Church and State Wines Quintessential Release Party celebrated their 8th vintage and release of their iconic wine on Oct 10th in Oliver, the Okanagan location of Church and State Wines. The party offered vertical tastings of the Quintessential and Trebella Signature red and white blends, Coyote Bowl Syrah, Gravelbourg Chardonnay, and Coyote Bowl Merlot in a relaxed but very elegant setting where you could taste between the vintages and compare or pair them with the gorgeous culinary creations of Chef Chris Van Hooydonk of Backyard Farms. The celebration also marked their 10 year anniversary, with a nice and candid speech from owner Kim Pullen, reflecting on his decade in the wine business.
The unique event was the first I have been to where you could really spend time at your own direction with such wide ranges of the vintages of a vertical tasting. The Quintessential Red Blend, a traditional 5-varietal Meritage, spanned from 2005 to 2012. The Coyote Bowl Syrah vertical offered 2006, 2007 and 2010 to 2012 vintages twice receiving Canada's Best Red, including that title given by Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Advisor to the Queen. These two exceptional red line-ups paired with Chef's creations including Upper Bench King Cole Cheese, caramelized organic onion, dry aged heritage angus Beef flatbread with oven roasted tomato and arugula, cold smoked Fraser Valley duck breast and grilled Peace Country lamb with a spiced plum glaze.
Tres Bella, their Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier blend, were tasting excellent in their 2010 to 2013 vintages of which the two most recent vintages have received Best White in Canada at the Wine Align World Wine Awards. The Coyote Bowl Merlot range of vintages was from 2006 - 2007, 2009 - 2010, and 2012. This wine was the launch of their now lauded Coyote Bowl Series. Chef Van Hooydonk paired these two wines with Chef Chris' own handmade sourdough, Forbidden Rice Crackers and Heritage Mills Rye Snapbread, a local and international cheese selection, chutney, spice candied nuts, sun dried and orchard fruit, roasted garlic hummus, winter squash and eggplant butter, Two Rivers Charcuterie selections, house pickled vegetables, marinated olives and blackberry mustard.
The rich Southern Okanagan style of Gravelbourg Chardonnay 2006, 2008 - 2013 with it's consistent tasting notes across the vintages of creamy caramel, honey and minerality, paired beautifully with Chef's Pernod Oceanwise prawns with late harvest peach and lemon balm butter, the smoked parsnip and Backyard apple cream with walnut oil, and the caramelized asian pear and shallot, triple cream brie, on sourdough crostini.
The entire evening's ambience was filled with the music of The Faculty Jazz Quartet, where they began outside in the dusky evening at the outdoor tasting bar and moved inside to the transformed tasting room.
As I most often do, I've shared much of the story in photographs. Enjoy the look in to the very special event and find out more about Church & State at their website.
Stephanie Pullen greets us with sparkling and an introduction to the evenings events
beautiful laid back jazz sounds in the twilight
The Pullen family are all here including Kim's newest! Look in the middle to the little babe in grandma's arms. Also pictured below :)
Chef Chris Vanhooydonk refreshing the much enjoyed and emptying plates
Wine enthusiasm :)
Gravelbourg Chardonnays in line with their perfect pairings, the Pernod Oceanwise prawns
Guests are happy with the spread
The transformation of the Church & State tasting room was gorgeous, as the division between the tasting bar and barrel room vanished for the evening.
The Coyote Bowl Syrah, my personal favourite of the evening in all its vintages was exceptionally exciting to taste through.
Owner and father Kim Pullen and son and Manager John Pullen
The engaging and passionate team at Church and State help us reflect on and enjoy the vintages
Kim Pullen looks back and shares his first ten years experience and looks forward to the future with us
Chef Chris Vanhooydonk shares insights on his food with expecting (yay!) wife Mikkel Day beside him at every step of the way
Bernie Addington is an Okanagan favourite on the local jazz scene
Kim Pullen, John Pullen and Winemaker Jeff Del Nin enjoy the evening and a reprieve from the rigorous harvest season. Winemaker Jeff hopped in and out of the evening a couple of times to manage a Pinot Noir harvest that was concurrently coming in to the winery as the event took place.
I hope to have this kind of opportunity again with Church & State in the years to come!
by Tarynn Liv Parker
Editor, The Field Guide