Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

DAY FIVE: August 6th---Waterland Resort,Sumac Ridge,"Loca"l Restaurant.

Summerland Water Resort

Just ten minutes from Penticton and along a quiet stretch of Lake Okanagan was the Summerland Water Resort. The place was relatively new and the rooms delightfully equipped. Most had a view of the lake and had not only a full kitchen complete with cups, saucers, eating material, fridge/stove but also a living room, dining area and a very comfortable bed room. There was an HD television in the living area plus another one high overhead in the bedroom so as one could watch whiled lying down on a great bed. The quality of room was very high and the weather certainly made it even more so.
Penticton is truly an equally great place with many activities available from tubing (discussed earlier), to hiking, to water sports, cruises, cliff climbing and winery visiting. The close proximity of the many recreation centres and beaches made it very easy to take part in what seemed to be a fairy tale existence.
I felt that this was truly going to be a heck of a lot of fun and I wasn't wrong. Greg and I set off to Sumac Ridge for a day of filming and tasting great wines.
Sumac Ridge Estate Winery
Sumac Ridge is located about twenty minutes North of Penticton (and Summerland Waterfront Resort) off HWY 97 and within the cute town of Summerland. It is yet another winery founded by Harry McWatters. In fact, his daughter, Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond, is associated with the winery which is owned by her employer, Vincor Canada. Mr. McWatters founded the winery in 1979 thus making Sumac Ridge the oldest estate winery in British Colombia.
Chef Roger Planiden
Great Estates Of Okanagan Executive Chef, Roger Planiden and Sumac Ridge Sous Chef, Mark Fuller get together to produce some innovative meals at Sumac Ridge's Cellar Door Bistro.
One of the first things that Greg and I did that morning was to go down and visit with Roger so as to film him making one of his artistic creations.
While Greg and Roger were in the kitchen doing their stuff, I was attracted to a fellow doing something to new barrels. He was pumping a liquid into them I believe that the material was liquid sulphurmixed with citric acid in a ten litre solution per barrel which kills all bacteria and harmful products that could damage the wine being put inside the barrels. He also said that there was a gas that could be used but considered it dangerous. The solution is left in the barrels until they are ready to be filled with wine and then the barrels are rinsed to clear out any of the liquid.
Roger had prepared a salad a la Sumac Ridge which we had with Black Sage Sauvignon/Semillion and a Reserve Sauvignon Blanc. Assistant Winemaker Jason James then took us to the Sumac Ridge tasting room and we tasted a SR Gewurztraminer, Black Sage Chardonnay and a Black Sage Merlot. We then went down to the Sumac Ridge Cellar to taste "Bubbly".
We tasted three types of sparkling, the premium Pinacle, the great Steller's Jay Brut and Tribute, which was aimed as a Non Vintage Sparkler done in the classical method and made especially for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Lunch was truly an interesting one. Christa-Lee McWatters-Bond came to meet us, as did Del Rollo (Nation Hospitality Manager) and Jason James. We had a great meal! I had the Soup and Salmon. Greg had a Seafood Pasta and Del/Jason/Christa-Lee had Chicken/Goat Cheese.
Jason ordered a nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and lunch was a success.
We made arrangements to visit Christa-Lee and her husband's new restaurant which conveniently happened to be withing ten to twenty feet from our hotel.
The restaurant had a policy of just using local flavours for the dining lounge. The place was thus aptly named "Local"! The restaurant shows excellent choice of location between Summerland Water Hotel. The back view borders on Lake Okanagan which appeared larger than life. From the upper balcony of the restaurant the view is truly terrific and on a clear day---on could see forever.
Dinner, Sumac Ridge
Dinner came quickly.! We drove to Sumac Ridge and went to the Bistro. This time is was just Greg and me. We did notice "Sally Sharpe pitching in" since they were under staffed that night. To see a hospitality manager chip in when times are in need really says something about the calibre of staff that are at Sumac Ridge. Can't say enough good things about that Sally!!!
We did a bit of filming and had a nice dinner then we took our tired little bodies back to the Waterfront Resort and then to bed!
Wines Tasted
Sumac Ridge Reserve Wines:
Gewurztraminer: Floral nose with citrus notes of Mandarin orange, lychee and citrus orange with some garden spice. Crisp finish.
Sauvignon Blanc: Some herbal with citrus on nose. Herbal grass. citrus and honey berry flavour on palate.
Sumac Ridge Black Sage Vineyard Wines
Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion (Meritage): Light vanilla, honey melon/citrus on the nose with vanilla spice, creamy melon and citrus lemon on palate. Nice finish.
Chardonnay: Vanilla spice, citrus, pear on nose with citrus. apple and butter/mango on palate. Creamy butter finish.
Merlot: Ripe blackberry/black currant, raspberry nose with plum, black fruit and anise on palate. Full in body and long lingering finish.
Sparkling Wines
Pinacle: Light red fruit nose gives way to pear/peach flavours on the palate. Zesty bubbles.
Steller's Jay Brut: A nice sparkler. Light red berry flavours with toast on the nose. Citrus, strawberry and creamy mousse dominate. Great refreshing finish.
Tribute: A non-vintage sparkler with bread/yeast and citrus on nose with citrus/apple and nice refreshing acid finish.