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Keith's Brier Patch - good for curlers, bad for swirlers

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The date: March 14.The place: Keith's Brier Patch, Winnipeg Convention Centre.

It's done. I arrived at the Patch last night around 8:30, as my cohort was anxious to get a table for Kenny Shields & Streetheart's performance. So I meandered up to the bar, ponied up a drink token, and asked for a glass of red wine.

"Would you like ice cubes in that?"

This was going to be good.

I politely declined and watched as the bartender poured the wine from the one litre Tetra Prism into a clear plastic cup, then made my way back to the table. Everybody else was drinking from white plastic beer cups, most of which were presumably filled with beer.

The score: 6-3 Saskatchewan in the 6th end.The wine: Peller Estates Proprietor's Reserve Selection Shiraz. Tetra Prism, $10.99/1000ml. Non-vintage.peller shiraz

Tasting notes: I had a tough time with the nose because a) I'm still getting over a cold, b) the plastic cup wasn't very conducive to swirling, c) said cup was quite full, and d) I was in the Brier Patch and, quite frankly, wasn't keen on being seen swirling and sniffing wine at what is essentially a gigantic social.

Having said that, I did detect some sweet, candied cherries on the nose. A nearby Patch-er, a pediatrician, gave it a smell as well. One of us mentioned a child's cough medicine - I can't remember if it was her or me.

It's a medium-bodied red with pleasant cinnamon and sweet cherry flavours, very little tannin, a fair bit of acidity and a short finish. I chased it with a swig of beer before switching over to the frothy stuff for good.

table

There are some food kiosks in the Patch, and I reckon the Peller Shiraz would do nicely with a slice of Santa Lucia pizza, some perogies from Alycia's, or some Hooters wings.

One Brier organizer mentioned that wine had been going at such a good pace that a downtown Liquor Mart had to be visited for restocking (apparently white rum was going at a good clip as well).

Other highlights: a man dancing on a table, a Jeff Stoughton spotting, and Kenny & Co. busting out their version of the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb".

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About Ben MacPhee-Sigurdson

When he wasn't bashing on a drum kit in local punk rock bands, Ben spent the mid '90s hucking cases of wine around to pay for two English degrees. Now he's the Winnipeg Free Press wine columnist and blogger.

The extent of Ben's wine experience in the mid-90s was memories of accidentally leaving a bottle of White Zinfandel in the freezer overnight, and the ensuing mess he was left with. Between 1996 and 2005 Ben absorbed all he could about wine while working at wine shops to pay for school. Meanwhile, he was churning out papers for his BA and MA in English (from the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba, respectively).

Ben became the Winnipeg Free Press' weekly wine columnist in 2005, and two years later joined Wine Access magazine as a contributor, a member of their national tasting panel and a judge at the Canadian Wine Awards and International Value Wine Awards until the magazine closed up shop in 2013.

In 2013 Ben joined the Winnipeg Free Press as a copy/web editor.

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