A Wonderful Dinner with Meyer Family Vineyards at Forage

I have been following Meyer Family Vineyards since the release of their first vintage and have been regularly reviewing their wines here on mywinepal.com.  Their wines have always been good and have been getting better with each vintage, from my tasting notes.

Forage at the Listel Hotel has been receiving a lot of good press about the quality of their food, prepared by Chef Chris Whittaker.  I had not had a chance to visit them yet, so when I received an invitation to try the latest wines from Meyer Family Vineyards at Forage, I jumped at the offer.

JAK Meyer and Chef Chris Whittaker talking about food and wine

JAK Meyer and Chef Chris Whittaker talking about food and wine

Meyer Family Vineyard Wines

Meyer Family Vineyards are known for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  They are located in the Okanagan Falls area of BC, which I think has the perfect climate for these two Burgundian grapes.  JAK Meyer, owner of MFV Wines was pouring his:

  • 2012 Rose –  Nice light red cherry nose.  Light body and soft in the mouth (medium minus acidity), with light cherry and strawberry flavours.  Off dry and delicate.  This wine is Merlot based, not from Pinot Noir.
  • 2012 Okanagan Valley Chardonnay –  Light vanilla, tropical fruit and pineapple aromas.  Medium body, higher acidity but not agressive in your mouth. Full tropical fruit and vanilla with spice on the finish.  It has some roundness to it, which I think is from a partial malolactic fermentation.  This wine is unoaked for those that do not like oak in their wine.  Nice.
  • 2011 McLean Creek Chardonnay – The grapes for this wine come from a single vineyard, with 50% being fermented in oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel. This wine has a toasty oak nose, along with apple and tropical fruit aromas.  Medium body, round with medium weight on the palate. Prominent sweet spices, tropical fruit and vanilla.  Nutmeg on the finish.  Quite peppery.
  • 2011 Tribute Series Chardonnay – These grapes come from the Naramata Bench (about 20km north than Okanagan Falls). Smoky, green apples, and light vanilla aromas in the glass.  Light body, higher acidity, steely and citrus flavours, along with a hint of sweet spice and vanilla.  Mouth watering finish.  An exciting wine to enjoy.
  • 2011 Micro Cuvee Chardonnay – Another wine with grapes from the Naramata Bench, but made in a very limited production (100 cases).  The difference between Tribute and Micro Cuvee is the barrel selection. Lots of oak, sweet spice and tropical fruit on the nose. Medium body, dry and quite round in the mouth. Understated tropical fruit, spice and vanilla.  Higher acidity and quite spicy on the finish. Long length.
  • 2011 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir – Lots of violets together with oak and red fruit on the nose.  Dry, soft tannins, medium minus body, with red fruit flavours, followed by spice and vanilla.  A bit peppery on the finish, which I did not like on it’s own, but as you will read below, it worked out very well when paired with food.
  • 2011 McLean Creek Pinot Noir – This Pinot Noir and the following two were all very interesting to me. They were all different expressions of the grape and their aromas changed in the glass. Beguiling.  This wine has a beautiful nose starting with dark cherries followed by nutmeg.  Over the course of the meal the aromas of this wine changed to coffee for me.  Medium body, dark cherries and medium spiciness with a hint of greeness on the palate.  This wine is silky on the palate and finishes spicy on your tongue.
  • 2011 Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir – Restrained light red cherry and spice on the nose, but very fruity in your mouth. Quite a contrast. Medium minus body, tastes sweet, but it is really the fruit that you are tasting.  Ripe red cherries with a dash of spice and vanilla.  Mouth watering, red cherry finish.
  • 2011 Micro Cuvee Pinot Noir (not yet released) – Animal and leather on the nose. A very different nose.  Dry, round, medium body, with roses, and sour cherry flavours.  Spicy red cherry finish. An intruiguing wine.
  • 2012 Gewürztraminer – Lychee with a hint of roses on the nose.  Medium minus body, light mouth feel with spice, oranges and rose flavours.  A bit off dry, with spice and mouth watering acidity on the finish.

Our Menu

Appetizers

  • Red wine poached pear pieces wrapped with duck pastrami.
  • Oysters on the half shell (sorry I do not know the variety)

These appetizers were paired with the Meyer Family Vineyards Rose.  I really liked the pear with duck pastrami.  The wine toned down the sweetness of the pear and the duck pastrami had dark meaty flavour, almost like beef.  It paired really well with the rose, with it’s cherry fruit and off-dry sweetness.  The oysters were wonderful on their own but I don’t think the brininess of them paired that well with the rose.

Red wine infused pairs wrapped with duck pastrami

Red wine infused pairs wrapped with duck pastrami

First Course

  • Braised trap-caught octopus with marinated yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms and sourdough crisps
    Paired with the Meyer Family Vineyards Rose 2012.

This course, which you could view as a salad, had many different components; crunchiness from the sourdough crisps, chewiness from the octopus slices (not too chewy, just right), the flavour of the marinated chanterelles and red bell pepper in the dressing.  The rose added a bit of sweetness and red fruit.  Overall a nice, delicate pairing.

