On July 17th we spent a quintessentially okanagan evening celebrating La Stella Wines with Joy Road Catering at God's Mountain Estate with an appropriately tuscan inspired menu in the company of La Stella Winery's Winemaker Severine Pinte and Vineyard Manager Jody Subotin. The setting above Skaha Lake on a perfect Okanagan evening couldn't have made a better stage on the sun drenched bench where God's Mountain sits with its authentically mediterranean style white washed buildings, sweeping views and its decidedly Sprezzatura spirit. The evening was magical - nothing forced yet nothing out of sync with a perfect mood of casual elegance to set off the style of the tuscan influenced La Stella wines. For me the evening was an ideal expression of the terroir and experience of "Okanagan" life through the meeting of our finest talents and products at the pinnacle of our summer season.
Guests arrived at 6:30 to be greeted with La Stella's 2013 LaStellina Rosato - a slightly off-dry aromatic style of Rosato that was complemented with Joy Road's pairing of bruschetta with basil, and a wild salmon cake with espelette aioli.
The guests freely roamed the gorgeous grounds and took in the evening lake view and warm grassy sage scented breeze off the dry hillside. A tone and mood was set, and perhaps a reverence for the gift of this moment ran through each guest.
We were seated to enjoy the first course, Primi, with an introduction of the LaStellina from Severine. Her passion and honest mediterranean french origins clearly run through her. Her connection to the vintage, place and process of bringing the wines to this place in time shines. With a second pouring of the Rosato we enjoyed the dish accompanying - a farinata with rosemary, anchovy and caramelized onion and arugula, balsamic, cherry tomatoes with good olive oil.
The second wine, 2013 Vivace Pinot Grigio was served and introduced by Vineyard Manager Jody Subotin. His connection to the vineyards and intimate understanding of the grapes completes the picture of how the exceptional wines are made through the stewarding of the land, the tending of the grapes, and the final production by Severine and team inside the winery. Joy Road served shaved fennel salad with lemon and pickled pink shallots, Okanagan apricots and Joy Roads exceptional 2 year house cured prosciutto.
For the third wine, the 2011 Fortissimo, a wine inspired by the modern tuscan style of the 50's and 60's and reminiscent of a great chianti, was paired with lamb loin and minted pine nut meatballs, olive oil roasted broccoli with tapenade, fingerling potato salad with freshly shelled english peas, herbs and vinaigrette and a beautiful salad made from delicate greens of The Homestead Organic Farm.
To finish the dinner 2013 Moscato D’Osoyoos was served. The lively acidity of this wine gives its sweetness a refreshing balance that went well with the almond cake, orange blossom cream and raspberries served for dessert.
To visit the Okanagan without an experience of La Stella's wines or Joy Road's food paired together isn't uncommon. The rare experience should be booked at the first moment you know you are arriving in the Okanagan Valley. In fact, plan a trip around the occasion. Check in with La Stella for next year's evening. The experience sells out in days of the event's release. If you aren't quite so fortunate for the pairing dinner don't worry, La Stella Winery is open daily for tastings of their small production wines through the summer season, with a few special events for their wine club members that happen annually for you to take advantage of through membership.
Enjoy the photos and video of the evening shared below. See you at La Stella.
Story, video and photos by Tarynn Liv Parker, Editor
magic begins at once, the entry leads guests in to the casual elegance of the setting
the kitchen is also al fresco - guests pass the cooks as they enter to the event
Chef Dana Ewart, the proprietor of esteemed Joy Road Catering is a perfect host for the farm-to-table event
La Stella Winemaker Severine Pinte, begins the evenings wine introduction with LaStellina Rosato
important details: the dinner bell, and a copy of Alice Waters' "The Art of Simple Food"
Joy Road's succulent 2 year cured prosciutto pairs perfectly with the 2013 Vivace
Vineyard Manager Jody Subotin sharing his stories of the vintage in the glass
second course salad with the 2013 Vivace
Part time local, Bobbie Burgers - Canadian Artist
the joys of sharing through family-style serving
Jody Subotin takes us through a tasting of the 2013 Moscato D'Osoyoos
Chef Dana lights us up for dusk