Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment. Cheers! - Bethany

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Budbreak in my backyard

Look! Vines!! I haven't a clue what varietal they are - the previous owners claim it's chardonnay - but who cares, I have grapevines growing in my backyard!

There are actually four such vines, but the other two on this same stretch of fence looked like they were on their last legs before winter even hit; the third on the opposite end of the yard, reaching weakly up a trellis, is brittle and dry. But this one's bound and determined to not only survive, but crawl right off the fence and start walking upright. The deep burgundy-and-green foliage unfurls each morning to work on its tan, while the sturdy arms twist and wind every which way.

Time for me to read up on my viticulture techniques and learn how to take care of this mini-vineyard of mine.

I've also got a plum tree in full blossom, attracting all manner of pollinating bugs and serving as the dining table for an unruly "bird herd" of grackles feasting out of the feeder. Mourning doves, redwing blackbirds, chipping and song sparrows, too. Even a pair of cardinals at one point. Oh, and I've discovered I have a wild strawberry patch all the way at the back.

And I just kick back and soak it all in. Especially now that the patio set is up and in full effect; there's nothing more pleasing than spending the morning in a sunbeam, browsing through the newspaper or just letting myself nod off. I am supposed to be resting, after all ... Friday was my last work day before maternity leave, now it's all about putting my feet up. I can't do much else with this baby belly in the way, and the kidlet has no qualms about kicking me in the ribs when I start doing too much. So resting it is. And I have the perfect backyard in which to do it.

It's also good for dining al fresco, which we did tonight: bruschetta paired with a Lindemans 2008 Cawarra Semillon Chardonnay, with an easygoing nose of caramel/vanilla and pineapple, followed by citrus zest and minerality, with a long stream of acidity right to the last drop. This was an accidental purchase; I was supposed to get a Peter Lehmann Semillon on the recommendation of a colleague, but couldn't remember the name while at the LCBO. Blame it on pregnancy brain.

The main course was steak, lovely thick striploins accompanied by a tart and tangy spinach salad and a Mission Hill Family Estate 2007 Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot. A gift from my mother-in-law who was up for the weekend, it had a superb, smooth feel, flavours of ripe cherries and blackberries, with moderate weight that struck me as being a potential partner to a wide variety of foods. But it still maintained the tannic clout to stand up to the grilled meat.

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