“Breath deeper,” my hiking companion urges me as we begin the steep incline of the Summit Trail of Spion Kop in Lake Country.
I gulp air into my lungs and press on. A few minutes later, I am rewarded with the scenic view of Okanagan Lake and the acres of vineyards stretching out below our mountaintop viewpoint.
Sipping at the wineries of Lake’s Country Scenic Sip Wine Trail is our ultimate destination for the day’s outing. Still, we’ve chosen to start with a vigorous hike to ensure we have room for the locally-inspired food pairings during the TLC (Taste of Lake Country) spring event.
A trio of seafood small bites paired perfectly with the wines of Lake Country.
The star of TLC was the 2022 Pinot Noir Rosé, bright and acidic and full of strawberry notes. Peak Cellars present us with a chilled glass of pink Rosé, a perfect colour (and flavour) match to a scrumptious moist cedar plank BC Kuterra Salmon, topped with a duo of pinky-purple beet hummus and caponata.
The classic pairing of salmon and rosé continued at 50th Parallel Estate Winery. Their savoury Japanese pancake dish, Okonomiyaki, was topped with salmon cured in fermented beets, citrus pearls, and smoked crème fraiche.
The next trio of wineries (Gray Monk, Ex Nihilo and Arrowleaf Cellars) all boost majestic views and fine wines. The elegant lines of Arrowleaf Cellar’s tasting room frame the exceptional view from the top of the hill. Chef Ross Derrick from the Broken Anchor seafood restaurant in Kelowna was on site to prepare his seared tuna with horseradish sour cream and Granny Smith apple. The pairing is the lightly oaked 2021 Chardonnay.
Our next chef encounter is with Chef Danny Tipper at ExNihlo, who pulls popping hot artisan flatbreads from the restaurant’s forno oven. Topped with smoked bacon, Kennebec potato, red onion and baby spinach, the savouring mouthful paired well with the elegant 2021 Riesling. Since 2020, the ExNihilo portfolio has been in the most capable hands of winemaker Jim Faulkner.
At Gray Monk, we headed out to sip 2022 Pinot Blanc on the private outdoor patio, admire the panoramic lake views and have a small bite of grilled prawns resting on green curry mayo atop a ciabatta crostini.
Our sweet ending includes our only red of the day, a Merlot from Blind Tiger Vineyards presented with a blackberry tart topped with Callebaut’s finest dark chocolate.
Just minutes from Kelowna, Lake Country is must for any wine enthusiast. Take the day to enjoy this scenic countryside and book ahead for supper to have your own “taste of Lake Country” at one of the winery restaurants. Maps of the Scenic Sip Wine trail can be found at scenicsip.ca
Photos by Yvonne Turgeon
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