Pure Love : Passion Wines
Perhaps the word passion is bandied about so broadly, its meaning is lost in the purest sense. Yet when you witness people invest heart and soul into their work, another person or a cause, there’s no other word that rings as true.
I left the Okanagan in the late 1970s and returned recently to discover the amazing evolution of the wine industry and its culinary partners. That kind of progress doesn’t just happen. It takes leadership, sacrifice, tenacity and love. Called nectar of the gods, wine resonates with “the way to one’s heart is through the stomach.” We thought it’d be fun to ask four passionate wineries for two romantic wines with food pairings.
Bestowed Intervin International Wine Awards’ Winery of the Year 2014/15, Painted Rock Estate Winery prides itself as “an extension of a family.” Exploring wineries in southern France, the Skinners dreamt of their own vineyard and the name honours family traditions. Painted Rock refers to ancient pictographs that John discovered on rocks beyond the vineyards, hearkening back to his childhood digging for artifacts with his father. Recognizing the historic significance, John learned from local First Nations that the pictographs are symbolic of a spirit walk, or coming of age. Painted Rock tributes family, community and the winery’s goals to embrace old-world traditions alongside the imagination of the new world. It strives to “craft superlative wines from 100% estate-grown fruit unlocking the unique potential” of its terroir while emphasizing sustainability and quality. “We are getting better and so are the wines,” says Skinner. The ultra-modern facility overlooks Penticton’s eastern shore of Skaha Lake and sparkles like a diamond drenched in light on the vineyard bench.
Pairing partner is Kelowna’s RauDZ Regional Table and its “support local, buy local and eat and drink local” philosophy. “Creating an amazing dining experience for guests is our focus so our wines are specifically selected to pair with Chef Rod Butters’ menu,” says Co-owner Audrey Surrao. “Painted Rock has long been a favourite and examples from its portfolio are always on our seasonal list,” she adds. For Painted Rock 2012 Syrah, Surrao and RauDZ Sommelier Andrew Schneider suggest Double “R” Ranch Thick-Cut Grilled Striploin Steak with Roasted Potatoes, Crisp Tyroler Ham Crumble, Qualicum Blue Cheese & Peppercorn Sauce. “The Syrah is spicy and brooding with aromas of smoked meat, pepper, dark-red fruit and refreshing minerality. Its intensity matches this bold dish and its bright acidity cleanses the palate after each sip.”
For Painted Rock’s flagship blend 2012 Red Icon, The “RJB” – Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Butter-Poached Crab, Shaved Cured Bacon, Onion Jam, Brioche Bun, Roasted Potatoes and Duck Fat Mayonnaise – is recommended. “Rich and decadent, the layered complexity of the dish is ideal with the towering array of complementary flavours in Red Icon of coffee, plum and black cherry and sweet aromas of vanilla, chocolate and tobacco,” says Surrao. “It’s the perfect match; proof that some things are just meant to be.”