Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Cassini Cellars is our next stop on our Okanagan Tour......

I will admit, I LOVE visiting this winery. First of all, their wines are uniformly good. Secondly, there is just something about the architecture of the tasting room that makes me feel comforted when I arrive. I've never been able to put my finger on what it is, but there is just something about it......

But I digress. Let's get to the wines!

Cassini Cellars 2015 Unoaked Chardonnay ($20.00)

Fruit forward notes of pear and lemon zest on the nose. Pear and apple flavors and a creamy mouthfeel. A real example of how good Chardonnay can be, even if unoaked Chard is not our favorite style. 88.

Cassini Cellars 2013 Chardonnay Reserve ($29.00)

This one sees French and American oak for 10 months. Aromas of peach, red apple and tropical fruit. Light oaky notes on the palate, with apple and pear as well. 88.

Cassini Cellars 2013 Roussanne/Marsanne ($25.00)

It's not unusual to see these two grapes blended together, however it IS unusual to see them blended without the addition of Viognier. Notes of tropical fruit and honey on the nose, with intense, creamy flavors of honeysuckle, vanilla and orange zest. A real treat, we took a few of these with us. 91.

Cassini Cellars 2013 Mamma Mia! ($20.00)

Pinot Gris, Reisling, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat Orange

Aromas of peach, apricot and tropical fruit. The palate is similar with stone fruit and pineapple mixing together. Very tasty and slightly off-dry. 89.

Cassini Cellars 2014 Red Carpet Pinot Noir ($24.00)

Aromas of vanilla, red cherry and cassis. Red berries dominate the palate, with a hint of mocha toffee on the finish. 89.

Cassini Cellars 2013 Cabernet Merlot ($24.00)

Beautiful black cherry, black licorice and spice on the nose. Black cherry, clove, vanilla, dark chocolate and a touch of tobacco on the palate. Looking forward to trying this with a big hunk of red meat, it should be a delicious pairing. 90.

Cassini Cellars 2012 Quattro ($24.00)

Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah

Tons of black fruit right up front on the nose, following by lavender and vanilla. Dark chocolate, blackberry and spice on the palate. Tannins are powerful, this is one to put away in your cellar for a few years to allow it to reach it's potential. 90-92.

Cassini Cellars 2013 Syrah ($29.00)

Aromas of black pepper, licorice and violets. Blackberry, toffee, white pepper and vanilla on the palate. Juicy and delicious. 90.

Cassini Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc ($36.00)

Intoxicating notes of cedar, black pepper, vanilla, raspberry and cassis. Red fruits on the palate which also features some blackberry and mocha. Always one of the top examples of this varietal in the Okanagan, and a great deal at the price. 92.

Cassini Cellars 2013 Nobilus ($40.00)

100% Merlot

Now we are getting into rarefied air. Sweet cassis, raspberry, spice and cedar notes waft out of the glass. Tannins and smooth and silky, it's already approachable, but will undoubtedly reward careful cellaring. Flavors of blackberry, cocoa, oak and vanilla. Superb. 94.

Cassini Cellars 2013 The Aristocrat ($40.00)

They should change the name of this from "Aristocrat" to "Beast". Huge aromas of chocolate, eucalyptus, plum, cassis, strawberry and black fruit. The palate is complex and simple at the same time, with dark chocolate, blackberry and plum flavors dominating. So good, and another one that will really pay off handsomely if you can wait for it. 93.

After buying wayyyy too many bottles here (seriously, we have a TINY car, we are actually going to have to go out and buy an SUV so that we can find a way to buy all the wine we want to on these Okanagan trips!!!), we were off to another special tasting, and that will be up next. Burrowing Owl!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Okanagan Trip continues at a newbie (to us), CC Jentsch Cellars!

