It’s -25C today in Ottawa so naturally I started day dreaming about +30C weather in the sunny Okanagan Valley, Canada’s very own pocket desert, where they produce world-class white and red wines. Then the thought came to me…it’s time to try that bottle of Hillside Winery’s Muscat Ottonel that I had been saving for a special occasion…and what better than to pair it with a nice spread of Chinese food from Ottawa’s Yangtze Restaurant. What a great pairing that ended up being! Not only did that wine taste like summer in a glass (which I really needed an escape from the -25C weather), but it complemented the sweet and sour soup and the spicy black bean sauce beef and chicken beautifully. With just a bit of RS it had the perfect off dry profile and texture to enhance the flavour of the food and tame the heat just enough. A great wine that I’m looking forward to trying again soon, perhaps next time when I’m in the Okanagan or at the Vancouver Wine Festival in February.
Matt’s review of the 2016 Hillside Winery Muscat Ottonel: Since planting Muscat Ottonel in 1984 at the Hillside Farm, this varietal has grown in popularity at Hillside Winery to the point where they’ve created a cult-like following for it as patrons drop in to their Naramata winery in the summer to enjoy a delicious meal at The Bistro and make sure they leave with several bottles to enjoy in the summer sun. The 2016 shows a beautiful bouquet of sweet floral blossoms, stone fruit, and spice. The palate offers sweet citrus & stone fruits, and spice, all with a zippy yet slightly off dry finish making it ideal on its own or when paired with Asian cuisine. Next time you’re in the Okanagan make sure you visit this lovely winery and enjoy a meal at The Bistro, then visit some of the other many award winning neighbouring wineries along the Naramata Bench – you’ll be happy you did! Tasted January 2018. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca