Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wine Cruisin' and Roses

Cheryl at Camelot Vineyard.

It was time for what is becoming the annual wine cruise with Brian and Cheryl Goldsmith. Cheryl was a McCall onct upon a time and we've known each other forever, since her parents moved to Airdrie when she was a toddler.

The Goldsmiths arrived late last Friday night - their modus operandi for the past 25 years! - safe and sound. It was a cool but pleasant weekend and so first thing Saturday morning (or after a pot of coffee or so) we headed south towards Lake Country and South Kelowna.

Brian was our DD last year so I offered to be this year's driver. That way, Brian could actually see the countryside and partake in the tasting at each stop. It does add up! I wanted to take them to different places than we saw last year, and I'm better at reading maps (usually) than giving directions. ("Left. No, my left. The other left. That way." with emphatic pointing)

First stop was Arrowleaf Cellars. Small place. Acceptable wines. Bought the first 1/2 dozen of this year's bottles to be laid by in the cellar: Pinot Gris 2008, Pinor Noir 2008 and a lovely 'patio sipping' white called Snow Tropics 2007.

On to Gray Monk with its new wine shop and stunning view over the OK valley. Longer stop. More purchases: some white and red each of their signature Latitude 50, 2007 and 2008 respectively, Gamay Noir 2008 and Merlot 2007.

El Nihilo is on the same road as the first two but their wine shop isn't open yet. Their claim to fame so far is an endorsement from none other than Mike Jagger himself for a product they call Rolling Stone.

Stopped at The Jammery for, of all things, waffles. And lots more coffee.

The third stop, after some reference to road maps in Kelowna, was a delightful find. House of Rose will be a future buying destination. It's a very small place, a family vineyard that produces some astounding wine including a sweet red that I fell in love with. (Yes, I did have some very small tastings here.) This red was such a startling taste that for many long minutes, I didn't know what to think of it! It's a heritage wine called duChaunac (2005), so known because House of Rose has probably the only surviving deChaunac vines left in the Okanagan. Also purchased of their Chardonnay (2007 I think).

Our last vineyard of the day was down the mountain and across the creek from House of Rose - Camelot. Their big reds weren't ready yet so I wasn't too interested. I think Brian and Cheryl did buy something here - the car truck is open in the next photo. Seriously, we were loaded down with purchases!

"Hmm, let's see if we can stuff in a few more bottles....."

Mugging it up at Camelot - Cheryl and Brian Goldsmith

Not surprisingly, we had a quiet evening with soup and toast, tea and no wine.

Sunday was a slower day, and a more overcast one. This time I took them up the Salmon River road and to Carlin Crossing Water Gardens. There was a misstep (I usually find it from the west, not the east, and so missed the turn) but it was eventually found.

Of course, it's the off season and so the store was closed. I suppose technically the grounds were too, but we trespassed with gentle intentions. The Goldsmiths have a waterfall and pond in their backyard but it apparently requires some work. Carlin Crossing has almost a dozen waterfalls installed on their grounds, large ponds and streams. It's a lovely, inspiring place. Despite the temperature, most were still flowing.

We'd thought to stop in Salmon Arm but the day rapidly deteriorated. During a stop for late lunch-early supper in Armstrong, heavy rain moved into the valley. By morning, there was snow in the 800+m areas and slush in Falkland.

My friends were on their way back east Monday morning, following me out the driveway. It was lovely to have them with me for the weekend. It's been a quiet month while Bryan's away. It takes visitors to remind me how lonesome it gets sometimes.

Bryan's planning on being home mid-week next week. For how long, who knows.

It's Hallowe'en on Saturday night! and the girls are goin' howlin'! Sister Phyllis has declared we are going to the Falkland Pub party as pirates. Swash, swash, buckle, buckle. It's as good an idea as any. I've mostly got my costume assembled, as staff are expected to be in costume at work tomorrow.

Been assembling dishes for tomorrow's potluck lunch as well. There's a great little Italian grocery store just west of the office and so, ta-da! squid-ink linguini and multi-coloured orrechetti ("little ears") for Witch's Pasta (with home-made marinara sauce) and Ear Salad. The orrechetti is black (squid ink), pink (beet), green (spinach), yellow (tumeric) and grey (cuttlefish).

There was a layer of snow on the ground this morning. It hasn't stayed and temperatures are to be warmer again on the weekend. Winter is in the air, though.

David Austin 'Jubilee Celebration'

I got my new roses planted. Oh, did I forget to mention them? There was a 50% off sale on David Austin roses at Swan Lake Nursery so I bought a few: two Jubilee Celebration, one each Benjamin Britten, Claire Austin, Alan Titchmarsh, Tea Clipper, Lichfield Angel and Wildeve. They're all modern versions of Old English roses, which means they're mostly very fragrant. The heavy, steady rain we had all the previous week made digging very easy. I had plenty o' compost to mix in (can you believe, after 15 years of raising sheep I'm now reduced to paying for sheep shit!) and the plants are already dormant, so they should do well. I have two compressed bales of shavings to mulch everything this weekend.

I'm already looking forward to spring!

David Austin 'Tea Clipper'

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