Sunday, June 26, 2011

Silk Scarf winery (portfolio tasting), Summerland, Okanagan Valley DVA

   It's become a yearly pilgrimage for me; to visit the Silk Scarf winery in Summerland ( and talk wine for a couple of hours with Roie, the owner and winemaker.

   Roie is a patient man, to be certain... he took the time to talk about his wines with me before I started school, then just after my Sommelier level 1 course, and then again after my Sommelier Level 2... each time taking the time it needed to answer my ever-developing questions and comments. I don't know that I've always had the patience with my customers at the Fox's Reach Liquor Store (where I have been Product Consultant for the past few months).

   This Spring Roie and I sat again, with a multitude of wines, and sipped - and chatted - and sipped some more. I used to think that Roie's wines were world-class, but that was before I went to school for a year and a half... now I know they are.

2010 Ensemble Blanc
$22   **** EXCELLENT VALUE ****

varietals:   Alsatian blending of Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Muscat (less then 1%)
  • nose:   clean; fully intense developing bouquet of Bing cherries, honeyed red raspberries, rich summer florals and exotic fruit (some pineapple, guava and papaya)
  • palate:   clean; moderate+ (cranberry/raspberry) acids, moderate+ developing flavors that mimick the nose. Superb balance, excellent structure and medium+ length
  • conclusion:   very well made wine that drinks well now to 2015. Will not develop further in bottle
  • PAIRINGS:   although the exotic floral notes in this wine would play well off of a variety of seafood dishes (paella certainly) - I immediately wanted to play off the dominant cherry notes (and there are layers of cherries in this wine) by serving it with duck; a simple roast duck with savory herbs and potato galette was my initial instinct

2010 Viognier
$22   **** EXCELLENT VALUE ****
gold medal: 2010 All Canadian Wine Championship
  • nose:   clean; fully intense developing bouquet of summer meadow flowers and layer upon layer of ripe stonefruit (apricot, peaches, nectarines, plums)
  • palate:   clean; moderate+ intense (apricot) acids, moderate+ to fully intense developing flavors that mimick the nose with pronounced long cherry notes. Excellent balance and structure, and long, long length on the palate
  • conclusion:   drinks superbly now to 2015. Will not develop further in bottle
  • PAIRINGS:   rich exotic flavors and slight sweetness pair perfectly with traditional Thai and Vietnamese food... especially coconut and Thai basil braised chicken over red curry rice

2010 Riesling Muscat
12.5% ABV
$22   *** Very Good Value ***

varietals:   96% Riesling, 4% Muscat
  • nose:   clean; moderate intensity and youthful aromas of early stonefruit, light minerality, young orchardfruit and cherry blossoms
  • palate:   clean; moderate+ (sour cherry) acids, moderately intense and youthful flavors that mimick the nose. Very good balance and structure, medium length
  • conclusion:  very good wine that drinks well 2012-2018 (and beyond). Will improve with aging until 2015 (and longer)
  • PAIRINGS:   crisp and slightly tart, this wine is a natural for schnitzel, whether it be pork, veal or even chicken... I would prefer a pork schnitzel (for the fat) and finish it with a non-traditional Indian curry sauce

2010 Chardonnay
12% ABV
$22    **** EXCELLENT VALUE ****
only 800 cases produced

maturation:   100% steeltank.
  • nose:   clean; moderate+ intense and youthful aromas of classic (refined) Californian style Chardonnay with it's grilled pineapple, caramels and exotic fruit layering (mango, papaya, lychee)
  • palate:   clean; moderate (crisp and lively apricot marmalade) acids, moderately intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose. Excellent balance and structure, medium+ length
  • conclusion:   drinks well now to 2016(+). May develop slightly over the next couple of years
  • PAIRINGS:   all of these flavors take me back to an Irish chef I used to know who made the best butter braised rabbit on fresh farfalle pasta with wild thyme... the buttery rabbit is going to balance the lively acids and the wild thyme contrasts against the exotic fruit

2010 Saignee (rose)
$22    ***** BUY THIS NOW *****

varietals:   65% Syrah, 35% Merlot
  • nose:   clean; light+ to medium intensity youthful aromas of rose petals, cherry blossoms with a distinct mineral backbone
  • palate:   moderate+ (crisp, lively cranberry) acids, moderate+ intense youthful yet incredibly well integrated flavors mimicking the nose with nuances of orange zest and tangerine. Excellent balance and structure with long length
  • conclusion:   drink now. drink often. drinks well now -2015, but will most likely not develop much further in bottle
  • PAIRINGS:   Roie from Silk Scarf enjoys this with smoked salmon, and as he has had it many more times then I have, how can I argue? As for myself, I agree that this pairs well with fattier seafood; I was thinking more along the lines of grilled BC dungeoness crab... this wine will love flavors that come from the grill

2008 Ensemble Red 
12.5% ABV
$38   *** Very Good Value ***

varietals:   Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc
maturation:   18 months in 60% French and 40% American oak (first generation)
  • nose:   clean; fully intense and developing aromas of bold spicy Cab Franc to open followed by rich red berries (raspberry, strawberry), old leather, some dried berries (blueberry) and a slightly herbaceous finish
  • palate:   clean; fully intense (sour cherry) acids, fully intense (grippy) tannins, moderate+ to fully intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose. Very good balance and structure with medium+ length
  • conclusion:   very good wine that's a bit too young to drink well... drinks well 2013-2020++. Will continue to develop in bottle until 2015
  • PAIRINGS:   a natural for baron of roast beef with rosemary and sage au jus and garlic-chevre mashed potato

2008 Shiraz
13.5% ABV
$38   *** Very Good to EXCELLENT Value ****

fermentation:    on 3% Viognier skins (Cote Rotie style)
  • nose:   clean; moderately intense developing aromas of light cocoa and coffee, dark berries (blackberry and saskatoon), finish of dark florals (iris, black roses)
  • palate:   clean; fully intense (sour cherry-cranberry) acids, full- (chewy, silty) tannins, moderate+ intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose. Very good balance, excellent structure and long length
  • conclusion:   still quite young for this wine... drinks well 2013-2020. Will continue to develop in the bottle at least until 2015
  • PAIRINGS:   a natural pairing for venison... save this for the Fall and a braised venison shank with red-wine demi-glace and potato croquette with a rosemary-walnut crust

2008 Cabernet Franc
13.5% ABV
$33    ***** BUY THIS NOW *****
  • nose:   clean; moderate+ intense and developing bouquet of red and black berries, rich earthy-mineral terroir, old worn leather
  • palate:   clean; moderately intense (sour cherry) acids, moderate+ (chewy) tannins, moderate+ intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose. Excellent balance and structure with long, long length
  • conclusion:   already drinking well, this wine will continue to develop in bottle until 2015 and will hold until 2020 (possibly longer)
  • PAIRINGS:   a rich, bold wine that has enough elegance to sit beside a traditional Osso Bucco Milanese complete with the saffron risotto and white truffle shavings

   A really wonderful way to spend part of an afternoon, and Summerland is quite a lovely spot to share some wine at any time of year. Silk Scarf now has food service during the summer months as well; with a menu focused on fresh, local, seasonal components that truly showcase themselves and the wines they are paired with.

   If you still have any doubts as to whether or not you should make the time to stop in and visit Roie or his ever-cheerful wife, just take another look at their website and count the awards they have garnered over the past half-dozen years or recognize some of the restaurants who chose to give Silk Scarf winery a place of honor on their winelists.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

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