by Treve Ring | In my line of work I get to
drink taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome…
Commanderie de la La Bargemone | Cuvée Marina Rosé 2013
Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France | $30 +650408
Yeah – I was skeptical too. I mean, just look at that bottle! Is it perfume? A marketing ploy? My skepticism is as finely attuned to wine BS as my palate is to Trichloroanisole, but then the aroma - savoury, stony, minerality, spice – and the colour! Its gorgeous gossamer pale peach salmon hue instantly conjures the warm, herb-laden winds of Provence.
Skepticism settled, tuck in and enjoy this bone dry and positively racy rosé. Stony spice throughout, with sun-warmed watermelon, Lilliputian strawberries, roses, mandarin and an undertone of a heady wild herb bouquet. The structure is quietly confident, acidity is vibrant and the pink grapefruit pith finish lingering. The sustainably farmed syrah, cab sauv and grenache in this blend are on a 150 hectare property that dates back to the 13th century, situated just outside of the village of Saint-Cannat in Aix-en-Provence. Only a limited amount of this striking wine found its way into our liquor stores, so find it while you can or befriend someone who has.
by Treve Ring | From the stony, steep sided Similkameen Valley comes this single vineyard Cawston Gamay from Orofino. Planted in 1999 on sloping Stemwinder soils and granitic shale (gamay crushes on granite), this pale cherry-hued red should be your summer go-to.
Orofino Celentano Vineyard Gamay 2013
Because it’s hot out! You don’t want a giant, chewy, sweat-beading, muscular, heavy, oaked red. Too much work! You want this bright, fresh, light red – tart and earthy rhubarb acidity to refresh you and your palate, and finely spiced tannins to take on your dinner. This savoury, lissom red is laced with cured meats, wild strawberry, a swipe of stony minerality throughout, and an alluring bitter cherry note on the finish. Serve slightly chilled, and this versatile wine will suit anything from grilled pizza to charcuterie to salmon. Only 100 cases produced, so get on it.
I put 5 questions in front of winemaker, sports coach dad, fellow ping pong advocate, outdoor pizza oven afficianado, Similkameen stalwart and co-owner, along with his equally active wife Virginia, John Weber.
Straight up – why did you make this wine? We started taking these grapes in 2007. This style came out in 2010. We just loved the freshness and unmasked fruit that comes from these grapes. We started drinking a lot of Cru Beaujolais and thought we might try to imitate that style and see what we could do in BC with Gamay.
Where are the grapes from? A little vineyard about a 5 minute walk from the winery. It is owned and managed by an Italian couple Antonio and Carmela Celentano. They grow mostly Riesling but have a tiny little section of Gamay that comes to us. Shale and rocks all over the place. It is a stunningly beautiful vineyard. We make around 100 cases a year.
Your ideal pairing with these wines would be…? Summer. We chill it down just a bit and barbeque some sausages or roast a chicken in our cob oven. It is also a terrific Thanksgiving turkey wine with savoury stuffing.
Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Our friends Rhys Pender and Alishan Driediger from Little Farm Winery just down the road from us are making delicious Rieslings and Chardonnays – wines that have Similkameen Valley written all over them.
What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Can I say BC craft beer? Our cellar has a good mix of old world stuff. Chablis, Cru Beaujolais , Loire. We have a soft spot for dirty Spanish wines. Things with a little bit of funk are always fun to try and talk about. We drink Rieslings from Australia too.
by Treve Ring | 1,335 wines, 4,000 bottles, 4.5 days, 16-ish judges, 2 bottles of emergency couriered Nardini, 6 judges cannonballing into a pool at a hosted event, 2 types of Sensodyne toothpaste, 1 looping blur of guitar-led singalong on a bus, 1 unconfirmed sighting of Ogopogo…
By the numbers, that pretty well sums up last week in Penticton and my annual jaunt to judge The National Wine Awards of Canada. Of course, that doesn’t include the pre-figures (countless hours by the BOH team to organize, input, ship and unpack bottles, or the thousands of Aeroplan points redeemed to move judges from one side of the country to the other), or the post-figures (1 trip to the dentist for me this week). Math was never my strong suit – but wine, on the other hand…
Non-industry and non-wine people (I call them laypeople, or “civilians”) look at my career as a wine writer and judge it as either a dream job or a lark. I get a lot of “I like wine. I write good. I like to travel. That’s not work. I can do that!” While I’m thinking “Not enough. Not well. Not for long. Like hell it’s not. Highly doubtful”, I just smile and nod and feign concurrence.
