Week­end wine tour a great way to spend Thanks­giv­ing

Penticton Herald - - LIFE - JEANETTE DUNAGAN

Here is a brief up­date of what the first days and weeks of the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day have brought.

First, the tra­di­tional din­ner that Tammy and her team at the se­niors cen­tre pro­vided for all us old happy campers.

Hon­estly, I don’t en­joy buf­fets with too much food swirling on my plate, but this feast was tops in taste and pre­sen­ta­tion.

The mashed po­ta­toes were the creami­est of my en­tire life and the turkey so young and fresh and so lightly sea­soned.

I don’t know the bak­ing time, but that bird was per­fect. The car­rots were firm, the corn was crisp. The rolls were warm and the pump­kin tarts tasted home-made.

There was not a lump in the gravy and we old girls ap­pre­ci­ate the days of work that were re­quired to put that hol­i­day kick-off in grand style on the ban­quet ta­ble.

Cor­rinne gave a lovely bless­ing that set the tone for the great abun­dance we all share. Again, bravo to our gourmet chef and her vol­un­teers.

The Thank You Canada Ice Show was an­other gift to our com­mu­nity. Of course, all eyes were on Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Elvis Sto­jko al­most stole the show and the “Di­a­mond” fea­ture with the en­tire ensem­ble nearly re­duced me to tears. A night to re­mem­ber at Pros­pera Place.

My idea to spend the hol­i­day it­self in Osoy­oos for the wine fes­ti­val was pos­i­tively bril­liant.

We toured Road 22, which be­comes Black Sage Road and wound up at Bur­row­ing Owl Es­tate Win­ery, for din­ner in the Sonora Room restau­rant.

There were few peo­ple about, so it felt like a pri­vate party and Mike and I thor­oughly en­joyed the main course of a roasted whole pheas­ant, brought in from the Shuswap.

Ve­gan Squash soup was the starter. The fresh baked sour­dough bread was still warm from the oven and the braised savoy cab­bage new to me.

The pump­kin mousse to fin­ish was an­other de­light.

I love the Sauvi­gnon 2013 be­cause it is so smooth and crisp. Mike likes Bur­row­ing Owl Pinot Gris 2017, which is most pop­u­lar due to the fruity, sweet taste.

There are 10 rooms in the Guest­house and 140 acres of vines to de­light the eyes.

Years ago, I was at the Nk’Mip Cel­lars open­ing. Could that have been 2002?

I re­mem­ber a scruffy look to the land and the build­ings. Ban­nock was be­ing baked out­doors and the fo­cus was all about the first Abo­rig­i­nal-owned win­ery in North Amer­ica.

Spirit Ridge to­day had me shak­ing my head. Pen­tic­ton-based ar­chi­tect Robert MacKen­zie clearly had a fin­ished vi­sion in mind when he de­signed the com­plex. The build­ings sit so com­fort­ably on the slop­ing vine­yards and in­clude ac­com­mo­da­tion, ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre, desert gar­dens, trails and the pa­tio restau­rant, where tra­di­tional tech­niques are demon­strated, and the Sun­set Wine Lounge, where we sat to savour the 32,000 acres of Sonora Desert land­scape.

The wine shop at Nk’Mip is high­ceilinged, spa­cious, and stocked with award win­ning wines.

In 2016, Nk’Mip was named In­ter­vin Cana­dian Win­ery of the Year. Justin Hall has re­cently been rec­og­nized for his skills in wine­mak­ing, the first Abo­rig­i­nal to do so.

We left with more than a few bot­tles of the 2016 Chardon­nay; I can’t taste the but­tery fin­ish, but it is an im­prove­ment over the 2017 Dream­catcher, which I find too dry, even though it is very pop­u­lar.

To fur­ther in­dulge our­selves, we picked out a beau­ti­ful ce­ramic serv­ing piece with bold, colour­ful brush strokes that will be per­fect to fea­ture Mike’s Fa­mous Cheese­balls over the hol­i­days.

Terri Paul is the hand­crafted pot­tery artist and I be­lieve her stu­dio is here in Kelowna.

A high­light of our wine-fest ad­ven­ture was dis­cov­er­ing Hester Creek Es­tate Win­ery in Oliver and their 50th cel­e­bra­tion.

A pi­o­neer on the Golden Mile Bench, the Mediter­ranean-style wine shop sits on 95 acres of clas­sic va­ri­etals and is sur­rounded by oak trees, which keep their leaves.

The Old Vines Treb­biano was sold out, as was the Rose Caber­net Franc. We passed on the big, bold, pricey The Judge and set­tled for sev­eral bot­tles of the 2016 SyrahViog­nier. This wine ac­tu­ally has flavours of to­bacco and cof­fee. We will go back to Hester Creek (Gehringer Broth­ers is right next door on Road 8) again, I know.

It has it all; a sense of in­ti­mate space, cook­ing classes, a Tus­canstyle restau­rant, and six Mediter­ranean-style Villa suites.

I had no ex­pec­ta­tions for our per­sonal wine tour other than to spend a night or two out of town. My mem­ory of the brief ex­pe­ri­ence is that it was ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous.

Many of the winer­ies are al­ready start­ing to blur in my grate­ful heart, how­ever. Desert Hills had a huge dog re­clin­ing in the drive­way. Black Hills had palm trees at the en­trance.

Stoneboat was too homey; looked like a de­serted RV park.

Here’s The Thing Vine­yard was a brightly coloured yel­low wineshop with a cac­tus gar­den at the en­try.

I think it was The Blue Sky Win­ery that fea­tured a neon sign. Cassini Cel­lars, 2017 Win­ery of the Year, is where we will start next time.

The two-hour drive from our front door to the Water­mark Beach Re­sort is just the be­gin­ning. Ig­nore the many fruit stands and the huge signs along High­way 97 and take the side roads up to the benches. There the hills are bathed in fall light and the colours will soothe your soul. Truly an Eden in our own back yard.

Jeanette Dunagan has lived in Kelowna for more than 40 years. Email her at jd2399@telus.net. it

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.