Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wine, Music and a Meme.

I've never participated in a meme exercise. Usually because of a time crunch or because it doesn't have any reference point for my blog. This one doesn't either but it was sent to me by a wine and food blogger I respect and I'll honour her with this response. And I'm officially on vacation.

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to.

I'm going to add a wine to the end of each one that should accompany the music.

1. For some reason I was humming "Born Free" while standing at the corker station on the bottling line yesterday. I think it was the Andy Williams version, who I always enjoyed because he was short and the way my Mom got all dreamy eyed when he sang "Moon River". Amarone

2."Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake" by Grandaddy. Not sure who these guys are but this song is so hook filled and techno rythmic that I find it irresistable. The lyrics are cryptic yet familiar, like a scene from a David Lynch film. Tempranillo.

3. "Happy" by Keith Richards as performed by Sheryl Crow and Keith and an allstar lineup at a Central Park (NYC) gig a few years back. I've always like this rollicking, goofy tune. It's almost impossible to sing without sounding like you've already had a few pints too many. Cabernet Franc from the Okanagan Valley.

4. "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" . My eight year old has this Offspring ditty at the top of his list right now so we listen to it at full blast on the drive to school in the morning. Every morning. I love all the dated pop culture references (Ricki Lake?, oh yeah, I remember her). Really clears the cobwebs like a good Zinfandel.

5. I was thinking about Vancouver rocker Bif Naked and her battle with cancer lately and couldn't help recall "I Love Myself Today" and the great video that accompanies it. I hope she whips it. Hard-edged female singers attract me 'cause they're hot and scary. But Barolo shouldn't be.

6. "Theme from Jaws" by John Williams. The kid is into sharks in a big way and seems to be unfazed by the giant plastic shark devouring people in this 1975 Spielberg masterpiece. He walks around the house going da dum da dum da dum dadumdadumdadumdadum.
So I do to. Pinot Grigio

7. "Cold Hard Bitch". Seems a bit bitter, no? This Jet tune certainly rocks out and showcases the band's pedigree. Hard to sit still with this one on. You can brood while you boogie. Cab Sauv and blends of such.

Now who should I tag?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wine, San Francisco, Giants, Jazz, More Wine

Only a few days before my wife and I begin our trip to California. Our 11 day excursion will be centred around the San Francisco bay area but we will be travelling to some other points as we taste and sip our days away.

This is a significant trip. This is the first trip since our honeymoon that is a) longer than three days and b) does not have a kid, dog, relative or friend travelling with. And it roughly coincides with our anniversary (9th). We were married in early June in New Zealand's Bay of Islands.

We're planning on a jazz concerts, have tickets to the Giants versus the Mets June 2, there's a spa thingy arranged and on May 31st we're going wine-hiking with California Winehikes in the mountains and redwoods of the south penninsula. We're inviting all Cal wine types to join us on the wine hike. It should be a gas! Contact Russ at his website for details.

If you're in the area, we'd love to get together for a drink. Call my cell 250-490-7314 or

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Had an opportunity to drop into Fraiche for dinner last week while in Vancouver. I'm an old Vancouver boy so I was yearning for that view you get from the North Shore mountains. The same view you got when you took some of your first dates up the tram on Grouse Mountain or to Salmon House on the Hill.

I also needed some points in the spouse department as I had been predictably shoddy in recent attempts at Important Day Celebrations or IDCs. She'd accompanied me to the big smoke on this business trip so I surprised her with a dinner res at what must be almost 2,000 feet above sea level.
The room is bright, airy and dominated be the floor to ceiling windows facing south. There's a fair view from just about any seat. If you can't get a window seat for your baby, perch her at the bar where she can enjoy the view above the crowd and the crowd can enjoy the view of her. Change genders on that last sentence if you are so inclined.
At 7:15 on a Tuesday in late April the room was essentially full so make a reservation.

The weather behaved remarkably. The service was spot on. The food was flavourful, imaginative and worth the 20 minute jaunt from our downtown hotel. I wasn't in FM (foodie mode) and failed to take notes but suffice to say we each had a salad. Mine featured roasted beets and I think I'm now moving roasted beets up a few notches on the Top Veg Chart. Hers was centred around a small cylinder of goat cheese that was crunchy-crispy on the outside. Both were great. Our mains were duck for wife and lamb for me. Both were damn fine and were reduced to uttering grunts and squeals of appreciation to the chagrin of tables nearby. We paired them with a St. Francis Merlot I felt was a little flaccid which I attributed to my regionalized palate.
An old associate of ours from a decade ago turned out to be our server so we got a chance to share some laughs in remembrance.
The wine list was intelligent and stimulating. Not extensive but still plenty of varied choices. Hey! Township 7 Merlot. Don't forget to order it on your visit!
I was thoughtful and sensitive without any ennui.
I think we dropped a couple of C notes plus and felt we received a good exchange for our moolah.
Do you know how to get to Salmon House? Yes? Then keep driving up the hill. It's on Chippendale. No? Phone for directions or park in Ambleside (beachfront West Van) and take a cab.
I believe it's just dinners right now but that's changing so stay current! Closed Mondays.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Do You Know Gary?

If you read about wine on the internets, you probably have come across his work.

Plus he's been on TV!

Besides his own net TV.

It's Gary Vaynerchuk, the most passionate wine show around.

Twitter is your Wine World Connection

Just when you think you waste, er . . . are making the most of the internets along comes an application that really changes your views.

The best way I can describe TWITTER is to suggest it's a mini-blog system with instant updates. You're only allowed 140 characters a message. So it's a great way to reference lengthier pieces. You can use it on your desktop, laptop or phone.

Certain segments of the wine world have embraced Twitter and our community of winos make for some interesting buzz. If you think you'd like to follow my comments as a way of keeping up on my wine world, follow me at