I had the opportunity to taste a couple wines from these guys at the Vancouver International Wine Festival back in February, but my wife (who had tapped out by that point in the evening) had never tasted anything from them. They came well-recommended, so we had intended to make sure we didn't miss them this trip. We were not disappointed.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2016 The Quest ($17.90)

74% Chardonnay, 20% Viognier, and 6% Gewurztraminer

 Aromas of citrus, stone fruit and rose petals. Orchard fruit and a hint of lychee on the palate that finishes long with notes of lime zest. 88.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2015 Viognier ($22.90)

Pretty floral notes on the nose, with some intense peach and nectarine as well. Palate is crisp, dry and zippy; flavors of peach and apple most prevelant. A nice bargain for the price. Try it with something like charred halibut with a grilled peach salsa. Yum. 89.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay ($35.90)

Intoxicating aromas of a toasty, buttered croissant. Creamy mouthfeel, with notes of citrus, hazelnut, pear and stone fruit. Really nice. 90.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2016 Blanc de Noir Rosé ($22.90)

It's not often we go to taste at a winery and really enjoy their entire portfolio, EXCEPT for one wine, but that was the case here. Very light aromas of strawberry, watermelon and rhubarb. The palate was so light it was almost non-existent, flabby and lifeless. Given the quality of the rest of the portfolio (and given how great so many rosés are these days), this was a surprise. 83.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2014 Syrah ($31.90)

Blackberry, violets and black pepper on the nose. Lots of complexities on the palate, with floral notes mingling with black fruit and white pepper. Really nice. 91.

CC Jentsch Cellars 2014 Small Lots Cabernet Sauvignon ($49.90)

Aromas of blackberry, blueberry, mint, baking spice, cedar and cherry. The palate is dominated by black fruit with just a lightly perceptible addition of tobacco and red cherry. This is a big, bold, beast of a wine that is already delicious. If you can't wait, decant for a couple of hours. Looking forward to pulling ours out in a few years and pairing it with a beautiful Filet Mignon with a Cocoa rub. 92.

So there you have it, a (mostly) fantastic bunch of wines, and many of them came home with us. Definitely recommend trying it out when you are in the area.

Next up: down the street to a perennial favorite, but one that we haven't visited in a couple of years, Cassini Cellars!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Okanagan Trip, Part Four, off to Culmina for another special tasting

I've mentioned before what excellent value you get for the $10 that Culmina charges for this 40ish minute, sit-down tasting of their portfolio. This is our fourth visit, I believe, and this is actually the first time it wasn't private (it's not advertised as private, but you can get lucky as we always have). The table was full with a bunch of novice wine drinkers, a couple of whom seemed to be interested, but a few of whom seemed to be there just for "something to do". Too bad.

Anyway, let's get right to the wine.

Culmina 2016 Decora ($23.00)

Aromas of green apple, spice, stone fruit with just a touch of petrol, which is slightly unusual for such a fresh Riesling. Green apple and pear dominate the palate, with stone fruit and minerality popping in as well. Lovely as always. 89.

Culmina 2016 Unicus ($29.00)

The Okanagan's first Gruner Veltliner is still the best. This one doesn't quite measure up to the spectacular 2015 version, but it's still damn good. Aromas of meyer lemon, stone fruit and minerality. Flavors are complex and change in your mouth: peach, grapefruit, lemon and white pepper. Delicious. 92.

Culmina 2016 Saignée ($24.00)

73% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 13% Malbec

Aromas of strawberry, minerality, blood orange and herbs. Flavors of cranberry, pink grapefruit, strawberry and rhubarb. Herbaceous notes on the finish which is lovely. 89.

Culmina 2014 Dilemma ($34.00)

Toasty aromas of hazelnut, baked apple, clove and baking spice. Apple, pear, melon and just a hint of butterscotch on the palate. This is turning into a beauty of a Chardonnay. 91.