I get that my work is different than most folks. The fact that my kitchen pantry has had all food replaced by wine bottles with little tags on their necks indicating drinking windows and soil types might be curious. And blind tasting hundreds of wines during the work week before going out in the evening to taste dozens more with winemakers might sound bizarre, but it’s as ideal as gamay on granite to me (really freaking ideal).
Wine judging has a veiled mystery to it – even amongst wine professionals. “I work with wine, I want to wear a badge and be a judge.” That’s like saying “I like to eat, I can wear whites and be a chef.” Not everyone who works in wine makes for a good wine judge. Being a sommelier, buyer, instructor, winemaker, collector or enthusiastic layperson does not make you a good wine judge. Years of dedicated tasting, evaluating, listening, travelling and learning from folks way smarter than you will get you started – plus you need a strong bent for detail, stamina, focus, humility, critical thinking and confidence to treat the wines and process respectfully and judiciously. And shit – when all is said and done and poured, you have to be able to taste.
I’m still learning, thank Bacchus.
And the lark bit? Well, I work every day, and think about wine, write about wine, and taste wine 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, without the security of a pension or benefits or car allowance or whatever else civilians get, and have zero complaints – so yes, I guess so. Dream job? Damn straight! What follows, then, is a hand-scribbled look inside my week as a wine judge at The Nationals, flight by flight by flight… Read more
by Treve Ring | I drink/taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome…
Luis Pato | Vinhas Velhas Branco 2012 | +403881 | Beiras VR, Portugal | $25.99
I appreciate obscure, curious and off-the-beaten-track wines, and I value tradition and time in practice and patience. This wine epitomizes both traits. Luis Pato’s family has been producing wine since the 18th century, and his father, Joâo was the first to bottle wine in Bairrada DOC after it was officially demarcated as an appellation in 1979. “Bairrada” is from “barros” (clay) and due to the clay-laden soils throughout the area. Though the region was relatively recently recognized by the rule books, it is an ancient area for grape growing. Viticulture in Bairrada has existed since at least the 10th century, when the area gained independence from the Moors. Recognized for its deep, full and tannic reds, the wines of Bairrada were sought after during the 17th century when the Douro’s illustrious Port houses – pressed to satisfy the growing British tastes for Port – would blend in wines from the region to ramp up quantity.
Together with his father, Luis is credited with bringing Bairrada back to life, legitimately. Though the Pato name (Portuguese for duck, and referenced by the bird in flight on the label) is rockstar synonymous with Bairrada, this brand new-to-BC-wine is sourced from the neighbouring and lesser-known Beiras region, just outside of the demarcated Bairrada borders.
Unoaked and raised in stainless steel, this bright trio of indigenous Becal, Cerceal and Sercialinho grapes highlight their pure-fruited nature and chalky clay soils like a mirror. Smoked stone, herbal white grapefruit, pear skin and lemon pith on the nose carry to a creamy, oily, leesy texture with ripe bitter melon, white peach, Asian pear, quince, wild honey, pine nuts and a perfumed elderflower blossom. Beautiful freshness and energy, tempered by a bitter edge. The pretty girl with the ugly sweater reading The Book of Disquiet in the corner at the party. I love the unapologetic authenticity of this wine, in a “yeah, I don’t care what you think about me because this is what I am and if you don’t like it then zarpar.”
The GOODS from Market by Jean-Georges
Vancouver, BC | It’s show time again at MARKET by Jean-Georges. Grab your gourmet popcorn and a seat, and join MARKET for a culinary journey perfectly paired with an insightful movie. On May 28 and 29, the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver will be opening the doors to its private Blue Moon Theatre for an exclusive screening of SOMM followed by a private four-course dinner at MARKET by Jean-Georges. The highly acclaimed SOMM takes viewers on a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into a mysterious world of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the massively intimidating Master Sommelier Exam.
The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world’s most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars. Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well-being, and often their sanity to pull it off. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court Of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam, until now. SOMM takes viewers on the ultimate insider’s tour into a world of obsession, hope, and friendship in red, blanc and sometimes rose.
