Meditations

Miradoro Preview Tasting


The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things, was a bumper sticker I saw on a recent road trip that hit me square in the obvious gland. As I was kneeling out the pain of this platitude, the realization that my road trips to the Okanagan especially, were among the ‘things’ I treasured most.

Tinhorn Creek Winery - photo courtesy GrilledBabyPanda on Flickr

Providing people with opportunity to make lasting memories is a gift few can actually give. Tinhorn Creek has stepped up destination wine tour memory opportunities in the Oliver region with the highly anticipated opening of their restaurant, Miradoro.

The name is kind of a charming Portuguese pun, mixing Mira, or sight with Ouro or Gold. Miradouro literally means “Viewpoint”, but mix in the gold and it is quite aptly named, as the restaurant will offer stunning vistas of the Golden Mile Bench. Each of the 64 patio seats (there are also exactly 64 indoors as well) are against the railing, so no one gets “the bad seat” — just one of the details that were well thought out in this venture.

One of the bigger details was scooping Chef Jeff van Geest from Vancouver. Jeff’s award winning sustainability sensibility will surely lead this undertaking down the right path (no pressure, Jeff!). As well, Tinhorn has partnered with Le Gavroche owner, a charming Portuguese himself, Manuel Ferreira. Back in the early 80s winemaker Sandra Oldfield had no idea what her relationship with “Manny” would ripen into when she pulled up to Le Gavroche with a trunk full of Tinhorn Merlot in her Mustang. It was a great pairing and Manny has since even helped pick grapes at the burgeoning winery, so we know their old vine relationship will last a long time.

Le Gavroch Resturant

Le Gavroch Restaurant. 1616 Alberni St. Vancouver, BC

It was no surprise then, to hold a preview tasting of Jeff’s new Menu at Le Gavroche.
Upon arrival I was handed a glass of Tinhorn’s 2009 Gewurtztraminer that was poetically paired with a parade of Canapes:

Smoked sablefish and sweet pea croquettes with honey aioli started making their way around to the eager room of food media personalities. I marveled with Debbra Mikaelsen and Philip Solman of Edible Vancouver at the richness of Beef heart carpaccio, pickled winter vegetables on sourdough croutons. We were encouraged to wash it down with a frothy Gazpacho ajo blanco before being seated.

I found myself across the table from Breakfast Television’s Dawn Chubai who appreciated the details of the mint in the marinated beet and walnut with house made ricotta. This came with a taste of Tinhorn Creek’s crispy 2009 Pinot Gris.

Sandra explains to us that Miradoro will not just feature Tinhorn Creek wines, but all wines will be exclusively from the Okanagan region, which is a legal requirement of the license.

Miradoro's Marinated Beet and Walnut with Mint and house made Ricotta

Miradoro's Marinated Beet and Walnut with Mint and house made Ricotta

Certainly one of the better Chardonnay’s from the Golden Mile region is Tinhorn Creek’s 2009 which was poured next to a comforting dish of hand cut egg noodles topped with fresh hen’s yolk and lightly dusted with “Bonito style” Albacore tuna (those flakes you see here sprinkled about), preserved lemon and lots of parsely. I just loved breaking that yolk… watching the golden ooze seep into the crevices of the pasta!

Egg Noodles, Hen Yolk, lemon, Albcore Tune "Bonito style", parsley.

Hand cut egg noodles topped with hen yolk, Albacore tuna, preserved lemon and parsley.

Sandra unleashed the Red finally with Tinhorn 2007 Syrah Oldfield Series. The tradition of serving superior wine after inferior held noticeably true here. Polderside Farms in Yarrow, BC provided the duck breast which Jeff served with leeks, lentils and Jerez Brandy Jonagold poached apple. The entire plate was cohesive and rustic. The duck was very tender and of great quality however mine arrived slightly raw in parts. It was made clear that the actual menu will be more properly seasonal once Jeff gets up and running.

The Syrah turned the conversation at the table to an interesting question: what will the signature grape of the BC Interior become over time? After a light discussion we seemed to settle on a compromising marketing position that perhaps BC wines and winemakers will become known more for their exquisite blending. Feel free to chime in with comments on that one.

Duck Breast with Jerez poached apple, leeks and lentils.

Duck Breast with Jerez poached apple, leeks and lentils.

The afternoon was capped with olive oil hazelnut cake plated on rhubarb smear. It was good flavour and the dry crumbly texture met the coulis anxiously. Again, the pairing was in the Tinhorn Oldfield series. This time the 2009 Kerner icewine. I did enjoy the icewine more than the cake, it was a thick velvet curtain cascade going down. My terrible habit of lapsing with the photos by the time the dessert rolls around, again found me staring at an empty plate before it occurred to me to capture the moment. Oops!

But again, the memory of the meal is what I will cherish. The conversations, the people and the great food. It could have only been better had we been sitting on the outdoor patio of the actual Miradoro Restaraunt, looking out over the valley.

Do I really need another excuse to go to the Okanagan wine country this summer?

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