Braised octopus with marinated yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms and sourdough crisps

Braised octopus with marinated yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms and sourdough crisps

Second Course

  • Pacific Provider spring salmon on poached leeks and cipollini onion, squash gnocchi, and humpback shrimp “chowder”

Paired with:

  • 2012 Okanagan Valley Chardonnay
  • 2011 McLean Creek Chardonnay
  • 2011 Tribute Series Chardonnay
  • 2011 Micro Cuvee Chardonnay

This pairing was a wonderful experience, in part because the “chowder” was outstanding and in part to the differences in the Chardonnays.  Everyone raved about this dish.  The salmon was lightly grilled and had a whiff of cracked black pepper on it, and was cooked to perfection, nice and soft.  The creamy chowder sauce had a hint of sage and was full of interesting tidbits of gnocchi, shrimp, leeks and the cipollini onion. The shrimps were marinated in citrus before being added to the dish, which added to some brightness in the dish. Overall your tastebuds kept getting different flavours from each component, none really too overpowering, except for the cipollini onion that was a bit stronger than the rest.

To this mix of flavours and textures, you had the 4 chardonnays.  Of the 4, I think the one that was the best pairing was the Okanagan Valley Chardonnay.  The fresh fruit, no oak, and higher acidity made both the wine flavours pop as well as the dishes flavours.  The McLean Creek Chardonnay was my next favourite.  The oak was nicely toned down by the cream of the chowder and left you with nice fruit flavour and spice.  I was neutral on the pairing with the Tribute Series Chardonnay.  The pairing did not seem to enhance either one.  The Micro Cuvee Chardonnay had a bit too much oak which overpowered the dishes flavours.  So fruit and acidity in the Okanagan Valley Chardonnay wins this pairing.

Pacific Provider spring salmon chowder

Pacific Provider spring salmon chowder

Third Course

  • Gelderman Farms pork duo 1) roasted belly with crackling, 2) braised jowl, together with celeriac remoulade, parsnip potato puree, and braised cabbage

Paired with:

  • 2011 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir
  • 2011 McLean Creek Pinot Noir
  • 2011 Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 2011 Micro Cuvee Pinot Noir (not yet released)

Pork belly is a delicious indulgence everyone should try.  There were many sides that came with the pork belly and braised jowl that could have maybe been reduced to just the parsnip potato puree so that it would have been an easier comparison and pairing with the pinot noirs.  But on their own, I can understand the chef wanting to show his culinary talents.  Of the two, I preferred the roasted pork belly with crackling.  The alternating layers of pork and fat were very tender and juicy, and to this you had a wonderfully crunchy skin that was slightly salty.  Great textures and flavours together.

Of the four Pinot Noirs, I think 3 of the four worked well.  I liked the higher acidity of the Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir which cut through the fat in the pork belly.  The Reimer Vineyard Pinot Noir‘s bright fruit were very complementary to the pork, and the Micro Cuvee Pinot Noir‘s flavours of sour cherries and roses also were complementary.  The McLean Creek Pinot Noir was an OK pairing, but neither the wine or the pork belly flavours were enhanced or transformed.

The braised jowl was an amazing dish on it’s own.  It was full of fatty goodness that just melted and covered your entire mouth.  But that high amount of fat tended to drown out the Pinot Noirs.  The higher acidity from the Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir was able to break through and provide I think the best pairing.  The other Pinots also paired well, but were not able to bring out their uniqueness.

Roasted pork belly with crackling and braised jowl

Roasted pork belly with crackling and braised jowl

Fourth Course

  • Spiced, poached Okanagan pear, Golden Ears Cheese Crafters charmesan panna cotta, and roasted hazelnut madeleine
    Paired with the 2012 Gewürztraminer

At last, dessert.  The cooked pears were very nice with the added sweet spices.  I also liked the creamy panna cotta, but it did not have a very strong flavour.  I do not know what kind of cheese is charmesan.  Need to research that.  But my favourite part was the roasted hazelnut madeleine.  The hazelnut flavour was not overpowering, but it was just like eating roasted hazelnuts.  The madeleine was nice and light. I think the Gewurztraminer best paired with the cooked pears as the sweet spices in the pears were complementary to the spice in this wine.

Spiced poached Okanagan pears, panna cotta, and roasted hazelnut madeleine

Spiced poached Okanagan pears, panna cotta, and roasted hazelnut madeleine

Overall a wonderful evening, and very educational, as we were able to try different wines, same grape variety, to see which style best matched to different food dishes.  One thing that I’ve known, and has shown here, is that good fruit and higher acidity tends to make a very good pairing with a variety of food dishes.  Thank you to Forage and to Meyer Family Vineyards for inviting me to this dinner experience.

If you are going to Dine Out Vancouver, Forage is participating.  Go for the experience!

Links to My Previous Meyer Family Vineyards Reviews

In case you are new to Meyer Family Vineyards, here are links to some of my past reviews of their wines.

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Some people prefer red wines. Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon.MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I met many great wine makers. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.