Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Random Thoughts: Beer, Good Wine, 5 Day Weekends and Mr. Carol Alt the 2nd

My last post solicited some strong reactions regarding the beer I left off my Top 10 list so I will amend the list to add Heineken, Stella, Czechvar, Becks, in fact anything not made by a major North American Brewery in a tie for 11th place and therefore end any bad feelings.

I have had a very good run on wine lately and have some recommendations:

1) JimJim Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia - defies my normal parameters because it has an animal on the label (the eponymous JimJim the Dog), new world in style but not over the top fruit, decent balance with lots of plum and blueberry. A good match for whatever is coming off the grill. Not a BCLDB listing it was a "host gift", retails in Alberta for $18 so I can't really call it great value but it's solid.

2) Chateau du Taillan 2003 Haut Medoc - the last vestige of the venerable Cruse family who once were among Bordeaux's most important producers. This is Bordeaux the way they should be making it, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a touch of Cab Franc (not mentioned on the label) then barrel aged for 18 months. The resulting wine has a bit of earthiness on the nose but follows through with nice cedary, black and red fruit flavours and drying tannins to be a great compliment to beef or lamb. 2003 was a very good vintage and at $23.95 this wine is good value for now, or a 2-3 year stint in the cellar, BCLDB #143404, limited distribution with only 30 cases showing in the system.

3) Palo Alto Reserva, 2006, Chile - in one of those fateful moments I actually opened this wine to have with Sundays' leg of lamb but thought better of it, re-corked and poured with Mondays' pork tenderloin. The decision was good because I really enjoyed the Chateau du Taillan with the lamb and the Palo Alto, as a more fruit driven selection, was perfect with the pork tenderloin. The Palo Alto is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah and has a rich red berry nose followed by a medium mouth feel and decent finish, while certainly new world in style it has reasonable tannins and held well with the sweetish flavours of the pork. The winery is owned by the massive Chilean producer Concha y Toro, BCLDB #24059, $14.99 with wide distribution.

I recently took a Five Day weekend to escape from reality and I highly recommend this for everyone, in fact I'm going to commit myself to installing the 2 day work week nationally.

The New York Islanders recently made the decision that they are better off to pay Alexei Yashin not to play for them, to the tune of some $25 million. The Islanders are now able to spread 2/3s of the remaining money, roughly $17 million, over 8 years against the salary cap and put the disaster of Yashin, and his 10 year $87.5 million contract, behind them. Yashin will have to console himself with all the money plus Carol Alt - life truly isn't fair. Of course there is always the chance that somebody will look around and say "Hey, we can change him" and toss another couple of million at him for another contract.

Gary Roberts has proved that you can be a locker room cancer without even being in the room. Rumours persist that John Muckler's recent firing in Ottawa stemmed, in a large part, from his inability to acquire Roberts at the recent trade deadline. Since all Roberts is capable of these days is standing beside the net or hitting guys from behind I fail to see how he would have helped Ottawa beat the Ducks, but hey I'm not an NHL owner.

To my great delight the Yankees have closed to within striking distance of the "We win Championships every 80 or so years but Our fans talk like we are the greatest Team in History",....... sorry Boston Red Sox. While most teams would be happy with an eight game lead in June Red Sox Nation now have 3 1/2 full months to look over their shoulder for the shadow of Bucky Dent. Cue the Theme to Jaws.

Lamb sausages are to be purchased at Tenderland Meats on Granville Island, not "the other butcher".

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