Culmina 2012 Hypothesis ($42.00)

An estate grown blend of Merlot (57%), Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), and Cabernet Franc (19%) from Arise Bench

Impressive aromas of black fruit, vanilla, oak and mint. Juicy and complex palate with flavors of red plum, vanilla, dark chocolate and blackberry. So young, has years to go until it reaches it's full potential, but the ceiling is high. 92-94.

As always, nothing but quality from top to bottom.

Next up: Down the road for our first ever visit to a winery that has been highly recommended to us: C.C. Jentsch Cellars!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Okanagan wine trip continues at the beautiful Spirit Ridge Lodge, and Nk'mip!

This is only our second stay at Spirit Lodge at Nk'mip but it certainly won't be the last. Beautiful suites, all with full kitchens, and all at reasonable prices (perhaps they get pricey during their peak season, but this is still a little bit before the summer craziness hits).

The full kitchens make all the difference. Even the most budget-conscious readers can afford to splurge a little bit on a beautiful suite if they can offset those costs with much cheaper meals. I believe we ate about 2/3 of our meals in our suite, which must have saved us enough money to pay for the difference in price between this place and a lesser hotel. Can't recommend this place enough.

It features all the amenities you would expect, including a year-round pool with hot tub and fitness centre. This pool is right in the heart of the resort, so it can get a touch crowded with children from time to time. There is also a seasonal second pool, which is sort of "adults only" but basically just mean to be a quiet pool, overlooking the vineyards.

This is it. Busy, eh??

Yes, those are clouds. Those stayed with us for much of the trip. The middling weather was really the only thing that wasn't close to perfect on this trip.

Anyway, just before we checked in we headed to the tasting room at Nk'Mip to have a shot at their wares. They have a free tasting, as well as a dedicated "upscale" room where you can taste their reserve level wines for a nominal $10 fee. That room closed just before we got there, which was too bad....but it worked out pretty well for us, as you'll see below.

Their regular tier of wines is known as the "Winemaker's" tier, and reserve wines are part of the Qwam Qwmt level. Yes, that is spelled correctly.

Nk'Mip 2015 Pinot Blanc ($17.95)

Citrus and red apple aromas, with the apple continuing through to the palate, joined by racy minerality. Pleasant, but I'm still looking for that "breakthrough" Pinot Blanc. 87.

Nk'Mip 2015 Dreamcatcher ($17.99)

Big blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Ehrenfelser, and Chardonnay.

Aromas of peach and nectarine, with bold flavors of lemon zest, orchard fruit and Granny Smith apple. 88.

Nk'Mip 2015 Chardonnay ($18.99)

Aromas of warm apple pie, citrus and butterscotch. Flavors of citrus, pear, butterscotch and baking spices. Delicious and a real steal. 89.

We would have definitely bought some of these, but then we tasted.....

Nk'Mip 2015 Qwam Qwmt Chardonnay ($24.99)

Beautiful, intense aromas of hazelnut, poached cinnamon pears, butterscotch and vanilla. Pear flavors are front and centre on the palate, with just the right amount of hazelnet and caramel showing up at the end. Delicious. We bought a couple of these...one for "now" and one for "later". We'll see if it improves. 92.

Nk'Mip 2016 Rosé ($17.99)

You will find your olfactory senses overwhelmed by strawberries (not a bad thing), but there are notes of rhubarb and raspberry lurking in the background. Strawberry, raspberry and light notes of pink grapefruit make an appearance on the palate. 89.

It was about this time that our excellent host told us that because the "premium" room was now closed, they would bring all of those wines out to the regular tasting room, so we would get to taste everything they had.

Nk'Mip 2015 Qwam Qwmt Pinot Noir ($30.49)

Complex aromas of spice, black cherry, strawberry and plum. Flavors of black cherry with a touch of spice. This one is big with strong tannins, and needs some time to develop. 88-90.

Nk'Mip 2014 Merlot ($21.99)

Aromas of black plum, cherry, oak and cedar. Raspberry and vanilla flavors are dominant, with just a touch of dark chocolate and spice on the finish. 89.

