Monday, February 13, 2012

A No Frills Sunday Meal

We hadn't seen Miss Di and She Who Must Be Obeyed for a while. So, I made a quick call to check up and see how they were doing. Lo and behold, we got a dinner invite out of it. They were having our mutual friends, Bittr & Sweet, over and the Lady said that it's not really any extra work to make dinner work for six - provided we'd be happy with a "no frills" Sunday night meal.

Knowing fully well that Lady Di doesn't know the meaning of "no frills" when guests are coming over, Boo and I leaped at the chance. BittrSweet used to be in the Dinner Club with the rest of us some years back and that just increased the chances of a full meal deal.

1057. 2009 La Frenz Viognier (Naramata Bench - Okanagan Valley)

I know that Lady Di has a fondness for both Viognier and La Frenz; so, this was a no brainer. The only thing I was mildly concerned about was whether this vintage had already been added to The List. Luckily for me, it hadn't. I've added the 2007 and 2008 but '09 was still ripe for the adding. It seems that Viognier is becoming more popular as an Okanagan varietal every year, but Jeff Martin and La Frenz were among the first to bottle it. They've got the whole aromatics, full body, fruit and acid down pat and, while their version might not take the "Best White Wine of Show" every year at the prestigious North West Wine Summit (like it did in 2008), you know it's going to be a winning bottle. (BTW, this 2009 only took a Silver at the 2011 Northwest wine Summit.)

Seeing that this was a Sunday night, we weren't exactly wolfing down the wine - despite its pedigree - and, as such, there was even a bit of the Viognier left to try along with the gals' Thai-inspired seafood soup. For me, the richness of the La Frenz actually matched up better with the bruschetta that Lady Di and SWMBO had served up. I doubt I would have noticed that so much, however, had the next bottle not paired even more beautifully with the soup.

1059. 2010 Little Straw - Signature Blend Tapestry (VQA Okanagan Valley)

A blend of Riesling, Auxerrois, Gewürtraminer, Sigerrebe and Schönburger, I was pleasantly surprised with the Tapestry. On the whole, I like a number of the Okanagan white blends of Germanic varietals that seem to becoming more and more prevalent and noteworthy from BC wineries. Like many of the others, this is an easy-drinking, aromatic sipper with a lower level of alcohol (11%) and touch of residual sugar that paired well with the spice in the Thai soup.

I say that I was surprised with the Tapestry, but only because I don't really know much Little Straw Vineyards. Located in West Kelowna, their total production is limited to around 3500 cases annually (850 of the Tapestry). I rarely make it to the Kelowna area and I have to admit that, on the few occasions that I do find myself in the area, I tend to gravitate to the bigger guns like Mission Hill and CedarCreek. I might have to reconsider things a little next time around.

Lady Di might have planned her dinner around a "no frills" concept but she certainly didn't plan on skimping with the plate size. She was fairly quick to acknowledge that the salmon and quinoa main was somewhat on the "monster-size" scale. She just figured that she was plating for big boys. She might have been right; there wasn't much left on any of the plates when we were done.

1060. 2009 Quails' Gate Pinot Noir (VQA Okanagan Valley)

After finishing off the gals' Tapestry, it was rather fitting that we opened the BittrSweet contribution for the evening seeing as how Quails' Gate is pretty much Little Straw's neighbour. Again, Quails' Gate's location in West Kelowna means that Boo and I don't have all that much of their wine in our "collection." Certainly not like we do with the more southern-based wineries. I took a quick look back at the blog entries and, even though this is the fifth Quails' Gate wine to be added to The List, more often than not, we find ourselves drinking their wines because someone else has brought it along.

Pinot Noir is Quails' Gate's flagship varietal (although Boo has a definite fondness for their Old Vines Foch) and we never fail to enjoy it - whether the standard label or Stewart Family Reserve. Tonight's bottle just reminds me that I should turn my mind to their wines a bit more down the road. I think we all loved it with the salmon.

Four hours later, it was time to either say goodnight to our little "no frills" dinner or to just lounge out on the couch and close my eyes. Home and my own bed won out, but you gotta love "no frills" when it comes packaged like tonight.

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