Once the lights come up, guests of the Movies at MARKET series will be escorted to the Georgia Room in MARKET by Jean-Georges, where the second portion of the evening awaits. Chef de Cuisine Montgomery Lau has created a tantalizing four-course dinner influenced by some of the most loved winemaking regions, travelling from Provence through California. Menu items will include items such as Bouillabaisse Broth with Slow Poached Halibut served with Fennel, Zucchini and Confit Garlic and Coq au vin prepared Two ways served with a White Onion Puree and Parisian Gnocchi.
From special guest and host for the evening, Mark Moffat, Wine Director and Sommelier from Shangri-La Hotel, Toronto, will share his own personal experience as he studies for the Master Sommelier Exam. Named the winner of the Best Sommelier Competition 2013 with Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Moffatt will be curating perfectly paired wine options available for guests to add to their SOMM-inspired dinner.
With only 36 seats available per screening, the exclusive Movies at MARKET series is the hottest date night ticket in town. The evening will include a glass of Champagne, gourmet popcorn, film screening, and a private four-course dinner at MARKET by Jean-Georges. The doors open at 5:00 pm, with a glass of Champagne upon arrival, and the event starts at 5:30 pm with the screening of the movie followed by dinner. Tickets for Movies at MARKET are priced at $78.00 and available by calling the restaurant at (604) 695-1115. Read more
by Treve Ring | You can tell this family-owned and operated winery is in it for the love of the craft. There is no way Alan Dickinson, his wife Amy and Alan’s parents John and Kristy would put this much time and effort into their micro winery if they didn’t live and breathe it. Focus and passion are nothing new for the Dickinsons; the winery is named for the gear shifting mechanism in a car that makes the driving and driven wheel revolve at a synchronized speed. The synchromesh system matches the speeds of gears that you are changing to the one that you intend to use, ensuring a smooth and quiet shift. John Dickinson used to race sports cars, and restoring and collecting classic and performance cars is a passion shared by several members of the family, including his two sons Alan and Stuart.
Synchromesh Wines Tertre Rouge 2011 | Turtle Rock Farms, Naramata Bench, BC | $35
Making well-crafted, terroir-driven, sustainably produced and low interventionist wine is also a shared passion. While primarily a Riesling-focused winery (perhaps it’s the petrol?), this wine, Tertre Rouge, is their flagship red.
From a single vineyard tucked up above the Naramata Bench comes this expressive red. Cab Franc dominates the blend with beauty black cherry, spicy cassis, sun-ripened tomato and dusty thorns, while Merlot plumps up the balance, all dark chocolate, roasted coffee and fragrant ripe blackberry. Acidity is brisk, tannins are confident and the vanilla essence on the finish lengthy. After a 15 month stint in French oak, plus a further yearlong repose in bottle, the wine is ready for release.
Tertre Rouge takes its name from an iconic corner of France’s Le Mans racing circuit. After you clear the tricky, high-speed Le Tertre Rouge bend, you’re straight sailing onto one of the longest, most rewarding straightaways in motor racing. Time and experience is key for a skilled racer; and time in the cellar is what this wine was built for.
I asked Alan Dickinson to share his message in a bottle of Tertre Rouge 2011…
Straight up – why did you make this wine? And what’s in the name? I love Cabernet Franc, it does amazing things in the Okanagan when grown on the right site and cropped appropriately. It can be as transparent as Riesling or Pinot Noir and brings a wonderful greenness and funkiness that kills with food. The name… Tertre Rouge is one of the most famous corners in motor racing and commands balance and patience to execute cleanly… I think this sums up Cabernet Franc and its intricacies.
Where are the grapes from? Tertre Rouge is a single vineyard wine from Turtle Rock Farms above the Naramata Bench. A unique site in soil make up and excellent exposure made more interesting by a late day ‘second sun’ from the lake reflection. We lease the entire vineyard and work closely with the Britton family to farm and produce the best Cabernet Franc and Merlot possible. We use the Merlot in careful doses to flesh out and soften the Cabernet Franc while allowing it to capture the aromas and flavours.
Your ideal pairing with this wine would be…? Tertre Rouge is very versatile because of its acid and aromatic intensity but I love what it does to lamb the most. Lamb happens to be my favourite meat and grilled lightly with rosemary and garlic scapes it wrangles the best out of this wine.
Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Tough one, it really depends what I’m eating. Meyer Family for Chardonnay, Painted Rock for Syrah, Blue Mountain for Pinot Noir or Fairview’s unabashedly big Cabs. I do seem to drink more from Okanagan Falls than any other areas, though.
What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? German Riesling! Bordeaux (a special love for Magdelaine), but really all over the map. It is important to understand the best wines in the world in order to try and achieve the best you can with your own vineyards.
THE GOODS FROM Le Vieux Pin & Lastella
Oliver, BC | Brand new websites for LaStella and Le Vieux Pin wineries bring more than great wine to consumers. The new websites focus on sharing relevant information about the South Okanagan in general and specific viticulture practices and terroir of each of their vineyards in particular. Until April 30th, in celebration of the new websites, new sign ups to receive the monthly newsletter will be entered to win a VIP tour of their vineyard and cellars combined with a barrel tasting and checking in on library wines. By signing up for the newsletter, receive timely release offers, rare releases and learn more about the Okanagan Valley and two well respected wineries. Check out Le Vieux Pin’s Petite Club, or LaStella’s Piccolo Club. Members receive 12 carefully chosen bottles of wine per year (two times six-bottle packages sent in the spring and fall each year costing approx. $150-$200 each) as well as 10% saving on wines purchased through the website or cellar door (excluding Maestoso, La Sophia and Library re-releases) and receive invitations and announcements of special events and tastings. Read more
The GOODS from Fort Berens Winery
Lillooet, BC | The weather is heating up, the sun is shining and the season is off to a great start for Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet. With some major milestones behind them, including the groundbreaking of their new winery in the fall and winning White Wine of the Year at Cornucopia in November, the team is bursting with excitement as spring blossoms. For Fort Berens, this spring brings new growth to their team, the blossoming of their winery construction project and a bountiful spring release of their favourite and new varietals.
Rolf de Bruin, founder and one of the owners of Fort Berens, announced, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Megan de Villiers and Danny Hattingh to the Fort Berens team. Megan is our new Vineyard Manager and Danny is our new Winemaker. They are a couple in real life and also in the vineyard and cellar. They have worked together as a winery team for a number of years and join our team with experience from South Africa, the Southern Gulf Islands and the Okanagan. When Heleen and I met with Danny and Megan, we felt an immediate connection with them as we discovered that their journey was not unlike ours. We have all enjoyed many great adventures along the way. While our paths were different, those paths led all of us to Lillooet, and we are so pleased that Megan and Danny are joining us here.” Read more
by Treve Ring | In my line of work I get to
drink taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome…
Domaine Baumard | Clos Saint-Yves Savennières 2009 | AC Savennières | Loire, France | $35
Old Vine Chenin Blanc. That’s enough to get my attention. Throw in this small, specialized Savennières, a sub-appellation of the Anjou AOC, and highly regarded for long-lived, dry chenin blanc and you’ve got enough for me to queue, screw in one hand and glass in the other. Domaine des Baumards is run by Florent and his recently retired father, Jean. The property has been in the Baumard family since 1634; let’s just say the Baumards know their land. The Domaine is regarded as one of the greatest producers in the Loire Valley and has been called one of the greatest producers of white wine in the world. Yields are low and the grapes are sustainably and organically harvested. In The World’s Greatest Wine Estates, Robert Parker pens “For decades Jean Baumard’s wines have been benchmarks for Savennières, Côteaux du Layon, and Quarts de Chaume – his wines have every component in place, so technically perfect and so polished they seem to be the product of a scientist. Florent, who is taking over from his recently retired father, has added some soul. There is no doubt in my mind that Florent Baumard is one of the shining lights in France’s winemaking present and future.”
The Clos de Saint-Yves is a bone dry Savennières, considered as the entry point of the house, and what an entrance. Chenin is a terroir-transmitting grape, and it’s signaling clearly the schist, sandstone and sand that these 35+ year old vines were grown on. This is not an easy wine, but it’s worth the effort. Expressive and wily temperamental, every few minutes you get something new in the glass.
Savoury schisty minerality, sea salt, wild honey, yellow pear, dried quince, citrus, chamomile and redux apple skin notes all jockey for position atop an oily, full and vibrant palate. I recommend decanting for a few hours before launching in. This is a complex wine – one that deserves contemplation, possibly grilled scallops or a fresh briny oyster. And definitely deserves awesome.
