Wine From The West

Jesse & Gino Amazing Race Winners 2015
Jesse & Gino Amazing Race Winners 2015

 

If you’re a fan of Amazing Race Canada you might already be familiar with Covert Farms in British Columbia as it was one of the locations from last season where teams competed in various challenges.  Brothers Gino and Jesse showed their strength as they flipped a large tractor tire 100 meters and placed it on a rack showing everyone they really did have what it takes to walk away with the top prize.

You might be wondering what The Amazing Race has to do with wine but as it happens Covert Farms is not only an organic farm it’s also a winery and since brothers Brent and Sean had to complete a speed bump in this same leg of the race before they could move on they had to fill, cork, and label a dozen bottles of wine, then properly dip the neck of each bottle in wax to create a seal.

Covert Farms
Covert Farms

Located at the foot of McIntyre Bluff on 650 acres north of Oliver, British Columbia the organic farm, vineyard, and winery produces Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon, and Rosé, as well as three proprietary red blends The Bluff, MDC and Amicitia.

IMG_0657Alongside a group of international journalists I recently had a chance to explore the fields and certified organic estate vineyards on a  tour with winemaker Gene Covert in his vintage 1952 Mercury truck.  Educational and entertaining I learned about everything from the land’s history to their sustainable farming practices and was quite astonished by the fact we could still pick strawberries at the end of September, something that’s definitely not happening anywhere else in this country.

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The day ended with a culinary journey of delicious dishes paired with amazing wines IMG_0668created by the executive chef from the Watermark Beach Resort.  We started with an appetizer of local salmon pate trendily served in a mason jar topped with pickled fennel along side a glass of the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.  I’m a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc and with that crisp dry fruit forward taste it was a perfect fit to the first course.

IMG_0681While we might have started off light the second course was IMG_0673definitely something more fitting of a farm style meal.  Heirloom potatoes, pork belly and an organic salad mix it was accompanied by one of the farms proprietary red blends called MDC.  Made with certified organic grapes, 100% estate grown the spicy notes were the perfect pairing for the pork.

IMG_0683Since you can’t let your guests leave before enjoying dessert we were served a tasty fruit IMG_0686crumble accompanied by the family estate Rosé.  I’m not usually a fan of Rosé but to be honest I have to say this was my favourite wine of the three. Made with a combination of  Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah the acidity helped cut through the sweetness of the dessert and the notes of cherries and strawberries reminded me of time spent in the strawberry patch earlier in the day.

IMG_0687If you happen to get out that way be sure to stop by an take a tour of the farm and browse the the wines available for sale, I promise you won’t walk away with just one.

Happy Trails

Mission Hill Winery

Besides wine, travel is our other great passion and our bucket list of places to visit is long.  But sometimes work and the fact the bills need to be paid keeps our adventures closer to home.  Because of this we often live vicariously through our friends who are off roaming the world on their own wine/travel journeys.  Funnily enough most of our friends share our passion so we’ve invited them to send us their stories of wine adventures so we could share them with you.

Recently Dagmar went west to visit family but also hit the wine trails of the Okanagan Valley and here’s what she had to say:

“I recently visited the Okanagan Valley in B.C and some of the spectacular wineries which are bountiful in the region. One of my favourites is Mission Hill Family Estate Winery.  Because I have the benefit of having family in the region I make it a point to visit this winery every time I’m out here.  Mission Hill is nestled between the Coastal Mountains to the west and the Monashee Mountains to the east.  The estate overlooks Lake Okanagan and the lush vineyards and orchards below.

This stunning location is a magnet to food and wine lovers, newlyweds and is a photographers paradise.  The owners are passionate about wine and food, so if you’re interested in enjoying lunch or dinner the stunning dinning terrace overlooking the vineyard offers amazing seasonal fare. In fact the restaurant has been chosen as one of the top five winery restaurants globally by Travel and Leisure Magazine.

After enjoying the scenic gardens and stunning views I ventured inside for some wine tasting. After all isn’t that what it`s all about .

Mission Hill Winery Cellar
They offer daily tours and tastings in elegant salons adorned with chandeliers and vibrant paintings depicting the local art of winemaking. There are underground barrel cellars which also provide stunning backdrops to help educate the not so educated wine drinkers like myself.
And as a side note, the wine shop adjacent to the tasting rooms is spectacular.
If you know nothing about wines you can still lose yourself shopping for anything VINO to fill your home and at least make it look like you know a thing or two about wine.
I finally cozied up to the tasting bar to get down to business and given several options from the five vineyards which produce their vintages. Here were my favourites.
2009 Pinot Blanc.  A dry white wine with a crisp and refreshing ruby grapefruit and pineapple flavour that combine for a fresh clean finish.
2008 Pinot Gris     A drier tasting white wine also with a crisp fruity flavour but without the sweetness.
I walked out with two bottles of each, enough to get me by until at least Thanksgiving.”
Cheers,  Dagmar Ballard, (wine taster adventurer in the making)
We’re so glad Dagmar had a such an amazing wine adventure and we’re hoping to get out to BC ourselves next year. Can’t wait to check out all the new and existing wineries and culinary delights and if you’re considering a trip to BC, Tourism BC is a great resource.  No matter what city or region you’re looking to visit they’ve got information about what to see and do, accommodation and transportation some special offers and discounts that will help make your BC holiday even more special.