At a restaurant in White Rock last night, we ordered the 2013 Le Vieux Pin 'Vaila', a 100% saignee-method rose of pinot noir. Le Vieux Pin is an exceptional BC winery that is producing the most authically spot-on French knockoffs I've tasted anywhere. I think they'd fool most expert palates at blind tastings. So I could not stop myself from trying this wine, which comes in the long slender bottle associated with Tavel and has that coppery hue typical of same. With all that preamble, it was no surprise that the wine inside was more savory than sweet, although there was this offdry note right up front that seemed like it was going to the wrong place but u-turned and finished clean after all, after notes of strawberry, cranberry, tarragon and mushroom. Brilliant.
We enjoyed this delight while having the most terrible of restaurant dinners at a place that knowledgeable friends sang the praises of when it first opened two years ago. Things have gone downhill since, apparently. We ordered an appetizer pizza that began not as a fresh dough in their kitchen but as a frozen cardboard thing from a restaurant supply and which, in all likelihood, was purchased fully loaded with sauce and cheese, to which they added 12 bites of chorizo-flavored weiner style pre-cooked sausage that they cut in cubes, not slices which would have looked much better, and were supposed to have then applied fresh avocado and cilantro but they left off the cilantro. How stupid is that, to call it the Chorizo Avocado Cilantro Pizza and then leave off one of the principals? We also ordered a combo seafood appetizer that was just as lazy/shortcutted/underseasoned/overcooked and in all ways underwhelming. Meanwhile, from our sidewalk table, we'd seen zillions of orders of the best looking fish and chips ever pouring out of the chip shops next door (there are five on that stretch of Marine Drive), so eventually, instead of enduring further insults by ordering main courses we simply asked for our check, gulped down the wine and went and got some fish and chips.
When we got home another wine seemed in order, and I had a pair of troubled friends on my mind with whom we'd shared a bottle of 2006 Arcadian Fiddlestix pinot noir about a year ago that they liked so much I sent a bottle home with them, so I chose a bottle of that and we headed out to the patio to stare at the stars and send some cosmic wine love their direction. That bottle one year ago and at least one other bottle consumed at about the same time presented identically as light and mature in both color (taupe-y) and body. Therein were its delights, to be frank, so they weren't disappointing, they were just not going to have the longevity that 00 thru 04 Arcadians from various vineyards had. So it was with much surprise that we opened last night's bottle and found a youthfully fruity, almost jammy wine, with vibrant color and flavor. I had to take the bottle back inside to double check in good light that indeed I'd grabbed the 06 and not the 05--and indeed, it really was the 06. There were taninns and acidity as well--this wine is firming up, coming back to life, and I suspect that in 1-2 years the jammy quality will turn out to have been another age-related aberration and the wine this was meant to be all along will finally emerge. What a turn-around. I shall now officially refrain from opening any more of my 06's, especially the Pisonis, and await further miracles. And hope for some for my friends.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov