DEVOUR & CONQUER

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Wine pairing lunch at Mission Hill's Terrace Restaurant

March 23, 2013

Okanagan Wine Sub-Region: Kelowna / Lake Region, known for Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling & Chardonnay

In preparation for this summer's Wine Bloggers Conference  in British Columbia's Penticton Wine County in June, I'll be revisiting some of my favourite Okangan wine and food pairing experiences over the next few months on Devour & Conquer. First to the table - Mission Hill Family Estate Winery and their Terrace restaurant, which celebrates 'cuisine du terroir', showcasing local and seasonal in all their dishes.

Mission Hill has instant name recognition as one of Canada's most popular wines and continues to be a leader in Okanagan wine production. A visit to their winery is a wonderful look at how they go from grape to bottle, then taking it to the next step, with wine and cuisine pairings from one of the best winery restaurants in the world.

 

Mission Hill’s underground cellar has been blasted out of the volcanic rock of the dormant Mount Boucherie volcano. Most of the actual wine making ‘action’ is behind the scenes, but the cellar makes for a great photo op. and includes an interesting collection of ancient and antique drinking vessels from around the world set into shelves in the volcanic rock beside the barrels.

But enough about barrels and on to a pairing lunch on the terrace!

Mission Hill’s Terrace Restaurant was named one of the Top Five Winery Restaurants in the World by Travel & Leisure Magazine, who called it one of the most glorious dining experiences around. I would have to agree, the tiny yet award-winning kitchen created a wine pairing lunch for us that achieved the careful balance of equally showcasing both Mission Hill’s wines and exceptional British Columbia cuisine.

 

The first course of seared diver sea scallops with compressed cucumber and apricot sorbet was paired with Mission Hill’s Martin’s Lane Riesling to bring out the fresh apricot notes in the wine. My scallops got a little beaten up in the pan, but the flavour was incredible and I loved the contrast of the cold apricot sorbet against the warm scallop.

Second course paired a 2009 Reserve Pinot Noir with a confit of Fraser Valley duck, a warm potato salad and first of the season ripe Okanagan cherries (local, local, local!). The fruit and oak notes in the Pinot cut through the velvety richness of the duck, and the sweetness of the fresh cherries brought out similar notes in the wine.

Our Terrace lunch ended with Mission Hill’s 2008 Reserve Riesling Icewine paired with a French lemon tart, fresh strawberry sorbet and drops of Mission Hill Verjus (liquid derived from unripened grapes, from the French for “green juice”). The sweetness of the icewine worked well with the citrus zing of the lemon curd, enhanced by the sour-sweet green verjus dotted along the plate.

I would go back to Mission Hill’s Terrace Restaurant in a heartbeat, in fact I can’t wait for my next visit. This is the kind of Canadian dining that is worth traveling for – dishes created by a chef that understands how to celebrate the wines of Mission Hill as well as the incredible cuisine that can be created with local BC food.

 

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