Nk'Mip 2014 Qwam Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon ($34.90)

Have I yet mentioned that 2014 would be the year of Cab Sauv? Wow. Beautiful aromas of black cherry, mint, cedar, cigar box and basil. The palate features intense flavors including cassis, dark chocolate, vanilla, tobacco and black cherry. What a treat. The winery had a few less of these after we left. 92.

Nk'Mip 2013 Mer'r'iym ($54.99)

From their website:

Mer’r’iym (pronounced mur’-eem’) means “marriage”; the perfect union of varietals. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec all come together to create an elegant wine that is all about balance, texture, and length.

This is one that seems to get a little better every time I experience a new vintage. This one has aromas of vanilla, blueberry, blackberry, mint and tobacco. Red cherries and vanilla jump onto your palate, with milk chocolate and dark berries making an appearance as well. Just delicious. 93.

We also tasted a few other wines that we had sampled on our last visit. These included:

2014 Pinot Noir
2014 Qwam Qwmt Merlot
2014 Qwam Qwmt Syrah
2014 Talon
2015 Riesling Icewine (which got the same 99 point score both tastings).

Those reviews are here for those who want to catch up.

Three wineries in and we already have a problem. We are filling up our not-very-large car. At this point, Tracey is going to have to walk home.

Next up: Another one of the "must do" wineries up here, a seated, informative tasting at Culmina!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Okanagan Trip, Part Deux, aren't we all a little Afraid of the Dark??

Off to Moon Curser as we figure we still have time to fit in a couple more wineries before we check in for our four nights at Spirit Ridge. Moon Curser has a large portfolio, a good portfolio, and maybe the best labels in the business.

But as I've said before, if the wine isn't good, the labels mean almost nothing.

A couple of the wines we tasted were the same vintage as we sampled last year (Arneis and Tempranillo; those reviews are here if you want to brush up) so I won't review the same one again. To the new stuff!

Moon Curser 2016 Afraid of the Dark ($19.04)

Traditional Rhone-style blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne.

Pretty white flowers on the nose, joined by stone fruit. Palate features the same floral characteristics with hints of ginger and nectarine. 88.

Moon Curser 2016 Contraband Series Dolcetto ($23.39)

Unique in the Okanagan, I believe, this red is recommended to be served slightly chilled (which, really, ALL reds should be) and consumed young. Aromas of red cherry cola abound, with flavors of blackberry and black cherry, with just a touch of nuttiness. Very dry. 88.

Moon Curser 2015 Contraband Series Carmenere ($37.30)

Pleasant aromas of black cherry, strawberry and blueberry. The palate brings red cherry and a touch of spice, particularly on the mid-palate, and then a very long finish. Tannins are impressive, and this one will improve a lot with some more nap time. 90-92.

Between this one, the beauty we tasted earlier from Lariana, the stunner (coming up) from Black Hills, this varietal is really finding a niche in the Okanagan. I know there are a few more as well. Nice.

Moon Curser 2014 Syrah ($23.39)

Fruit forward nose, lots of red fruit, cherries, raspberries....the cherry really comes through on the palate as well. Juicy and ready to drink. 88.

Moon Curser 2013 Contraband Series Syrah ($27.74)

Very different than the above. Black fruit, mushroom and black pepper waft from the glass. Lots of black pepper sticks around on the finish, mingling with intense flavors of black cherry and mushroom. Finishes very long, this is the best Syrah they have made, IMO. 90.

Moon Curser 2014 Border Vines ($23.39)

40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Malbec, 20% Carmenere, 14% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot

Aromas of red cherry, dark fruit, vanilla and a hint of mocha. Juicy flavors of cherry, vanilla, clove, blueberry and blackberry. This is one of their signature blends and again I am going to say this is the best one they have made. 90.

