La Dolce Vita: Creston’s Rotary tasting promises to be fun

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Evohé is a winery based in Spain.

Evohé is a winery based in Spain.

The Creston Valley Rotary Club annual WineArt fundraiser is one of my favourite events of the year. Unfortunately, we planned our trip to Europe long before the date was announced and we will miss it.

And I do mean miss it. For years, WineArt has been on of Creston’s highlights, as it allows opportunities to taste new wines, but also to nosh on delightful snacks and see what local artists have been up to over the winter. It’s the social aspect that holds the greatest appeal, though, as the evening provides a perfect opportunity to move around and chat with friends and acquaintances, all the while knowing that we are supporting the Rotary club’s many good works around our community.

This year, WineArt will be held on March 30, and 11 wineries have signed on to participate to this point. We are lucky that the event’s organizers understand the appeal of mixing wine, food, art and socializing, so they don’t try to pack in as many wineries as possible — more is not necessarily better.

In addition to Creston’s two established wineries, Skimmerhorn and Baillie-Grohman, some old favourites will be pouring samples. Arrowleaf, Silver Sage, House of Rose and Gehringer Brothers are always popular, each offering distinct products. Forbidden Fruit serves as a reminder that wine is not just a grape product. And Hester Creek and Oliver Twist will be there to offer their fine products.

Two new wineries have signed on for the 2012 event and I regret I won’t be on hand to taste samples from Cerelia and Castoro de Oro. Both are small, family-owned wineries, located in the Similkameen Valley and on the Golden Mile, respectively. Additional wineries added to the roster last week are Camelot, Larch Hills and Sonoran.

Tickets to WineArt are available from Creston Valley Rotary Club members and I am helping out by selling them, too. Contact me at publisher@crestonvalleyadvance.ca to arrange for their purchase.

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I was thinking about our upcoming trip to Europe when I dropped into the BC Liquor Store the other day. We will be spending a week in Barcelona, so I directed my attention to the Spanish offerings and selected a bottle of Grenache (Garnacha in Spanish), which I usually associate with fresh fruity flavours. The wine is called Evohé, which, according to the label, is the word Jupiter used to encourage Bacchus when he defended his father’s throne during the Giants’ War. Sounds like a good word to toast with.

Angela took the first sip when I poured glasses just before dinner. She loved it, describing as silky. While the wine was fruity, that wasn’t the characteristic that dominated. Instead, a more complex array of aromas included spices and flowers — violets and lavender. Thyme and rosemary helped create a distinct earthiness that I always associate more with European wines than New World offerings. And it is bone dry, making it a natural to pair with food.

Dinner was sliced roast chicken breasts, topped with fine breadcrumbs, grated parmesano reggiano, crushed garlic and spices before baking at 450 degrees. I laid out the chicken atop a bed of Romaine lettuce, which had been tossed with a zesty lime dressing. On the side were slices from a seedy whole wheat baguette and pecorino cheese.

I am rarely enthused by wines with my salad because dressings invariably include vinegar — or “wine gone bad” as one friend used to say. As I ate this simple and tasty meal, I timed my sips of wine to follow bites of the salty cheese and bread slices. I could happily have made a meal of just those with the Evohé, the combination was so good. The chicken and salad became an added bonus.

Evohé is made a couple hundred miles inland from Spain’s coastal city of Barcelona, so we will definitely be watching out for Grenache wines from the area around Zaragoza. I can hardly wait.

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.