Monday, May 13, 2013

Breakfast at Burrowing Owl and morning wine tastings in Okanagan Falls.

Breakfast at Burrowing Owl was more than a continental breakfast.  Lots of fresh juices and fruits as well as muffins, bread and cereal, but also a couple of hot egg dishes and chunks of smoked salmon in a nice breakfast room with seating inside or on the patio overlooking the pool.    Very nice indeed.

We were staying the next few nighst at Sparkling Hill but had a couple of stops to make along the way.  I'd had some of wine waiting to be picked up at Meyer. The Meyer people are excited about wine and they do an exceptional tasting with odd and interesting food pairings. They make seriously delicious Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.   I pretty well had to swear I would cellar a couple of the single vineyard Pinot for a couple of years before they'd sell them to me.  If I had  discipline I wouldn't have already guzzled the previous vintages.  Discipline can be overrated.  If you love Burgundian style wines, go to Meyer.  Drink their wines.  You won't be sorry.   I even bought a Gewurztraminer so there's a curry in our future.

Okanagan Falls is one of my very favourite area of BC.  Perhaps because it's a little of the beaten track.   But probably because it's home to the likes of Blue Mountain, Noble Ridge, the beloved Painted Rock, Wild Goose and many other excellent wineries.

We stopped at Wild Goose.  I love the Pinot Gris and wanted to try the Stoney Slopes Reisling and see the new tasting room.  It was a little disappointing that we couldn't taste the Reisling.  Although it is only available at the winery you must buy it to taste it.  I bought some and they're delicious but come on, open the wines, charge for the tasting if you must but OPEN THE WINE!

With my steering wheel twitching at many signposts we headed north for a Taste of the Okanagan tour booked for the afternoon.

Distinctly Okanagan picked us up at Sparkling Hill and headed back south to downtown Kelowna for our 1st stop at Tree Brewing Company.  We tried a flight of their draft beer.  They have something for everyone.  Nice fresh flavours.

Calona Vineyards is in the same block and it's a great place to pick up some of the harder to get Sandhill Small Lots wines.  

Second stop on the tour was Urban Distilleries.  It was very interesting and although I don't love a lot of spirits I do love coffee and their Spirit Bear Espresso Infused Vodka has found a welcome place in my home.  

Final stop was Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan Shop.  They generously let us taste everything and anything we wanted.  I'm a big goat cheese lover so I was in my element.  The surprise was the exceptional goat cheese gelato.  Lot's of great flavours and again generous with the tastings.  Excellent stop for wine touring in the Mission area of Kelowna.
The day ended with a cocktail party at Sparkling Hills Resort where I discovered that Summerhill makes a very nice Pinot Noir.    

Great Day!  Cheers!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We love to start wine touring with a drive up Hwy 3 through the less developed wine region.

First stop, the Similkameen Valley at Clos du Soleil.  I love this kind of tasting, nothing fancy just a guy growing and making wine and happy to let you taste it.  Bathrooms across the yard, in the garage, and make sure the door is closed cause the cat is trying to steal the big box of hatching chicks.  Love it and the chicks were so cute.  We left with a bottle of their 2009 Eclipse, one of only 6 left for sale and made by Ann Sperling.  That’s the last thought I'm giving that wine for a couple of years. Also picked up a couple of nice Pinot Blancs for the summer.

Next up, La Stella in Osoyoos, sister property to the French inspired La Vieux Pin, they make wines like Italians and have a beautiful Tuscan style tasting room with a great balcony.    They are picky about all the right stuff in that Italian lover kind of way.   The wines are worth a splurge, though I think I'm more French than Italian.

We made a quick stop at Desert Hills and picked up some Gamay,  a consistently good summer red for spicy food, that serves up very nicely when slightly chilled.  I like their new label.

Final stop was Black Hills.  I've tried not to like Black Hills because of their phenomenal success but I can’t help it.  I love them.  The new Wine Room with a $20 sommelier led tasting through their magnificent portfolio is a perfect last stop.  Sitting on the patio by the fountain/pool sipping unavailable wines with and expert telling you the story of the wine, the vintage and the winery is a real pleasure.  I left a member of their wine club. I may have been slightly intoxicated but it's really good value. I'm not showing a picture of my Nota Bene cause then you'll know I have it.

Dinner at Burrowing Owl and another great day in the Okanagan were ahead.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Burrowing Owl is a place to end a day of wine touring and offers fantastic food and wine combined with luxurious accommodation.

We stayed at Burrowing Owl Guest House this week and it was excellent. The 10 large comfortable rooms with balconies overlooking the pool and vineyards are an excellent base for touring some of the best wineries in Canada.  The big treat with staying here is getting to eat dinner in the Sonora Room and having access to their Library Wines.  You can eat drink and be merry and walk to your room afterwards.  Definitely the good life.  We started with a Caesar cocktail made Silver Sage Chili Infused Ehrenfelser.  I may have to take the long way home to get a bottle of this stuff.

We both had the Tuna Nicoise Salad for dinner.   Mixed greens and balsamic reduction with fingerling potatoes, red and golden beet with dots of beet reductions. Perfect pieces of Albacore.  It was one of the best I've eaten.

We rarely eat the same thing but the Cioppino passed our table and looked and smelled so good we both ordered it.
Tuna, salmon, muscles, clams, scallops in a rich broth with toasted bread and a truffle aioli.  I won't show a picture of the bowls with every drop of broth mopped up.  It was FANTASTIC.

Now about those library wines.  There were 4 vintages available and our server recommended the 2006 Pinot Noir.  It was an excellent match with both the salad and the cioppino.
I would highly recommend a visit to the Sonora Room even if you can't stay the night.  They serve lunch as well.   It was our 3rd time eating here and we will go again.  Spending the night is even better.  Cheers!