Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Thanksgiving Invite - Out of Nothing

Since Boo and I were up at my cousin's wedding over the Thanksgiving weekend, we figured that we'd just drive home from the Okanagan (like most of our family) on the holiday Monday and grab a simple bite to eat - and be thankful. Then, my sis, Vixen, says that she'd planned a turkey dinner anyhow for the kids and she proceeded to invite us to stop in on our way home from Vancouver.

Unexpected turkey dinner. Works for me.

In order to get to her place in time for dinner, we couldn't be overly leisurely in our drive time, but it didn't stop us from making a couple of drop-ins to wineries that we wouldn't normally get to. The Sparkling Hills Resort is located North of Kelowna and we don't generally even make it to Kelowna - let alone to any wineries to the North.

There were two wineries that I wanted to visit in Lake Country - Gray Monk and Ex Nihilo. The former is one of the first estate wineries in the province and was in the forefront of the establishment of what is now a thriving industry. The accompanying shot is of Ex Nihilo however. Where Gray Monk is an old timer by BC standards, Ex Nihilo is a relative newcomer - having only been established in 2008.

"Ex Nihilo" is Latin for "out of nothing" and the winery's initial foray into the BC wine scene seemed to create quite a stir, seemingly out of nothing. It didn't hurt their marketing efforts when they quickly became known for their connection to the Rolling Stones and their $125 sticker price for a 375ml icewine called "Sympathy For The Devil." I've yet to try that one.

As you can easily see in the photo, the winery's tasting room is very stylish and definitely enhances Ex Nihilo's marketing and brand image. Production is still limited and the number of varietals grown is reasonable as well. The winery currently offers two whites and two reds - not counting that famous icewine.

We grabbed a bottle that we thought would go nicely with Vixen's turkey and hurried back onto the highway.

957. 2010 Ex Nihilo Pinot Gris (VQA Okanagan Valley)

2010 wasn't the greatest vintage for BC wineries - at least in terms of the growing season - particularly for the red wines, but a number of the whites still seem to be coming through nicely. At $21, this wine is on the pricier end of the spectrum for Pinot Gris, but the grapes were grown in two locations (the estate vineyard in Lake Country and a more Southerly site), harvested about a month apart (mid-October vs. mid-November), inoculated with two different yeasts during fermentation and saw extended lees contact. The resulting bigger body, fruit and acidity also makes it stand out more than most BC Pinot Gris.

It worked just fine for dinner. However, as thankful as Boo and I were for dinner, we were almost as thankful for the fact that we were able to leave at a decent hour and make it home to collapse from a big weekend.

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