Steveston’s Tapenade Bistro recently hosted its ICON Wine Dinner, a six course dinner paired with BC Meritage wines that were voted the best at a previous tasting a few months before. Hosted by Sip Wines‘ Simon Wosk and BC wine guru John Schriner, the dinner was open to the public with tickets selling at Richmond wine store, Sip Wines. I joined my father, a fellow food and wine enthusiast, for a night of culinary decadence prepared by Tapenade Bistro’s Chef Colin Uyeda, and away we went on viticultural discovery to the upper echelons of BC wine.
The evening commences with a glass of 2013 Terravista Fandango Albarino Verdejo – a Spanish varietal. Apparently it’s the first BC winery to use it. The Fandango keeps pouring until all guests are seated, and then the dinner begins.
With introductory statements from John Schreiner and Simon Wosk, Tapenade owner Vince Morlet introduces our first course: a lightly cured sturgeon with compressed pear, fennel, tapioca and parsley sauce. It’s a light, refreshing starter with the locally-farmed sturgeon firm and pickled. The darkened pearls of tapioca mimic the texture and look of caviar. There is also a lightly pickled fennel and a celery-like minerality from the vibrant green sauce. You can call this an alternative interpretation on the common gravlax.
Second course is the red wine braised octopus with Kalamata olive, harissa, chorizo, and fingerling potato ragout. This Mediterranian stew is briny with earthy, comforting flavours. The smokiness of the harissa in the sauce pairs extremely well with the Clos du Soleil Signature 2012, a wine from BC’s Similkameen Valley. Notes of cassis, leather, and blueberry were rich and harmonious for this wine.
Brome Lake duck is perhaps the most polarizing course. The lightly smoked duck breast is served rare with duck confit croquant, walnut pesto, pickled blackberries, and spiced jus. For many, the duck is too rare. It is my favourite of the evening – the rich, nutty pesto and tart pickled beets cut compliment the smoked meat, and the Hester Creek “The Judge” 2011 is a perfect pairing with its smoke, cherry, and leather.
The evening gets better with a beautifully tender lamb sirloin, served with toasted faro, charred cucumber, and a nutty mustard-like caramelized yogurt. The lamb is given a side-by-side pairing with Black Hills Nota Bene from 2012 and Poplar Grove’s Legacy from 2009.
Our penultimate course is a harmonious masterpiece: beef striploin with a bone marrow black currant sauce, a chunk of salt-baked celeriac, coffee butter and popped barley. The crunch of the barley provides a fun textures next to the lusciousness of the meat. The Nk’Mip Cellars Mer’r’iym (indigenous word for “marriage”) is well balanced and lives up to its name with our meal.
Our finale of the evening is not a dessert, but a delectable cheese platter showcasing Kootenay Alpine Cheese Co‘s Alpindon – a nutty, firm BC cheese that we savoured with a house made raisin and walnut bread with celery pickled blueberry.
The evening was decadant yet accessible, surrounded by good company. It was a fantastic way to embrace 2015.