The GOODS from Market by Jean-Georges
Vancouver, BC | MARKET by Jean-Georges will host an unprecedented evening of exquisite food and wine. A host from Château Margaux in the Bordeaux region of France together with MARKET Chef de Cuisine Montgomery Lau, have partnered together to showcase some of the house’s rarest and most admirable wines.
Aurélien Valance, Senior VP Commercial Director of Château Margaux, will be on hand throughout the evening to offer his consummate insight and depth of knowledge about wine. The seven-course dinner will feature the 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1996 vintages of the Grand Vin alongside the esteemed Pavillon Blanc 2011 and Pavillon Rouge 2004. The highlight of the evening however will be the 1983 vintage of the Chateau Margaux, hailed as one of the finest vintages from the last century. Recognized for its quality since the 18th century and world renowned for its seductive silkiness, subtlety and finesse, Château Margaux represents the pinnacle of winemaking achievement.
To complement the outstanding wines, Chef Lau has prepared a special menu that reflects Jean-Georges’ signature ‘vibrant cuisine’ with its intense flavours and textures that speak to his philosophy of ‘global in reach, local in content.’
British Columbia Seafood Canapé Reception
PAVILLON BLANC 2011
Foie Gras Terrine, Rhubarb, Rose Water Gellee, Pistachio crumble
PAVILLON ROUGE 2004
Chilled Octopus, Artichokes, Celery, Barigoule Dressing
CHATEAU MARGAUX 2004 & 2003
Crispy Port Hock Terrine, Confit Egg yolk, Truffle Sweetbread Sausage, Coffee Gastrique
CHATEAU MARGAUX 1990 & 1996
Roasted Squab, Mushroom Cavatelli, Buckwheat crackers, Brown Butter Emulsion
CHATEAU MARGAUX 1983 & 1985 & 1989
Beef Tenderloin, Oxtail Croquette, Cauliflower, Sauce Bordelaise
Crispy Chocolate Ganache Tart, Toffee Sorbet
The dinner will start at 7:30 pm on April 29, 2014. Tickets are available for $1900 per person. Space is limited and those interested should call immediately to avoid missing out on this rare opportunity. Read more
by Treve Ring | Black Sage Bench Pinotage. Who knew? This is no wild and savage beast (in the South African wildebeest vein), but rather a lush, ripe dark plum, wild raspberry, and black cherry example with massive structure, tobacco leaf vegetation, cedar earthiness and powdery-shaded tannins. Alluring baking spice and exotic flowered aromas add intrigue.
Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage 2010 | Oliver, Okanagan Valley | $25
April Fools is coming up. Here’s how you own it, wine geek style: Pour this blind for someone, and then tell them to guess what it is. Kapow! Right? Ok – so perhaps not everyone has the same sense of humour as I do, but you don’t need a corkscrew license to realize that pinotage is not as common here as, say, merlot.
South Africa’s flagship red grape is a long way from home in Stoneboat’s Oliver vineyards. The grape was originally propagated by Lanny Martiniuk for the original South African owners of nearby Lake Breeze Vineyards. 35 years ago, Lanny and his wife Julie left the bustle of Vancouver to set up shop in the bucolic Okanagan Valley. They settled on a 15 acre orchard on Black Sage Bench, buying it on a handshake in 1979. During the formative years of the BC wine industry, Lanny served as director of the BC Grape Growers Association for a decade and was chair of the Grape Marketing Board. He was also a founding director of the BC Wine Institute and a pioneer in revitalizing the industry after free trade and the grape pullout of 1988. Lanny is well known as a successful grapevine propagator and has grown millions of vines for vineyards all over BC – including the 2 pinotage plants he kept for himself, which have now multiplied into 7 acres worth. 35 years and three wine-industry-working children later (Jay, Tim & Chris), the Martiniuks now practice “thoughtful farming” on nearly 50 acres of vines.
I posed my stack of 5 questions to their winemaker, Alison Moyes…
Straight up – why did you make this wine? Pinotage is an exciting grape to work with. It was an opportunity to work with a varietal rarely seen in the Okanagan and create a wine that is distinctly our own. The possibilities on the nose are endless! Tropical notes often come through, which I love, and find to be rare in red wines in general. Luckily for me, Lanny had the foresight to plant the pinotage in 1998 because of how well it is suited to the site and rocky soils.
