Similkameen Valley Part 2

 Welcome back to Part 2 of our adventures through the Similkameen Valley! When we last left off, Chris and I had just finished visiting Orofino Vineyards. We were debating whether or not we wanted to grab lunch first, or see if we could squeeze into the next winery earlier than our reservation time. Eventually, the winery won out! 

Winery #3: Robin Ridge

Full confession, I had a major fail with Robin Ridge in that I forgot to take any pictures. I do however have a picture of the wine I purchased so I will add that in here! Robin Ridge is a family-owned winery that has been fully organic since 2018. The owners purchased the property back in 1997 and started growing grapes right away! Robin Ridge has a wide variety of wines they produce, from Rose to Pinot Noir to their signature wine, Gamay. Now onto the wine!

1. 2019 Flicker Rose

This was a very nice, off-dry and fruity Rose made from Merlot! It was a really nice pale orange colour and had delicious flavours. It's a very summery wine with lots of nice strawberry and raspberry, and a lot of that nice minerality in it. A very crisp and fresh wine, this is one I would definitely say to pair with a patio! 

2. 2019 Chardonnay

Here I am once again enjoying a Chardonnay! Have I just been lying to myself this whole time about disliking Chardonnay? It certainly seems that way. This was a nice Chardonnay that was fermented in 1-year-old French barrels, giving the wine that nice and smooth mouthfeel. It was very floral on the nose, some citrusy notes of lemon and even some nice stone fruit with only a subtle hint of those buttery notes. This is one of those wines that would pair perfectly with either a fish or chicken dish that involves a nice lemon butter sauce. 

3. 2019 Flamingo Rose

Ok so this is such a cool wine!! When we first tried it, our taster Bridgette told us to guess what grapes were in this Rose and of course Chris and I are trying to be so smart, guessing grapes that aren't normally used in a Rose like Malbec or Syrah (I know, we're dumb) and then she told us! This Rose is made from coronation table grapes!! I have literally never had anything like this, but it was so tasty! I'm not even kidding when I say this wine smelled and tasted exactly like Swedish Berries. That being said, it was still a very nice off-dry style that had a nice finish to it. I'm literally obsessed with this wine just because of the grapes it's made from, I think it's so cool and unique.

4. 2019 Pinot Noir

You know me by now, I always love a Pinot Noir and this was no exception. This had so much gorgeous red strawberries and raspberries in it with some red cherry as well but it also had some really nice spicy notes of clove in there. This wine just had such a nice mouthfeel, very light but with a nice finish. This is one of those Pinots that would pair so well with food, and nothing too fancy either! You could have this with a nice brick oven Neopolitan-style pizza and it would be enough!

5. 2017 Collage

Our final wine was a delicious Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec. For all you Christmas Vacation fans out there (looking at you daddy) I literally called this "the wine that keeps on giving!" It's one of those gorgeous wines that changes each time you take a sip, letting you find different qualities about it each time. There are strong notes of blackberry and black currant in there, as well as those nice oaky notes of vanilla and leather. With huge, bold flavours and well-rounded tannins, this was a treat to be able to try.

Have to give a shout-out to Bridgette in the tasting bar, she was great! Very welcoming and knew a lot about the wine and was great to talk to about each of the wines! Again, I apologize for not taking any pictures, I feel like a massive failure, but at least I got to show you the Flamingo Rose! The next portion of this post is for my foodies (looking at you Cassie).

Lunch at Row Fourteen

This was the surprise highlight of the day! Back at Hugging Tree, Brad had given us two suggestions of places we could go for lunch; Row Fourteen or the restaurant at Crowsnest Winery. We had actually intended on going to Crowsnest but they were just about to close their lunch service and only had charcuterie boards available! Chris and I were pretty hungry by this time so we switched our plans and set course for Row Fourteen! This is a restaurant by Klippers, an organic acreage that supplies fresh produce and also includes a Cidery and the subject of this little bit, Row Fourteen. 

We sat down and took a look at the menu and we already knew it would be hard to pick what to eat because there were so many good options! Our server came over and we had no idea what to get so we asked her opinion! She pointed out a couple of different items, but then mentioned the Lunch Harvest! The Lunch Harvest was an option that required full table participation and for 35$ per person, the chef would cook a 6-course meal of his choice for us! Obviously we had to go with that option and WOW were we ever glad we did!

The meal started out with a cup of bone broth with sesame seeds and various spices and it was perfect because of it was a little chilly out at this point, so I was very happy to put my hands on a warm cup of soup! Accompanying the soup was a single radish that had been wrapped in chicken skin and cooked up to perfection. When I say I would never have ordered something like this on my own...I would NEVER have ordered something like this on my own but wow it was so good and I'm glad I got to try it!

