NK'MIP WINES PAIRED WITH ROAST SALMON & HAZLENUT HONEY BUTTER

 Dig in! Delicious roast salmon, berry salad, and honey hazelnut butter.

Dig in! Delicious roast salmon, berry salad, and honey hazelnut butter.

Winery Visits: April-June - Daily from 10am-6pm; July-Sept - Daily from 9am-8pm; Oct - Daily from 10am-6pm; Nov-April - Daily 10am-5pm 

Location: 1400 Ranchers Creek Road, Osoyoos, BC, V0H1V6

Website: www.nkmipcellars.com 

Phone: 250-495-2985

June 21st marks the 20th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day, which celebrates the unique heritage and cultures of Canada's First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Nk'Mip Cellars (pronounced "in-ka-meep") was opened in 2002 by the Osoyoos Indian Band. It was the first Aboriginal owned and operated winery in all of North America. The winery tasting room features unique First Nations art, along with a stellar selection of wines to try (on my last trip I picked up a bottle of their very tasty Pinot Noir). The winery's restaurant, The Patio, is one of my favourite stops in Osoyoos, and has one of the best lake-watching perches in the whole Okanagan to enjoy a glass of wine and the sunset.

I was excited to receive a shipment from Nk'Mip Cellars  along with some delish indigenous inspired meal ideas designed to pair perfectly with their wines: roast salmon, served with savoury berry salad, and freshly made bannock topped with hazelnut honey butter. The recipes (especially the honey butter, so easy and so, so good) and wines were a big success with my dinner guests.

 

The Wines:

2015 Nk'Mip Cellars Dreamcatcher $17.49

A crowdpleasing fragrant blend of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Ehrenfelser, Semillon and Chardonnay comes together with just a hint of sweetness on the palate for the ultimate summer sipper. The Riesling's all about apple and pear, while the Sauv Blanc brings guava and lime.  There's a touch of honeysuckle blossom in there too. Would pair beautifully with roast salmon, salads, as well as sushi (think spicy tuna roll). 

2015 Nk'Mip Cellars Rosé $16.99

You'll taste juicy strawberry and cherry flavours in your glass of this dry saignée method rosé (a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Pinot Noir), backed by an undercurrent of warm weather minerality. A lovely match for fresh berry salad, roast chicken, or crab cakes.

2014 Nk'Mip Cellars Qwam Qwmt Riesling Icewine $66.99

Lush peach, apricot, wildflower honey, and mango mingle on the palate in this vibrant Icewine. Bright, playful acidity keeps the sweetness in check. A remarkably balanced yet intensely flavoured dessert wine. In the Okanagan language of the Osoyoos Band, Qwam Qwmt (pronounced "kw-em kw-empt") means 'achieving excellence', and in this wine, mission accomplished. Rich enough to enjoy on its own, or pair with stone fruit creme caramel.

 

Recipes:

Summer Berry Salad

Wash berries and set aside, in a bowl mix all other ingredients, then fold in berries. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and chopped toasted hazelnuts, served over a bed of greens.

1 Cup strawberries (hulled and sliced)

1 Cup blueberries

1 Cup raspberries

2 T finely chopped fresh mint leaves

1 T seeded, finely chopped green onion or jalapeno pepper (I used pepper)

Juice of 1 lime

Dash of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

2 T chopped toasted hazelnuts

3 Cups mixed greens (arugula, dandelion, mache)

Roast BC Salmon

Take the filet out of fridge 15 minutes before cooking. Place on a lightly oiled parchment lined baking sheet. Top with olive oil, salt, pepper, and honey. Pre-heat oven to 400C, then right before cooking the salmon, turn on only the broiler at 450C. Roast the salmon mid-rack for 6-8 minutes, or until the salmon gently flakes when pressed.

1 whole filet of wild BC salmon

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 T honey

Hazelnut Honey Butter

Don't be afraid to double or triple this super easy recipe, it's so tasty that guests wanted to take some home to use for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think topping toast, or even served warm over ice cream. Yum! Simply mix your butter and honey until combined, then fold in your chopped hazelnuts.

1/4 Cup peeled roasted hazelnuts, chopped

1/4 Cup salted butter, room temperature

1/4 Cup local honey

Cast Iron Bannock

The ideal partner for melting honey butter, these bannock are crunchy on the outside and tender in the centre. In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a measuring cup, add your milk and water, then microwave for 30 seconds. Add the warmed milk mixture all at once to your dry ingredients, then mix gently until just combined. Don't mix too much or you'll get tough bannock. On the stove, warm your cast iron pan on medium-low heat, adding the oil. Scoop spoonfuls of batter into the pan, letting them get light golden brown for 3-5 minutes per side. This recipe made 12 pieces. Serve warm.