Where are the grapes from? All Stoneboat wines are made from estate grown grapes, including the pinotage. The vineyards are located south of Oliver on the lower Black Sage bench. It is a unique site in that it rests on a gravel bar, rather than the sandy soils that surround us in both directions. These growing conditions are made for pinotage with large diurnal shifts from the hot summer days to cool nights.
Your ideal pairing with this wine? I’ve been doing some experimenting with pinotage pairings lately. Traditionally my choice has been rack of lamb with a cocoa rub. However, after trying a few vegetarian options my eyes have been opened to just how versatile this wine can be. Pasta with caramelized onions, kale and gorgonzola was an absolute winner!
What do you drink when you’re not drinking BC wine? Considering how delicious a nice lager tastes at the end of a long day on the crush pad and how many great craft breweries there are in BC, beer is the obvious choice. I’ve been enjoying taste testing to find my favourites. Occasionally a gin & tonic hits the spot, too.
Favourite BC wine, other than yours? Tough to pick just one. There are so many great options to choose from. The Origin blend from Maverick really caught my attention this past year; an interesting combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer. I’m expecting to see great things from them.
The People Who Make It Happen
Jim Wyse, Founder & Proprietor
Chris Wyse, President
Kerri Wyse-McNolty, Marketing Director
Tom DiBello, Winemaker
Brock Bowes, Executive Chef, The Sonora Room Restaurant
Dave Keeler, Operator, The Sonora Room Restaurant
Lynn Coulthard, Manager, The Sonora Room Restaurant
About Burrowing Owl Estate Winery
Located near the north end of Osoyoos Lake in BC’s fabled Okanagan Valley, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery is devoted to crafting world-class wines in an environmentally-sustainable manner. Founder Jim Wyse has always had a strong commitment to striving for balance in all things, and this philosophy infuses everything that’s done at Burrowing Owl, from viticulture to winemaking. In the vineyard, the natural balance is maintained by recruiting bluebirds and bats to help control harmful insects; at the winemaking facilities, state-of-the-art technology is employed along with traditional winemaking methods. Remarkable for its strikingly beautiful setting as well as its environmental leadership, the winery has become a destination for wine lovers around the globe: every year Burrowing Owl welcomes over 100,000 visitors at its Wine Shop, Sonora Room Restaurant, and Guest House. Burrowing Owl’s success has also benefited our feathered friends, as the winery supports conservation work that is helping its namesake, the endangered burrowing owl, make a comeback in British Columbia.
The Sonora Room Restaurant
Burrowing Owl’s Sonora Room restaurant showcases the best of the Okanagan in both food and wine. We serve creative Pacific Northwest cuisine featuring local ingredients and products, including fresh fruit and vegetables and artisanal breads and cheeses. Sonora Room staff are always happy to recommend the perfect pairing from our exclusive wine list, which includes Burrowing Owl library wines no longer available for public sale. Feast your eyes on spectacular views of the Burrowing Owl vineyards as you enjoy lunch or dinner in our warm, inviting dining room or on our patio. The Sonora Room is open daily throughout the season; reservations are recommended.
The Burrowing Owl Guest House
Offering stunning views of the Burrowing Owl vineyards, our Guest House features ten spacious south-facing rooms, each with a fireplace and private deck. Amenities include an outdoor pool, an all-season hot tub, and our Fireside Lounge. We also offer Wine Country breakfasts and in-room spa treatments. Those wishing to combine business with pleasure will find our Board Room and AV presentation facilities ideal for corporate retreats.
by Treve Ring | From the folks who brought us SOMM comes a series of short, evocative vine vignettes, produced in conjunction with The Guild of Sommeliers. Others in the series include Piedmonte and Tuscany, but I was taken by the above profile of Alto Adige, a lesser-appreciated wine region in northeast Italy (a hop-skip from Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia and Liechtenstein). The wines are distinctly Germanic and Austrian in approach due to Alto Adige’s long history under the Austria-Hungarian and Holy Roman Empires, and further evidenced by the predominance of German-speaking Italian winemakers. As the clip illustrates, the dramatic backdrop of the southern Alps and Dolomites makes for alluring, fresh and exotic wines from grapes not often associated with Italy. Think Müller-Thurgau, Schiava, Lagrein, Sylvaner, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. If the short documentary entices just one person to try Lagrein, eine Traube, die ich liebe, it deserves an Oscar.