Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bogner's Dinner

Our final stop on the Red Rooster Adopt-A-Row weekend calendar was the Winemaker's Dinner being held at Bogner's, one of Penticton's grand dames for dining.

The Winemaker's Dinner has become a bit of a tradition at these Adopt-A-Row events and they're always bang on.  Tonight's dinner was based on a family-style Italian supper - that is, if your family happened to one of the top restaurants in town.  Mr. D. and I joined up with a pair of couples that we hadn't previously met - and they turned out be great dinner partners, both interesting and fun to be with.  I'm sure all the camaraderie wasn't hurt by the fact that there were another five wines paired with dinner.   It's not as if we hadn't had much opportunity to taste any wine throughout the day - but what's a winemaker's dinner without an abundance of wine?

A particularly enjoyable aspect of the evening is that we had visits to our table by Red Rooster winemaker, Karen Gillis, winery manager, Blair Dufty, and Bogner's Chef, Darin Paterson.  One-on-one opportunities like that are rare in my books and they always take an event to a whole different level - particularly when each one of them is so down-to-earth and approachable.

There was no fear of a shortage of wine at the table.  And it didn't hurt that a couple of my faves - like the Riesling and the Cab/Merlot - were included in the dinner.  I know fully well that our table finished off more than a single bottle of wine.  It was more like a bottle per person, but I'm only adding one to The List at this time.  If truth be told, the reason is that I have the other bottles in a case coming home with me and they'll get added to The List at another time.  I wasn't so lucky as to pick up the following bottle though.  It was sold out at the winery and our little dinner crowd was being treated to the last bottles around - ones that were saved specifically for this dinner.

1272.  2010 Red Rooster Reserve Malbec (VQA Okanagan Valley)

I'm glad that we got to enjoy the Malbec because there were only 191 cases made and I was too slow off the mark to buy any of the 2010 vintage.  The production is so limited because the vines were originally planted simply so that the winery would have some regular access to Malbec fruit for blending into the winery's Meritage blends.  The 2006 vintage proved so tasty that it was bottled as a varietal wine and never saw its way into the Meritage blend.  The winery has made a varietal wine ever since.

Not to be confused with the Malbecs of Mendoza and Argentine fame.  Red Rooster's 2010 Malbec still features plenty of fruit but it's a lighter fruit as opposed to a dark and brooding one.  You're not going to need to worry about tannins taking over your mouth either.  It matched up nicely to the ragu, potato gnocchi and lemon chicken piccata but our table didn't have any problem drinking it all on its own either.  Luckily, one of our new table mates had little shame about finding us an unfinished bottle on one of the other tables as well.  So, it safe to say that we had our share of the fruits of our adoptive parent labours.

This was the first time that I'd learned as much as I had about Chef Darin Paterson.  He came over and chatted with us once the dinner service was completed.  Interesting guy.  His resumé includes stints of working for Saudi Arabia's royal family for four years and feeding Nobel Prize recipients in Sweden while he operated a catering service in Stockholm.

Although Bogner's has been a constant in Penticton for many a year, Darin bought the restaurant in 2006 when he wanted to return to Canada from cooking abroad.  One of his trademarks is taking the sourcing of local foods to a new level.  He actually has a two acre property nearby where he grows tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, squash, potatoes, herbs and more.  More than just paying lip service to the whole local food scene, Bogner's is actually self-sufficient with the provision of vegetables for the better part of the year.

Darin's credentials as a chef are indisputable as well.  In the upcoming weeks, he'll participate in the BC playdowns for the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships - putting up his dishes with some of the biggest culinary names in the province.  When asked, he admitted that he was still working on the dish that he'd be serving up.  I'll look forward to seeing what he ultimately decides and see how he fares in the competition.

As filling as the meal had been, there was no way I was passing on dessert and the Italian Zeppole Doughnuts with chocolate dipping sauce.  I don't think I've ever had a dessert like that before.  I'll be watching for it on menus in the future though.  I suppose that, if leaving the restaurant completely stuffed is a testament to the chef's prowess in the kitchen, Darin should fare nicely at the upcoming Gold Medal Plates competition.   Mr. D. and I left the restaurant as sated as one could hope.

And our waddling departure brought this Adopt-A-Row weekend to an end.  All except for the drive home in the morning.  There was one heckuva storm outside and both Mr. D. and I were fervently hoping that the storm wasn't dumping snow all over the mountain passes.  We knew that we'd find out soon enough.  By then, we'd pretty much determined that the weekend's events were definitely worth the drive and the effort though.

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