by: Tim Pawsey
CAWSTON, B.C.–A sleepy backwater defined by its namesake river and towering peaks, the Similkameen Valley delights in its quiet, rural character that sets it apart from the Okanagan at large.
At least since the last gold rush, farming is a mainstay. What’s new is the scattering of vineyards and small wineries, which have sprung up in the last few years, making this one of the newest B.C. wine regions–and certainly one of the more intriguing. While the older plantings (such as Andres Rocky Ridge) are found along the river valley, much of the newer activity is taking place along the benchlands that define the valley’s east to west orientation.
Last night we had a chance to revisit Orofino’s wines, paired with dishes by former Sumac Ridge sommelier turned chef Roger Gillespie, at his multi-tasking Victoria Rd. Deli & Bistro (105-13615 Victoria Rd. N, Summerland, BC, 250-583-9343). Roger works hard to source local ingredients for his well conceived and prepared plates. Hit of the night: rich, wild mushroom and truffle-rubbed, perfectly pink slices of lamb loin (with sweet pea and baby carrot risotto) matched with Orofino 2007 Beleza, a brooding vanilla and cassis toned Cab. Sauv., Merlot and Petit Verdot blend.
The Hired Belly (aka Tim Pawsey) covers the food and wine revolution. He writes and shoots his own images for weekly columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News, He also co-edits Zagat Vancouver (for which he wears a bullet-proof vest).