Tuesday, April 30, 2013

GALES, SNOW, WINE

by Julie H. Ferguson

Monday dawned 15 degrees C colder than Sunday. A gale was roaring down Osoyoos Lake churning up whitecaps and dark clouds were streaming from the north threatening heavy rain or perhaps thunder storms.

It was our day to go wine tasting on the "Golden Mile" that runs from Oliver to Osoyoos, chosen because of the weather forecast. The wind buffeted the car as we drove north on Hwy 97, but the sun peeked out occasionally from the shredding clouds. Fierce rain showers turned on and off

 By the time we climbed the road to Hester Creek, the sun was fully out and the road glistening with puddles. The tasting room at this winery is big and delightful. Apart from the tasting bar, there is a rustic private dining room and a cellar with a long table down the middle. There is also a kitchen that looked as if it was the place for cooking demos and tasting. I tasted the Trebbiano for the first time and enjoyed it. Then their Cab Franc rosé, which reminded me a little of an off-dry Provence rosé. Bought two of each to take home for our cellar. Terrafina is their resto in a separate building close by and there is luxurious visitor accommodation available.

The drive through the vineyards and orchards was slow and interesting. We were a bit late for blossom time, but did find this orchard in bloom. As you can see I wanted to take some pix. Got some lovely close-ups out of the wind.

Next up was a wrong turn that had us climbing up into the mountains to the north east on a dirt road. At 3000 feet it was snowing and, as there was no indication on the map of a way out, we had to turn back. Clean car ended up muddy to the door handles!!

At the main junction in Oliver we crossed the river and turned south on Black Sage Road. This is a gorgeous drive through vineyard after vineyard. Tasting rooms are two a penny along here and many I'd never heard of. The views to the west  and south are expansive and worth enjoying. Our choice for tasting and lunch was Burrowing Owl (L). Situated up on a knoll, the complex is surrounded by its 146 acre vineyard with a mountain as its backdrop. On the resto's patio the view is gobsmacking of the valley and the northern tip of the lake. Visitors can stay here too in spacious rooms with private decks, all with THE view, and use of an outdoor pool. Breakfasts are included. I rather fancy a couple of nights here at harvest time.






We tasted and bought again—both James and I love Burrowing Owl's chard and we have half-a-case in the car now. Regrettably the tasting room was noisy with renos taking place, so we didn't feel like lingering. Besides we were very hungry. This resto is famous for its cuisine and we were both enchanted. I had gnudi—a naked gnocchi without potato, just ricotta and spinach. Gnudi are lighter and fluffier than gnocchi. They came in a delicious, slightly spicy sauce, a variety of tiny mushrooms, and tender beet greens. Hubbie went for the pan-seared halibut, and judging by the speed with which he woofed it back, it was delicious. We finished with a local cheese board.

By now, the clouds had been chased away and the lake was blue. We drove back to Spirit Ridge via the Nk'mip campground and found it bigger than we expected and well-kept with many facilities including a bistro and a convenience store. It's right on the lakeshore below Spirit Ridge.

IMAGES: 
Top 3 - © Photos by Pharos 2013
Last -   © James S. Ferguson 2013 (taken with a Go-Pro)