Moon Curser 2014 Contraband Series Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.30)

You are going to hear me say this a lot during this trip report: 2014 is going to be the year that puts the Okanagan back on the map in terms of Cabernet Sauvignon. Beautiful aromas of mint, black cherry, blackberry, cassis and sage. Black fruits dominate the palate, but you'll notice hints of cola and earth as well. Juicy and delicious. 91.

Moon Curser 2013 Contraband Series Tannat ($37.30)

Dark berries, licorice and spice on the nose. Juicy cherries on the palate, with baking spices and dried cranberries. Lovely now but if you can wait a few years, should bring immense drinking pleasure. 91.

IMO, these guys have really upped their game in the past few years, and have gone from afterthoughts to a "must visit" on every trip up to that area. Really nice.

Next up: just before we get to check into our suite at Nk'Mip, we might as well taste some wine there while we are at it!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Okanagan Trip begins with a first visit to Lariana Cellars

Here's an interesting thought; a blog post about a trip that is ACTUALLY STILL UNDERWAY. In fact, it just started.

We have heard good things about Lariana Cellars from some wine-industry friends and critics, so we decided to make it a point to go right to them when we got into town last night. We were told to find them we just had to go as close to the US Border as you possibly could without going over it (sounds like The Price Is Right).

They weren't kidding. Their modest tasting room, which is just a little table in amongst the casks, is literally about 15 feet from the border. If you took a wrong turn, you would be in the US (of course if you took that turn you would also be in the bushes).

Lariana is quite new and their portfolio is small, so let's get right to it. Tough to properly format on my iPad so I will fix the pictures when I get back to my computer.

Lariana Cellars 2016 Viognier ($25)
Stone fruits abound on the nose. Mouthfeel is round and rich and creamy, with pleasant flavours of peach and apricot. Shows a lot of promise. 89.

Lariana Cellars 2014 Carmenere ($45)

Interesting that a winery with such a small portfolio would feature this under-utilized grape as both a single varietal and in a blend (to come). An absolutely amazing nose of blackberry and a hint of earthiness. Very fruit forward on the palate, juicy and delicious black fruit and some spice shines through at the end. Tannins just a bit tight still, so we are going to put this one away for a couple years and see just what it becomes. 90-92.

Lariana Cellars Twelve ($45)

The name of the wine comes from the vintage (TWELVE is 2012, etc). A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Carmenere. Inviting aromas of black cherry and eucalyptus. The palate features black fruit, some toasty oak, vanilla and dark chocolate flavours. 90.

Lariana Cellars Thirteeen ($45)

This vintage omitted the Merlot, leading to aromas of mushroom, black pepper, dark chocolate and blackberry. The palate was juicier and seemed more approachable than the above, and the finish was very long. 91.

That was all they had for us today, but rumours of a single-varietal Cabernet Sauvignon coming up were intriguing. Not a bad wine in the bunch and for a new winery (12 their very first vintage) this was a real treat.

Up next: We are a little early to check into our resort so we are going to "kill time" at Moon Curser!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A big day of some BIG wine......

OK so not to bore anyone with details, but my wonderful wife has been having some health challenges for the past 9 months or so. One of the biggest issues her condition has caused her is extreme fatigue; she can rarely get through a day without a nap, or two...and often is so tired that she's ready for bed in the very early evening. And I mean EARLY.

This has had a fairly negative impact on our wine consumption; she is rarely able to drink a much wine before it's time for bed, which leaves me with the arduous task of drinking the rest of the bottle. I know, I know, I'm so unselfish.

Anyway, yesterday was somewhat of an exception, as we actually managed to get through THREE bottles, all wines I have not reviewed before.

