My dreams of a healthy, cheese and wine filled life were dashed on the rocks of cholesterol and liver health yesterday, when my doctor broke the news that I drank too much and probably ate too much rich dairy produce. My usual, cheerful reliance on what is known as the “French Paradox” as I guzzle down as much Brie and Bordeaux as possible (not necessarily at the same time!), is now a distant memory as I try to rebuild a rather broken liver and reduce worryingly high cholesterol levels with green tea and leafy vegetables.
For the uninitiated, the French Paradox is based on the fact that the French consume large amounts of wine and cheese and seemingly have an ability to remain in rude health. (it is of course more complicated than that and the fact that the Mediterranean French don’t live on fried eggs, pizza and chips might just have something to do with it)
I knew it was probably too good to be true as I can only dream of the Mediterranean lifestyle, and probably fell well short of the other part of this particular paradox, that is consuming more fish and vegetables than a shark with a salad problem. I had better learn a bit of restraint – well at least if I have to drink less, I will make damn sure I will drink better! Always look for that silver lining!
Girard Petite Sirah (Napa Valley) 2010 $45 (Spec) BC
I tasted this delicious wine at the Vancouver International Wine Festival a month ago, and decided to buy a bottle before I left as I wasn’t sure if it was available outside the special festival wine store. As with any re-visits, whether new friends, wine or house-hunting, one is never sure if that first impression was a true one or not. Those new friends aren’t nearly as fun and charming as you remember; that amazing house you were just about to put an offer on seems to be situated in a not-so-salubrious street, and that wine you had a sip of (after an afternoon of copious tasting) might not be that ‘100 pointer’ you were waxing lyrical about in the wine bar afterwards.
Well, I took advantage of the fairly new ‘Bring your own bottle’ laws in British Columbia, and made use of a gift certificate for a franchise of steak restaurants for my birthday dinner. The service was good, and after the manager checked our bottle (to bring a bottle on their wine list would have been a faux pas punishable by refusal of corkage) we were led to our table where we ordered cocktails. I had to explain to the young server that a classic margharita is served in a cocktail glass without ice, or extraneous exotic fruit, but I was well accommodated, and a decanter was provided for the wine.
Petite Sirah is not a grape I drink much of as a single varietal, but I will happily search more out after my experience with the Girard. (or should I just search out more Girard wines?)
There was an intense nose with cocoa bean, black cherry and blueberry jam, and the palate picked up where the nose left off. Great concentration of fruit without being cloying or flabby and a waft of sweet herbs and cocoa powder on the finish. There was a touch of grip to the tannins, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment, in fact the meat seemed to suit them. This wine had a decently long finish and went well with my sirloin steak. It should keep quite well for 5 years or more, getting spicier with age no doubt!
If it wasn’t for the complimentary ice cream cake for my birthday, I would have been tasting the Girard Petite Sirah all the way home, but I couldn’t resist free pudding!!
After blogging about beer for three years at The Beer Wrangler, I was often asked why beer and not wine? This might seem a strange question, but those who know me knew I was spending vast sums of money and much of my spare time (not much with a full time job and baby girl) learning about wine. I had started my 3 year part time WSET level 4 Diploma, as well studying for my Court of Master Sommeliers certification. It would make much more sense to write about the subject I was studying morning, noon and night.
Well craft beer became my escape from my studies, my down time and palate cleanser… oh and I love good craft beer, but that’s another story (well, blog anyway!) In September last year I finally passed the WSET Diploma (I did the CMS Certified Sommelier 18 months before) and could really start enjoying wine without the pressure of study and exams.
So does this answer the question: does the world need another wine blog? The answer is absolutely not, but I will start one anyway! I hope that it is interesting to at least one person other than me, and I would love any thoughts from other wine lovers, amateur or professional (I don’t discriminate!) as all are welcome.