Wine + dine = truly sublime

Join Kali Love as she samples wines and food from the Okanagan

by Kali Love

Kelowna is home to some of the best wineries in Canada. Mix that in with the fantastic restaurants in the Okanagan, and you have a match made in heaven.

In May 2011, I had the opportunity to visit Kelowna with a group of travel writers to tour some of the region’s most notable wineries and to dine in style.

Wine not?

Our first stop was The View Winery, where we got to meet Bernhard Schirr-meister, The View’s winemaker. We sampled a Pinotage, a Gewurztraminer, a Riesling and a sparkling wine called Distraction Frizzante. The sparkling wine was my personal favourite; it had hints of honey, strawberries and pomegranate.

Our next stop was SpierHead Winery to meet with Brian Sprout, one of the owners. SpierHead Winery has an underground barrel cellar; its red wines are aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. And the wines are delicious. The group sampled a white Riesling and Chardonnay, as well as a red Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Vanguard. I would choose the Merlot as my top pick of the bunch—its fruity aroma alone was superb.

For dinner, the group was escorted on board the Lake Lounge—Kelowna’s newest lake cruise charter boat. For dinner, Anne Henderson and Chef Jeff Kreklau from Cabana Catering made us baby back ribs, chicken breast in a delicious fig sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, fresh asparagus and caesar and spinach salad. For dessert, I had a brownie with French vanilla creme ganache and peanut butter icing. I gained weight on this trip but it was totally worth it.

The next day I was ready to sample another Okanagan hidden gem—and what a treat it was to go to Bouchons Bistro. This French restaurant has won numerous awards—it was named one of the 10 best new restaurants in Canada in 2004 by enRoute, the Air Canada magazine. The meal I selected was a culinary masterpiece that included milk-fed tenderloin and prawns with lobster coulis. It came with Belgian french fries and fresh Swiss bread that was so good I could have just eaten that for dinner. For dessert, I had the profiteroles—or flaky pastry filled with vanilla bean ice cream and topped with warm chocolate and almonds.

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