The Wine Maker’s Dinner is a special event that happens throughout the year – we were invited to the last one of the summer, but there are several coming up in the winter.
Our Winemaker’s dinner was with the Okanagan Vineyard Collective, hosted by Troy Osbourne, Director of Viticulture for Constellation Brands and we were fed by Whistler Blackcomb Catering Sous Chef Joel Kaastra.
This 6 course meal is paired beautifully with local wines, so let’s get into it.
As we walked into the dining area, we were given a glass of the Stellar’s Jay Brut, along with a beautifully crated beet cured salmon gravalax, citrus creama, micro cilantro on brioche. I love the Stellar’s Jay Brut, it’s a nice light bubbly to kick off the evening. The amuse bouche was sculpted beautifully and the flavours had a nice clean taste to it.
Our first course was the grilled shrimp and Okanagan peach, cucumber salad, spicy avocadoo puree and baby basil. This was paired with the See Ya Later Ranch Gewürztraminer, another favourite of mine. Not only was this plated beautifully, the flavours complimented one another – which is a common theme throughout the evening. I was very impressed with the way they did, the peach providing a nice subtle sweet note and the spicy avocado puree lighting your tastebuds up. The cucumber provided a nice clean finish to it, while the shrimp – which was quite tender still provided the vessel for all these ingredients to come together.
Our next course is the Two Rivers duck wings served with a merlot BBQ sauce. This dish was paired with the NK’Mip Cellars Qwam Qwam Merlot. Chef Kaastra reduced this same merlot to create his BBQ sauce. Again, very balanced – the sauce had a nice sweet but salty taste to it, but not overly done to hide the taste of the delicious duck.
Our main course is the grilled angus beef tenderloin, asparagus, squash, oyster mushrooms, tarragon honey butter and Meritage syrup. This is served with the Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Grand Reserve Red Meritage. The tenderloin was a nice size, it was great to let the tarragon honey butter just melt into the meat. The Meritage was reduced into a gel which gave the dish a nice healthy bite to it without overpowering the flavours.
Up next was our cheese plate. This had Farmhouse cheddar, smoked Gouda & Beddis blue cheese and was served on Purebread cranberry and ginger crostini, Okanagan pear and apple compote. This was served with the Black Sage Vineyards Shiraz. I appreciated the cheese, compote and crostini, there was a nice healthy portion of all the cheese. I would have loved to see a softer cheese served with this. But all around, a great selection of cheese.
Finally, we ended the evening with the White chocolate and marscapone cheesecake, drizzled in maple syrup and toasted walnuts. This dessert was served with the very popular Inniskillin Okanagan Riseling Ice Wine. This cheesecake was fantastic, so great that I wished I could’ve had more than just the slice! I can see why this portion size was given though, its quite creamy but has a light texture it (thanks to the marscapone – most notably used in tiramisu). While the cheesecake could’ve been eaten on it’s own, the maple and the toasted walnuts worked in perfect harmony to bring a bit of sweetness and spice to the dish.
Overall, I really enjoyed this Winemaker’s Dinner, I’d definitely come back to check out more of these events , especially if Chef Kaastra is at the helm. I would say it’s one of the more affordable winemaker dinners ($100) and you can’t complain about the view and location – being atop Whistler mountain made it just that much better.
There are some dates coming up for the Winemaker’s Dinner for the Fall/Winter of 2016, I will share them when they’re available here!
Disclosure: Please note that I was invited by Tourism Whistler Blackcomb to attend this dinner and my meal was paid for. However, as always, all opinions are my own.