A Canadian Wine Tasting - part II
by Susanna Danieli
December 3rd, 2018
Farmer’s Apprentice - Granville Island - Vancouver
As I’m sitting here at Farmer’s Apprentice, I feel like a very special guest. Greeted by the gracious owners and members of Slow Food Canada I find myself in a rather small dining room lit by candlelight and, in the background, some David Bowie played by a vintage record player. Indeed a cozy and delightful place to enjoy dinner at. In front of me the set menu for the night is displayed: a four-courses meal composed of local, seasonal and organic ingredients, many of which can easily be found in the nearby Granville Island Market, the colorful arts and crafts centre of Vancouver.
The last thing I notice about the menu are three little (and mean) words written at the bottom that say “Beverages not included”. At first I feel a little bewildered: what to choose? Should I go for a glass or a bottle? Shall I ask someone to share the bottle? Can I drink one by myself? […]
As I wonder, suddenly the solution appears in front of my eyes: “Wine pairing available”. What a better opportunity to taste many different wines and to be guided through the meal to enjoy it fully? So here it is, my very special souvenir from Vancouver, a journey that explores the different terroirs and styles of British Columbia natural wines.
Artakama Viognier/Roussanne ’17, Oliver, BC
Heirloom radicchio, persimmon, date
This blend of viognier and roussanne has its grapes partially macerated in amphora and you can clearly see that in the glass: its delicate orange nuances are indeed a visually satisfying match to the rose-golden glory of this simple, yet delicious, radicchio and persimmon salad. A wine rather harsh to be drunk alone, given its very dry feeling and irony-clay taste; however it balances perfectly the sweetness of the salad. A surprising start.
Coolshanag Chardonnay ’16, Summerland, BC
Celeriac, pine mushroom, apple, parsley
A tip to upgrade Chardonnay? Ferment it in concrete! This wine is not your regular Chardonnay: it is gentle but still sharp, round but dry, dangerous in the way it pours a little bit too easily. Very pleasant on its own, it is spot on with the delicate smoky aroma of the oven roasted vegetables and blends perfectly with the balsamic and herbal taste of the creamy dressing. Glorious.
Orofino Cabernet Franc ’17, Similkameen, BC
Cannellini beans, fennel, leek
There is no need for the host to announce the wine: whenever I have some Cabernet Franc in my glass, I immediately recognize it. Herbal, spicy, green pepper notes: yet, in this case the mouth is telling a whole different story. Deep, intense, caressing, gentle, full and totally in love with the warm and earthy bowl of beans and vegetables in front of me - a bowl you want to dig in with the big spoon. Delightfully cozy.
Orofino “Homevineyard” Riesling ’16, Similkameen, BC - paired with:
Grape sorbet, grape, pistachio
To be fair, this Riesling is not a proper dessert wine, meaning that there is just a hint of sweetness given by the few residual sugars. I can forgive that: out of context it is a truly pleasant and slightly sparkling ending to a scrumptious dinner. What I can’t forgive is the choice of pairing: sorbet is delicious indeed but too cold and too sour to be tamed by the less sweet and equally acidic Riesling.
In this case my tip is dessert first, wine later and I’m as happy as I can be!
A special thanks to Farmer’s Apprentice restaurant, to my study trip tutor Lodovica for arranging such a beautiful night out and of course to all the natural wine producers of British Columbia who truly made this experience an unforgettable one.
If you want to know more about one of them you can check my last article here. Cheers!