 Following was the Whole Wheat Farmer's Bread, which tasted like it had just come fresh out of the oven (let's be honest, it probably had) and came with a smoked butter with sea salt and some onion jam, which Chris is now obsessed with and is determined to make his own. 

Next up was False Wild Lilly's with housemade hummus and Bison XO. Once again, something I would never have ordered! I never even knew you could eat wild lily, but clearly I know nothing! The Bison XO was to die for, even if it was a little spicy! I made myself get through it because the flavours were phenomenal.

The next course was probably my least favourite, but that's because I absolutely hate beets. I just can't, every time I try a beet I hate it. So Chris definitely ate most of this one! It was beets was crema, salsa macha and oregano. The flavours were great, I just can't get past the beets! But I can say that Chris loved it so clearly it was another great dish!

Finishing off our lunch were two housemade pork sausages some broccolini and crispy apple chips. These sausages were SO good, nice and juicy and just bursting with flavour! A very nice way to end a spectacular meal.

I'll be honest, I usually don't enjoy meals that are almost solely plant-based, but I thoroughly enjoyed this and would eat all of it again (except maybe the beets). I would recommend anyone who visits the Similkameen Valley to stop by Row Fourteen for an exceptional lunch experience! I've also heard their dinner is great so might have to revisit for dinner one of these days...

Winery #4: Corcelettes Estate Winery

This winery was a very much last-minute visit! Each of the previous wineries had recommended we go to Corcelettes, if only for the view from their tasting room, so as we were eating lunch we decided to see if they had any later reservations and they did! And let me tell you, the view was absolutely worth it. Corcelettes' first vintage was only in 2011 and they've been growing ever since!

1. Gewurztraminer

I feel like Gewurztraminer is a very under-appreciated grape. A lot of people aren't familiar with it so they don't want to try it, but I happen to be a big fan of it! The wines end up having the perfect balance of sweet and spiciness! Now I don't mean heat spice of course, I mean more of the baking spices. This Gewurztraminer was hand harvest and was more of a dry style. It had those yummy tropical notes of pineapple and lychee and had some of the baking spice. Was nice and light and would be perfect slightly chilled on a summer day!

2. Oracle Rose

This Rose was so pale that I actually thought we were being served a white blend! Then I saw that it was a blend of Pinot Noir and Syrah and quickly realized that I'm just dumb. The juice has almost no time on the skin so that's why it was such a pale colour. This was very fresh on the nose with nice floral notes and some grapefruit. On the palate it was very delicate and again had those beautiful floral notes with some grapefruit and watermelon.

3. Pinot Noir

Hi it's me, your friendly neighborhood Pinot Noir lover. Once again, this was such a nice Pinot Noir. They made it in more of a New World style and was produced ready to drink now! They oaked it for 4-5 months in French oak to give it that nice well rounded mouthfeel. It had beautiful red fruit, red cherry with notes of baking spices and even some smoked meat in there! It had a super interesting flavour profile and I really enjoyed it!

4. Reserve Pinot Noir

This was definitely a favourite here. They did this one in a Burgundy style and it is made to age for a while! This one was also oaked in French oak but for 16 months this time, allowing for the wine to develop gorgeous subtle notes and a beautiful mouthfeel. It still had those nice red fruits but started going into more of the black fruits, with ripe black cherry and had some nice earthy tones to it as well.

5. Syrah

This was a favourite of both me and Chris! It was hand harvested and hand-sorted, so they took very good care of the grapes and then aged the wine in French oak for 16 months. It had these really nice notes of plum and vanilla, with some slight white pepper. I think this is my favourite Okanagan Syrah I've tried so far!

6. 2018 Merlot

This is another wine that was hand harvest and was aged in French and American oak for 18 months. There were nice black fruits in there, blackberry and blueberry and had some nice savoury notes as well. This wine had a good acidity and well-structured tannins, feeling very smooth in the mouth and not too drying.

7. TALUS Meritage

I love when we get to try a flagship wine! This was a nice blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The grapes were hand-harvested, and aged in French oak, vats and barrels for 18 months. The wine was full of gorgeous notes of stewed cherries and plums, rich fig and some of that smokiness and vanilla you get from oak. This had a nice structure with firm tannins and would age very well.

That's all for the Similkameen Valley! I am so glad Chris and I came here because these are wineries I never would've thought twice about trying otherwise! If you ever come to Kelowna, I highly recommend visiting this area. I can guarantee you won't regret it! If I have time to do any revisits at the end of my time here, I would definitely revisit the Similkameen Valley!

Whine of the week: I wish more people would visit the Similkameen Valley and support their beautiful wine and wineries.

As always, if you have any questions or comments about anything I've mentioned feel free to drop a comment below! Next up is a day of revisits!


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