Friday, September 3, 2010

Silk Scarf Winery, Summerland, BC

My wife has the patience of Job (a biblical reference for the non-religious audience members)... at the end of last August (2009) we ended up pulling into Silk Scarf Winery in Summerland, BC.

     It wasn't much to look at, a small rancher-style home with a short gravel driveway. There was a sign leading us towards what looked like the patio of the home, but waiting on the other side of the patio glass doors was another world. A tastefully minimalist decorated sitting room with truly artisan wines - and I mean world class. The winemakers wife was pouring small samples for us, and everything we tried that day was well worthy of comment.

      And comment I did! "Oh the Pinot Noir!" I exclaimed!

     "Well why don't you buy a bottle?" Mrs Astudentofwine asked.

     "I couldn't," I said. "I just couldn't."

     You see, we had already bought over a case of wine, and it was only day 3 of our mini-vacation. I had to show restaint. I had to show that I wasn't going to be a slave to my senses... I persevered and stubbornly refused to buy the $22 bottle of Pinot Noir that I was yearning for. It was my wife who paid for that stubborness.

     For almost a year to the day - she listened to me endlessly as I extolled the many virtues of Silk Scarf and their mighty Pinot... "truly one of the great Pinots of BC!"I would say.

     My wife detests Pinot Noir.

     And so this year was more then a vacation for me: it was the fullfillment of a year's anticipation. And it was also a test for myself, in a very real and genuine sense...

     Last summer I was a neophyte; completely unschooled in Wine. This year I had the ISG Level 1 under my belt, tasting notes on over 500 wines; a new outlook... would I taste the Silk Scarf wines the same way?

2009 Viognier
13%, $22 **EXCELLENT VALUE**
  • fully intense bouquet; intense summer floral, ripe stonefruit & orchardfruit. I give this wine th ehighest compliment I can give any Viognier... it tastes and smells like it came from John Albans vineyards in California.
  • full acids, the moderately intense palate does not live up to the nose in intensity, but perfectly mimicks the qualities. Slight dusty finish and layers of the stonefruit; first peach, then honeyed apricot
  • brilliant wine. Brilliant value! This wines smells like a $60 wine and drinks like a $40(+) wine. Any way you look at this, it's great value for you (and me). Serve with terrine, cold smoked chicken sandwiches, smoked duck carpaccio (etc)
2009 Riesling Muscat

  • moderate+ intense nose filled with German style Riesling notes: plastic, petrol - slightly hot alcohol and then the  Muscat at the end with soft exotic floral and fruit

  • moderate+ acids, long dry chalky finish, moderate+ intense palate of cherries in all their gloray, honeyed apricot, Anjou pear finishes

  • Brilliant. I know I'm repeating myself -but wonderful wine. This is my ideal match for a slow roast of pork loin with roast apples & Calvados pan jus.
2009 Rose

  • moderate- intense nose of cherry blossoms, vanilla & orange zest

  • moderate+ (lemony) acids, long long citrus finish with a minor appearance from the cherry notes

  • I thought this would be a lovely pairing with dessert! Try it with a black forst cake and watch how the acids balance out the richness of the cake. Other ideas>? How about with a terrine of foie gras and once again, the acids will balance the decadent richness
2007 Merlot
(13 months french oak)

  • visually rich ruby, showing a slight brickish rim

  • nose is moderate intense; some hot alcohol off the top, followed by red berries fruit (baie rouges) especially red and black currants, slight dusty finish

  • moderate++ acids, moderate++ tannins, moderately intense palate with the flavors matching the nose impeccably

  • I would say to give this wine another year or so in bottle to allow the tannins to soften, allowing the fruit fuller expression. Then I would serve it with a simple beef carpaccio or preferably steak tartare.
2006 Pinot Noir
(not available any longer)

  • moderately intense nose of dusty chalky cherries in all their splendor

  • moderate acids, moderate tannins, moderate body with the palate mimicking the nose impeccably

  • lovely wine to sip on it's own - or serve it with a lightly seasoned roast beef
2007 Pinot Noir
$32 **Very Good Value**

  • brickish rim with moderate ruby centre

  • same nose but with just a hint of pepperiness (milder then a shiraz)

  • moderate++ to full- acids, moderate+ tannins, thinner body then usual - one hopes that another year in bottle may balance it out
2007 Shiraz Reserve
$60 **World Class Wine**
(18 months French oak)

  • here they are using marvellous technique and laying the wine with Viognier skins - dazzling what it does to the dimensions and levels of flavor

  • Fully intense unique bouquet: floral notes from the Viognier and garrigue from the Shiraz - layers upon layers

  • moderate+ acids, full+ acids, fully intense flavors that mimick the nose but include 85% dark chocolate, and dark berries like blackberries and perhaps mild saskatoons

  • If you have the money - BUY THIS WINE. Seriously. I could open this with any of my wine-geek friends and they would all drool.... serve with duck confit and a smoked onion & cherry compote on toasted brioche.
A world class winery in a sleepy town in Summerland, BC. There are very few restaurants carrying these wines right now - but they are all places I know and respect: John Bishop's, Blue Water Cafe, Cin Cin, etc... come and discover for yourself what a few of us lucky people have been hoarding to ourselves!


  1. This is beautifully written, and makes me want to try some of these right now, despite it being 8am. We're locals and used to go to Silk Scarf for their Chardonnay in the first couple of years -- it was something special. Were they out? Or have they stopped making it altogether?

  2. many thanks for the compliment!

    As per the Chard - I have no idea as I've never seen one @ Silk Scarf. Enjoy the Viognier!!