La Dolce Vita: Good pot roast deserves a nice wine

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I put the roast on the stove at 3 p.m., with plans for a nice dinner for two at 6 p.m. Chopped onions and garlic were sautéed after the roast was browned on all sides, then I deglazed the pot with some red wine. The roast was placed back in the pan and a couple of cups of beef stock were added and the burner was set to medium low. About a half hour before the roast was ready I added chopped potatoes and carrots.

Once the roast and vegetables were cooked I removed them from the juice with a slotted spoon, thickened the gravy, added a tin of sliced mushrooms and we were good to go.

Wine? I knew the dinner would be enhanced by a good, full-bodied wine and what did I find in the cellar but a bottle of 2002 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin. The bottle brought back memories of a trip to Vancouver. I was attending a conference but went over to a wine store to see what was interesting on the shelves. By coincidence, I overheard a conversation that a clerk was having with another customer. He was recommending Le Grand Vin as a good choice, but said the shipment wouldn’t be available until the morning. I asked some questions and learned the new winery’s product would be available in cases of six on a first come, first served basis. I was at the store’s door the next morning, along with 15-20 enthusiasts. I walked away with my wooden case and six bottles and somehow managed to get them onto the plane and back to Creston with no damage. Those bottles were from the very first vintage produced by Osoyoos Larose in 2001.

I had opened the bottle and poured it into a decanter an hour before dinner was ready and the initial sip was a treat. Full-bodied, still with fresh fruit flavours and a good tannic structure, it went beautifully with the beef, veggies and gravy.

Le Grand Vin is a Bordeaux-style blend of five different grapes. The 2002 version consists of 57 per cent Merlot, 19 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 per cent Merlot, 7 per cent Cab Franc and 5 per cent Petit Verdot. In a skilled winemaker’s hands, those five grapes make considerable magic. The winery’s vineyards, located in the far south of the Okanagan Valley, produce almost any grape to full ripeness in most years and their quality shows in the Osoyoos Larose wines.

Under the guidance of winemaker Pascal Madevon, the grapes were hand sorted for quality and it is apparent that in every step of the process, the Madevon was trying to create a British Columbia version of a great Bordeaux. He has succeeded nicely in the six vintages of Le Grand Vin.

I am nearly always enamored of wineries that focus on a only a few different wines. It allows them to be obsessive in trying to achieve their goal. Osoyoos Larose produces only Le Grand Vin. The winery has also made two vintages of the only slightly lesser Petales d’Osoyoos. It’s made from the same grapes, though in different formulas and spends equal time in oak barrels. It, too, is an excellent wine and will appeal to those who don’t want to spend quite as much as they would on Le Grand Vin (if you can find it).

In more recent years I’ve ordered the wine from a Kelowna retailer. Osoyoos Larose is a partnership between Canadian and French wineries and it has no tasting room and it keeps a pretty low profile in the market. Whether production will increase and change that remains to be seen.

But on a Sunday night, I was more than happy to pair the rare treasure with a very tasty meal.

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.