Another morning…another breakfast…another picture perfect day. The major difference? Today is our last as we are starting our return to real life. As with every good (or even bad) thing in life, there will always come an end.
Fortunately it’s not quite the end of the wine search. 🙂 Our first real day of rounding-up wine for our cellar had taken us to Gray Monk and a couple of others. Another that I had really wanted to get to was Mission Hill. However by the time we got there, they were closed. It was decided we would return on the way home. I’m glad we did.
My (very personal!!) opinion of Mission Hill wines is that they are somewhat overpriced for what they create. They have good wine, there is no doubt about that, but given the wines we have tried this time (and numerous times in the past) throughout the Valley, there are many others equivalent or better for less (again, in my opinion). Having said that, I will also admit to two very positive things about Mission Hill. First and immediately apparent when you arrive, is they have the most amazing view of their vineyards, the mountains and the lake. This is all presented to you from an outstanding array of buildings including, but not limited to, their tasting/retail hall and their dining area.
Second, and more important to me (again, personally) is their cellared collection of elderly Chardonnay wines. Several years ago I had an opportunity to purchase two 6 year old (at the time) Chardonnays. I thought I had taken a bit of a risk as Chardonnay is not a typically long-lived wine. I stored them in my own cellar for another 2 years waiting for the right occasions to enjoy them. I don’t remember the excuse for either but I do remember being totally surprised both times. Everything you want a Chard to be was there, in spades. If anything the additional age simply improved the end result.
Two years ago, another trip to the Valley and another 2 were acquired. The last of those was consumed on my birthday last February. Ergo I absolutely needed to obtain more. This time, however, provided a rude shock. Yes they still had some 2008 available. However the previous sommelier had been a little too…liberal…with their old cellared stock and as a result there were ~only~ two. Before it could really register in my mind, my lips were saying ‘I’ll take both, please’. Now I really have to sit and reflect before I open one…is this really the Best occasion to do this??? Ahhhh….the choices we must make.
This wouldn’t be one of our trips if we also didn’t do at least one bit of shopping that really had little to do with the original purpose. This time found us at Orchard Park mall (not Orchard Plaza which is pretty much right next door) in Kelowna. In there we found Olivia’s. This is the most exceptional store of its kind I have ever visited. It specializes in flavored (and not) extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. If you love to cook, the next time you are in Kelowna, find this store. If you want a gift for someone, find this store (or seek them out online). It is absolutely much more fun to visit as you can taste everything. Take their Blackberry/Ginger balsamic and mix it with their Blood Orange fused olive oil, to then present to your guests with a sliced Italian loaf…and don’t tell them anything about the combination. Let their face show you their surprised enjoyment.
To top that, the oils and vinegars were not even the reason we tried to find the store. A potter that we like does not sell her creations herself or online. She only sells through a few select wineries and stores. Previous pieces had been purchased at Gray Monk wineries. We didn’t buy any there this time as we thought we might find something else, somewhere else. We didn’t. So it became necessary to either return to Gray Monk or find another of her outlets. Olivia’s is one of those places and it didn’t disappoint in that regard either. We found another couple of pieces to enhance our own collection.
Our last stop finds us once more in Golden, B.C. Spending the night and getting some much needed rest after a long day of driving is now uppermost on the list. Tomorrow brings closure (regretfully) to a very fulfilling journey. It’s been rewarding – from the perspective of all that we have experienced and learned. It has been relaxing (despite the driving involved) – as the stresses of a full-time job were never present. And it has been fruitful (yep…it’s the groaner of the blog) – as our wine cellar has been revived. I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into our most delightful trip.