We met some good friends at a restaurant for lunch. It was really nice to see them, it had been a while, and they invited us up to their cabin at Cultus Lake; but given Tracey's penchant for naps these days, we thought it was best to get her home and prepare for "Nap One". In the meantime, I cracked open bottle one:

Tinhorn Creek 2016 Oldfield Reserve Rosé ($19.99)

100% Cabernet Franc

Herbaceous notes on the nose, green tomato and orange blossom. The palate is bright, fresh and juicy, with flavors of strawberry, orange rind, grapefruit, rhubarb and even some red apple on the finish. Another stellar vintage of this terrific rosé. 91.

We finished this off while sitting outside on out patio, and the nap had still not occurred; by this time, we thought maybe the best thing to do was to get going on an early dinner, and she could simply go to bed after dinner. We had steak ready to go, and I decided it was a good night to make a special dish to go with a special bottle of wine.

Grilled Filet Mignon with Chimichurri Sauce

Tracey generally handles grilling the steaks, and she couldn't have cooked these ones any better. Absolutely delicious, and a perfect pairing with this beauty which we've been saving for a special evening:

Silver Oak 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 USD)

Incredible aromas of sweet blackberry and blueberry, mint, cedar, leather and cigar box. The wine jumps from the glass, attacking your mid-palate with black cherry, coffee, toasty oak and tobacco flavors. Long, luscious finish. Even at a decade old, this has a ton of life left, it could probably improve for another 10-15 years. There isn't much improvement needed. 96.

By the time we were done with dinner and about halfway finished this bottle, it was only about 5:30, and the wife was looking awake and refreshed and we decided that we could handle one more bottle. We figured "what the heck, let's make that 2007 only the SECOND oldest bottle we'd open tonight".

Cedarcreek 2006 Platinum Reserve Pinot Noir ($125)

Pleasant notes of mushroom and leather have developed with age, but this one is all about bright red cherry aromas and flavors. Some earthy flavors and some strawberry peek out from under the cherry as well. Very nice, but unlike the one above, this one seems to be at it's peak or starting it's inevitable decline. 93.

So as we got about halfway through this bottle, Tracey hit the wall and had to go to bed. She muttered something like "I'm so tired, it must be almost 11 o'clock, I'm going to bed".

Well, it was about 2 minutes to 8, actually, but these days, that's a really long day for her. Almost 8 PM and NO NAPS! What a trooper she is :)

Next up: Still have a ton of other stuff to catch up on, and we are just days away from heading up to the Okanagan where much wine will be enjoyed and reviewed. Stay tuned!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Put a shrimp on the barbie and maybe the Dingo drank your wine...

....let's see how many Aussies we can offend with stupid Australian clichés.....

It's Australia night! Our friends' turn to host our monthly (thereabouts) theme and wine nights, and they really went over the top tonight. Shortly after our arrival we were told there were two dishes that they were not going to tell us what was in them until we had eaten it. But those are up later, let's start from the beginning.

And they really DID put shrimp on the barbie!

Course 1: BBQ prawns

We had a lot of great food tonight, but this might have been my favorite thing of the night. They made the same sauce on chicken for my allergic wife. Delicious.

The wine: They actually made a mistake and switched the pairings on the first two dishes but it didn't seem to matter much. The pairings were still very good!

Mad Fish 2016 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon ($26.49)

Intense aromas of lemon, lime and fresh cut grass. Citrus flavors dominate the palate, with a lovely finish and nice mouth feel. Very nice and a good pair with the prawns. 89.

Another delicious dish, and it was cooked absolutely perfectly. Soufflé is no easy dish to cook!

The wine: 

Hardy's 2016 The Gamble Chardonnay Pinot Grigio ($16.99)

Aromas of stone fruit, melon and tropical fruit. Creamy mouthfeel but the flavors fell a bit short with light notes of citrus. This didn't add anything to the food and, in fact, was dwarfed by it. 85.

Course 3: Deep Fried Crocodile and Chips

Yes, this was the first of the two that we weren't told about, but I think we guessed it fairly quickly. The crocodile was delicious (cooked like fish and chips in a batter), tasting a bit like chicken but having a full, thick texture like a big cut of pork.

