple hued Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignon.

Day 12 - Mountain Diving
If only the Men's Team Large Hill ski jumping event meant that the whole team jumped at the same time- what an amazing sight that would be. Maybe that's a new event they can add for the 2018 games in Pyeongchang: synchronized ski jumping. Precision, balance and chutzpah. Makes me think of the SynchroMesh Wines 2012 Thorny Vines Vineyard Riesling.

Day 13 - Short Track
February 18th sees a busy day at the Short Track Speed Skating rink where Canada can always count on collecting a few medals and where we see North Korea's limited Olympic sports funding applied. The action will be fast and furious which calls for a wine that won't distract or detract from the special of speeding around a hockey rink-sized ice sheet at 50+ kph. Go with the still available JoieFarm 2012 Rosé. 

Day 14 - Stuffy Toss
In the world of Figure Skating, women are still referred to as "Ladies". Can anyone explain why? I guess 'women' play hockey and 'ladies' figure skate? Good grief. In any case, on Day 14 the women take centre stage with their short program routines which calls for a pairing with an elegant and refined wine like the Perseus Winery 2010 Select Lots Cabernet Sauvignon.

Day 15 - Solid Gold
Both the Women's Curling and Ice Hockey gold medals will be handed out on Day 15. Canada has a great shot at competing for both championships. Let's go with a hoot and a holler for both events with the Fairview Cellars 2011 Two Hoots.

Day 16 - Slip Sliding Away
The women take to the slopes on day 16 in both the Ski Cross and Slalom events. The perfect pairing is both feminine, graceful and powerful: Le Vieux Pin 2011 "Cuvée Violette" Syrah.

Day 17 - Best-ies
The last full day of competition is absolutely packed with events ranging from Cross Country Skiing to the Bronze Medal Match in Men's Ice Hockey. Back at the athlete's village, most of the Olympians will be done with their competitions and spending time on other pursuits... you know, making 'friends'. Calls for the Bonamici Cellars 2012 Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier.

Day 18 - Closing The Show
What better way to close the 2014 Winter Olympics than a pairing with our most recent, and still available, Icon Wine of the Year: Stag's Hollow Winery 2010 Cachet No. 03. Ideally, it will be a pairing of excellence and not one of condolence. Either way, you can count on this wine to put a smile on your face.

Hopefully, 18 days of competition will bring us plenty positive examples of hard work, fair play and the triumph of the human spirit against adversity. That's what I hope this Winter Olympics will be remembered for and hope's spring is eternal.

 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sochi: 18 Days, 18 Wines Part 1

For the Olympics-junkies out there, we're offering suggestions for wines to match with each day of the athletic and politically-charged spectacle that will be the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

As the 'Security Games' get under way, we'll be watching from the comfort of our sofas while our athletes compete against their international peers. The anxiety and nervousness we feel during this Olympiad may have less to do with our compatriot's athletic performances and more about their personal safety travelling between events or should they choose to speak-out about the host country's repressive anti-gay laws. Perhaps, a few extra bottles of wine will be opened to over the 18 days of competition to help ease the tension this time round.

Day "1" - Before The Storm
The action begins a day before the Opening Ceremony with a new-to-the-Olympics event: Snowboard Slopestyle. Not familiar with this new discipline? Me neither, but Canada has a great history of doing well with newly-added Olympic disciplines, at least, until the rest of the world starts to pay attention and catches-up. Stay with the 'new' theme and pair Day 1 with Chateau Des Charmes own Nouveau.

Day 2 - Opening Ceremony
For the opening ceremony, pop open a bottle of Blue Mountain's Brut, one of BC's best sparkling wines and soak-in the over-the-top music and choreographed dancing extravaganza

Day 3 - "Oh... Franc!"
The Women's Ice Hockey tournament begins on Feb 8th with Canada taking on the Swiss. As women's hockey is dominated by two countries, Canada and the US, the Swiss women are in for a tough go and if they were to mount a microphone in the Swiss net I'm sure we'd hear a many "Oh... Franc!" every time the Canadians score. As Swiss wine is very hard to find in Canada, toast our neutral, land-locked friends by opening a bottle of the equally neutral-tasting grape, and native of Switzerland, Chasselas from St. Hubertus.

Day 4 - Crazy! Crazy-Good.
The Men's Downhill runs on Sunday, February 9th, an event that requires nerves of steel and icy veins. These guys are crazy... crazy-good! And that deserves an equally crazy-good wine. The JoieFarm 2011 "En Famille" Reserve Gewurztraminer fits the bill perfectly. 

Day 5 - Perfect Pursuit
A too-easy, yet, sneakily perfect pairing for Day 5 is the SpierHead Winery 2011 Pursuit. It's a tasty blend of  48% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc that will keep you warm and toasty as you watch the Men's 12.5 KM Pursuit Biathlon.

Day 6 - High Flying
With both Ski Jumping and Snowboard Halfpipe on the docket, Day 6 will be flying high on adrenaline. This calls for wine that will help you relax like the Stag's Hollow Winery 2011 Tempranillo who's mellow tannins and smooth, smoky structure will keep you balanced and ease any tension in watching these amazing athletes fling themselves off the mountain.

Day 7 - A Medley Of Sorts
The Men's Nordic Combined event is a combination of ski jumping and a cross-country 10km race. This medley should pair nicely with an inspired Meritage blend like the Fort Berens Estate Winery 2011 Meritage who's forgiving tannins frame its mixed-berry and plum fruit nicely and linger through to a spicy, long and well-balanced finish - long enough to last through both, combined, events.

Day 8 - Luge Deluge
Is it me or does it seem like we'd already hit the critical mass of Luge events with singles for both Men and Women and the seemingly unnecessary Doubles event? Do we really need a new Luge event? Well, judge for yourself with the Olympic unveiling of the Luge Team Relay that runs on Day 8. One oddity deserves another. Enter Gold Hill Winery 2011 Pinot Noir I which is actually a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Merlot.

Day 9 - Skeleton In The Closet
Skeleton is in an insane sport. You run as fast as you can for 20 paces and then launch yourself down a wicked and winding track of ice, head first. That takes guts. So does leaving successful careers and diving head-first into the volatile wine industry like Jak and Janice Meyer back did in 2006. OK, the comparison is a bit of a stretch, but lovers of BC Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are sure happy the Meyer Family took the plunge. On the day both the Men's and Women's Skeleton athletes compete, celebrate with the Meyer Family Vineyards 2011 Pinot Noir.
- Liam Carrier ©copyright 2014