2 Cups all purpose flour (or pastry flour)

2 T baking powder

1 T granulated sugar

1/2 t salt

1/2 C milk

1/2 Cup water

1/3 Cup vegetable oil (or other oil for frying)

 

Wines samples were provided by Nk'Mip Cellars. Please see my Sample Policy for more information. Cheers!

 

EVOLVE CELLARS 2015 WINE RELEASES

 Gorgeous views: Evolve's Summerland vineyard swoops down towards Okanagan Lake (photo courtesy Evolve Cellars)

Gorgeous views: Evolve's Summerland vineyard swoops down towards Okanagan Lake (photo courtesy Evolve Cellars)

Winery Visits: May-October - Daily from 10am-6pm 

Location: 20623 McDougald Road, Summerland, BC, V0H1Z6

Website: www.evolvecellars.com

Phone: 778-516-7728

With its 2015 releases, the first full vintage under winemaker Lawrence Buhler, one year old Evolve Cellars in Summerland is carving out a reputation for juicy, fruit forward, and enjoyable wines that are easy-drinking and most definitely food friendly. 

 

2015 Pinot Gris $15.99

A glass of nectarine and ripe peach, wildflower honey, and a touch of desirable grapefruity acidity to keep things fresh. Well chilled, this dry Pinot Gris is a wonderful choice for a patio sipper, served with a guest-worthy platter of antipasto, tangy chunks of aged white cheddar, and paté.

 

2015 Riesling $16.99

This off-dry Riesling tastes almost dry due to the juicy acidity that's a hallmark of the grape variety. I very much enjoyed the honeysuckle aroma, and rich guava and lime flavours packed into my glass. Would pair beautifully with summer fruit (think grilled peach and pineapple), along with corn on the cob, and sweet fresh-caught halibut, crab, or prawns.

 

2015 Gewurztraminer $15.99

A full-flavoured expression of this grape, with tropical fruit, zingy ginger, and rose on the palate. It's lightly off-dry, making it a great match for meals with pungent spices and full flavour, like curries, tajines, or sweet chili BBQ. 

 

2015 Rosé $16.99

A total crowd pleaser, this super juicy rosé has generous flavours of strawberry and melon, and just the right touch of sweetness. An ideal partner for salmon or grilled seafood, or a burger on the patio. I found it to be the perfect aperitif match for lightly spicy piquillo peppers and guacamole.

 

Wines samples were provided by Evolve Cellars. Please see my Sample Policy for more information. Cheers!

WINETRIPPING: A GUIDEBOOK TO BC'S BEST OKANAGAN & SIMILKAMEEN VALLEY WINERIES

 Looking down towards Osoyoos from the Golden Mile near Oliver

Looking down towards Osoyoos from the Golden Mile near Oliver

I've been a busy bee lately, just back from trips to England and Italy, which were respectively to be an associate judge at the IWSC on Canadian and American wines and study at the Vinitaly Italian Wine Ambassador program.

Now that I'm back in Vancouver, regular trips up to the Okanagan and Similkameen have recommenced. I've been continuing my grand tour of wineries, both new and old favourites, as I finish the research for my book Winetripping. Which is no hardship! The weather's beautiful {pool weather in April? yes, please}, and the desert flowers are in bloom in Osoyoos, a rare sight.

Winetripping is something I've been working on for over a year, and am so excited to see released this June. My goal in writing this winery guide comes down to my passion for the region, which I think is some of the most beautiful wine country in the world. I want you to come and visit! 

Certainly, the Okanagan is one of the friendliest wine regions you can explore, with sweeping valley views, glistening lakes, oh, and let's not forget the hundreds of unique wineries with tasting rooms and restaurants ready for your arrival!

Ultimately, there are more wineries than you can visit, so I've curated a list of places I love recommending to friends and family. I want you to have an awesome time on your trip up to Osoyoos, Oliver, Naramata, Kelowna, Vernon or Keremeos!

There's nothing like hitting up the tasting rooms on a sunny day, choosing your very favourite wines to bring home with you, then opening those bottles up months later to reminisce about your trip.

I've heard from wine lovers that there're so many wineries that it can be overwhelming choosing where to go, and planning which you'll include and which you'll skip. So, my guide is all about making it easy for you to find the exact kind of tasting room you love, whether that's somewhere with a log cabin and dogs wandering through the vines, or a modernist producer with fancy glassware and a view over the lake.

In addition to the 89 wineries listed, other handy sections will cover arranging a tour, getting to know the local grapes, wine tasting etiquette, and suggested itineraries based on your interests (love bold reds, want the hidden gems, or maybe you're into Riesling? I've got you covered).

I feel strongly about supporting our local wineries, who work day in and out to produce this incredible beverage we all adore. By visiting the wineries, dining at their restaurants, and buying wines on site, we consumers are not only having a great experience, we're ensuring that they're able to keep doing what they love while making a good living. Cheers to that!

Find out more here.