The wine:
Vasse Felix 2010 Heytesbury Margaret River Chardonnay ($92.49)

Wow, what a treat. Aromas of hay, grass, hazelnut and flint. Peach and nectarine notes on the palate, with a touch of nuttiness and creaminess. The only downside was a very short finish which kept this wine from true greatness. I liked this wine very much, but I really wanted to love it. 92.

Course 4: Aussie Meat Pie

Once again, just delicious. Perfect.

The wine:

Alpha Box & Dice 2014 Kit & Kaboodle, previously reviewed here. No change of my opinion of the wine, which paired beautifully with the meat pie.

Yup, the second dish we had to guess, and I think we also got this one pretty quickly. It was really good, but....but.....sigh. I was a bit concerned about how I would react to this.

So I should probably explain a bit about me...I am an animal lover. I actually like animals a helluva lot more than I like humans. If anyone ever tried to hurt one of my cats (our "kids" as my wife and I refer to them), I would slit their throat and piss into the hole and have absolutely no qualms about doing it.

BUT.......I love meat. Love it. And I'm a long way away from trying to pair a nicely aged California Cabernet Sauvignon with a Tofu burger. So as long as I'm into wine, I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep eating meat. So in principal, I'm a vegan. In reality, I'm about as far from it as you can get. We do try to buy meat that we know has been raised ethically but that is generally easier said than done.

Here is how I justify it: we eat meat that has been bred specifically to feed humans. Cows, pigs, chickens...if the human race stopped eating meat tomorrow, farmers would stop breeding them, so they would cease to exist (not ALL of them, there would still be some in the wild of course). So, while it's very important that all animals are treated and killed in an ethical manner, I'm not sure it's hypocritical to love animals and still eat meat. Many disagree with me, I get that, but that is where I am.

What I don't eat are wild animals. I don't eat game, I don't generally eat baby animals (I did eat veal at Dine Italia this year on a fixed menu, but would never order it specifically), and I don't generally eat animals that would be considered "exotic".

Crocodile wasn't much of a problem. Even though they don't really meet my normal criteria, let's face it, that Croc would have eaten me if he could, so I'm fine with turning the tables.

So that brings us to kangaroo. Yes, I know, ask any Aussie about kangaroos and they will tell you that they are mean, and they are a huge pain in an ass. I get that. But to me, kangaroos are this:

So.....although I really enjoyed the taste of this, it was tough to eat and I had trouble finishing the dish. Not sure I ever want to try this one again. I'm trying to forget about just how good it actually tasted.

The wine:

Yangarra 2013 GSM ($60 ish)

49% grenache, 29% shiraz and 22% mourvedre

Aromas of mocha, light earthiness, and dark berries. Beautiful, juicy fruit flavors of dark berries, black cherry, graphite, earth and cocoa. Finishes log and lovely. The wine of the night. 93.

Holy shit, this was incredible. I took a couple of these home and devoured them the next day. Delicious. 

The wine:

Barossa Valley Estates 2008 Ebenezer ($36.99)

Dark plums, baking spices and vanilla on the nose. Ripe fruit flavors, dark chocolate and vanilla on the palate. Long, lovely finish. Great wine but it didn't go with the dessert that great, it was more enjoyable after the dessert was over. 92.

So there you have it, our latest 'theme night' was an unqualified success, and I'll have to really raise my game in early July when we reconvene for the next one.

I will have a decent chance to do so, however, as our next theme night is BORDEAUX!!

It was originally going to be "France" but there is just too much amazing food and wine in France, so I'm splitting it up and featuring the most famous wine region in the world all by itself. 

I have a few months to learn to cook French food. Time to Google "Julia Child"!!

Next up in the wine blog, a ton of good stuff we have enjoyed in the past few weeks, and we are exactly ONE WEEK away from our next trip to the Okanagan!

G'day, Mate!